\ˈdēn \

Definition of dean 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the head of the chapter of a collegiate or cathedral church

b : a Roman Catholic priest who supervises one district of a diocese

2a : the head of a division, faculty, college, or school of a university

b : a college or secondary school administrator in charge of counseling and disciplining students


biographical name
\ˈdēn \

Definition of Dean (Entry 2 of 2)

Sir Patrick 1909–1994 British diplomat

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Other Words from dean


dean intransitive verb
deanship \-ˌship \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for dean

Synonyms: Noun

elder, elder statesman, senior

Antonyms: Noun

baby, junior

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Examples of dean in a Sentence


She's the dean of the university's business school. the dean of liberal arts

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This followed the Carmen Puliafito scandal, in which the dean of the medical school was fired after videos of his drug abuse surfaced. Alex Bhattacharji, Town & Country, "Can USC Survive Scandal and Shed Its Spoiled-Kid Reputation Once and For All?," 10 July 2018 Nassar is the former MSU doctor accused of molesting more than 200 women under the guise of medical treatment; Strampel, his boss and former dean of MSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine, is facing four criminal charges. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, "New chief compliance officer: I'm not here to protect MSU's brand," 11 July 2018 Surely his Secretary of Labor, R. Alexander Acosta — a native of Miami, the son of Cuban refugees and former dean of the FIU College of Law — can fill Trump in on the virtues and viability of hiring local. Fabiola Santiago, miamiherald, "'America First?' Not when it comes to hiring foreign workers for Trump's Mar-a-Lago," 10 July 2018 William Strampel, the former dean of Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine now facing criminal charges tied in part to his oversight of Larry Nassar, has officially retired from the university. Melissa Korn, WSJ, "Former Michigan State Dean, Still Facing Criminal Charges, Retires," 6 July 2018 The charges against the former dean came as part of Michigan special prosecutor William Forsyth's investigation into how Nassar was able to abuse more than 200 young girls and women over two decades. Madison Park, CNN, "Larry Nassar's former boss scheduled for court hearing," 5 June 2018 The furor over the conduct of Dr. Tyndall came after the university was engulfed by allegations last year that the former dean of the medical school had used drugs on campus and partied with prostitutes. Tim Arango, New York Times, "5 Women Sue U.S.C., Alleging Sexual Abuse by Campus Doctor," 21 May 2018 The candidates are: Dr. Jay Hess is the vice president for university clinical affairs and dean of the school of medicine at Indiana University. Molly Harbarger,, "OHSU announces 3 finalists for president's job," 16 Apr. 2018 William Strampel, 70, the former dean of Michigan State's college of osteopathic medicine, was in Ingham County Jail on Monday evening, according to jail records. Author: Will Hobson, Anchorage Daily News, "Nassar’s former boss at Michigan State is arrested," 27 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dean.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dean


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for dean


Middle English deen, from Anglo-French deen, deien, from Late Latin decanus chief of ten, from Greek dekanos, from deka ten — more at ten

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dean's list


Statistics for dean

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for dean

The first known use of dean was in the 13th century

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English Language Learners Definition of dean

: a person who is in charge of one of the parts of a university (such as a college or school)

: a person whose job is to give advice to the students in a college or high school and to make sure that they obey the school's rules

: a person who has more experience in or knowledge about a particular profession, subject, etc., than anyone or almost anyone


\ˈdēn \

Kids Definition of dean

1 : a church official in charge of a cathedral

2 : the head of a section (as a college) of a university the dean of the medical school

3 : an official in charge of students or studies in a school or college the dean of women

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Comments on dean

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a state of commotion or excitement

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