\ 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

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

Bastable named to dean’s list Naperville resident Jack Bastable was named to the spring dean’s list at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Iowa. Michelle Mullins, Naperville Sun, "Naperville People in the News," 29 June 2018 Brittney Jackson Students' tuition at the University of Louisville will rise again after a year-long freeze on those rates thanks to the school's new budget, which also requires the university's deans to slash their expenses by 5 percent. Morgan Watkins, The Courier-Journal, "University of Louisville tuition will increase as schools cut 5%," 20 June 2018 Then, Carlson asked the new dean and Ford’s successor, Elizabeth Francis-Connolly, for a new supervisor, and she was rebuffed. Ben Guarino, The Verge, "An academic reported sexual harassment. Her university allegedly retaliated," 12 Nov. 2018 Hadžikadić has taken several leadership roles in UNCC's college of computing and informatics, including as its founding dean, head of its complex systems institute and director of the Data Science Institute, according to Mili. Joe Marusak, charlotteobserver, "This UNC Charlotte professor is running for president – of Bosnia. And he's gaining support. | Charlotte Observer," 18 Apr. 2018 Kumar joined Booth in 2011 as its dean after 14 years at Stanford University. Bob Goldsborough,, "Former Booth School dean sells Near North condo for $1.7 million," 31 Aug. 2017 Our dean of students was in the habit of dressing up in black leather and riding his Harley-Davidson around the campus late at night, with the goal of busting students for the crime of leaving their dormitories after evening sign-in. Richard Mcgill Murphy, Town & Country, "How John Palfrey Is Bringing America's Most Elite Boarding School Into the Digital Age," 7 July 2015 Read more: Larsen is a former law professor and special counsel to the dean at the University of Michigan who also clerked for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, "3 Michigan judges on Trump's Supreme Court replacement list," 27 June 2018 Her mother is the dean and a professor at the University of Connecticut School of Nursing in Storrs. New York Times, "A Near-Death Experience Led Them to the Altar," 22 June 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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Dictionary Entries near dean






dean's list


Statistics for dean

Last Updated

16 Jan 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

: 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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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

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