\ ˈdēn How to pronounce dean (audio) \

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 How to pronounce Dean (audio) \

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 \ ˈdēn-​ˌship How to pronounce deanship (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for dean

Synonyms: Noun

doyen, elder, elder statesman, éminence grise, nestor, 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

The school’s current dean, Laura Palazzolo, is also a Lincoln alum and spent most of her two-decade law career as a civil litigator with San Jose firm Berliner Cohen. Sal Pizarro, The Mercury News, "Mission College dedicates fire tower to Santa Clara family," 14 Sep. 2019 Roman Keller Nader Tehrani, the school’s dean of architecture, hopes to attract a broad audience to the free exhibition, which runs until Oct. 13. Anne Quito, Quartz, "A Swiss house built by robots promises to revolutionize the construction industry," 12 Sep. 2019 The California State University system is investigating the business spending of a Cal State San Marcos dean who stayed at Ritz-Carlton hotels, took chauffeured car rides and bought expensive meals including a $110 steak. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Audit launched for Cal State San Marcos dean, whose expenses feature first class travel, chauffeurs and a $110 steak," 5 Sep. 2019 The largely online doctoral course — costing approximately $22,000, excluding books, materials and fees — is targeting folks already involved in higher ed with hopes of shaping the next university dean, president and beyond. Elizabeth Hernandez, The Denver Post, "Want to be a college dean or president? CU Denver training diverse, mid-level professionals to ascend higher-ed’s ranks," 6 July 2019 In January 2008, then-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick called Duggan to set up a meeting between Wayne State's medical school dean, Duggan and Joe Schwartz, a medical doctor and former congressman. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, "DMC, Wayne State fight for years with millions of dollars and care of poor at stake," 20 June 2019 Frei, as chairperson of the first-year curriculum and as dean of faculty recruiting, played a central role in the efforts to reform HBS. Sarah Todd, Quartz at Work, "WeWork’s new board member has a history of reforming sexist cultures," 6 Sep. 2019 In 1951, at the height of his influence, Belluschi turned away from his $150,000-a-year practice to accept a $15,000-a-year academic job as the dean of the school of architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology., "Celebrating architect Pietro Belluschi’s 120th anniversary: You’re invited to walking tours, talks this weekend," 16 Aug. 2019 This fall, Susan Ruskin takes over as dean of AFI, the conservatory’s third in two years. Rebecca Keegan, The Hollywood Reporter, "New AFI Dean on Bringing "Stability" to a Turbulent Institution," 15 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for dean

Last Updated

9 Oct 2019

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


\ ˈdēn How to pronounce dean (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on dean

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dean

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for dean

Spanish Central: Translation of dean

Nglish: Translation of dean for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of dean for Arabic Speakers

Comments on dean

What made you want to look up dean? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a topic to which one constantly reverts

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