: a college or university teacher or lecturer
: a person who leads guided tours especially through a museum or art gallery

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The title of docent is used in many countries for what Americans would call an associate professor—that is, a college or university teacher who has been given tenure but hasn't yet achieved the rank of full professor. But in the U.S. a docent is a guide who works at a museum, a historical site, or even a zoo or a park. Docents are usually volunteers, and their services are often free of charge.

Examples of docent in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Expert docents lead visitors into the elegance of the Victorian era, exploring its architectural and historical attributes, with engaging stories. Elaine Rewolinski, Journal Sentinel, 5 Apr. 2024 Tours are led by docents highlighting the history of the original buildings and its furnishings. Elaine Rewolinski, Journal Sentinel, 5 Apr. 2024 More space, staff and volunteer docents will make programs like preschool, summer camps and the Zoo Mobile, which brings live animals and zoo educators into local classrooms, accessible to more children than before. Jennah Pendleton, Sacramento Bee, 9 May 2024 Throughout four days, find the installations scattered throughout the house, museum tours from docents and access to the garden, which is not usually open to the public. Chris Richards, Washington Post, 14 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for docent 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'docent.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


obsolete German (now Dozent), from Latin docent-, docens, present participle of docēre — see docile

First Known Use

1880, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of docent was in 1880

Dictionary Entries Near docent

Cite this Entry

“Docent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jul. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on docent

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