do·cent | \ ˈdō-sᵊnt , dō(t)-ˈsent \

Definition of docent 

1 : a college or university teacher or lecturer

2 : a person who leads guided tours especially through a museum or art gallery

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Did You Know?

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

Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion: Visitors learn about the Pabst Mansion on a docent-led guided tour of three floors, Sunday noon-3 p.m.; Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 2000 W. Wisconsin Ave. Elaine Rewolinski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A listing of home and garden events for the Milwaukee area (Summer 2018 edition)," 4 July 2018 The lighthouse has been restored to its 1910 state, and tours are given by volunteer docents who live in the structure in the summer. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "8 spectacular Lake Michigan lighthouses to visit in Wisconsin," 12 July 2018 The foundation’s tours, led by volunteer docents who go through 90 hours of training, are geared toward those who want to delve more deeply into the city’s world-renowned architecture. Hailey Mensik,, "Architecture tours lead the way in bringing visitors to increasingly crowded Chicago River," 5 July 2018 Meanwhile, docents will answer questions about roses and pet-friendly gardening. Debbie Arrington, sacbee, "Roses (and rose gardens) fill Sacramento with romance," 13 Apr. 2018 Visitors can enjoy docent led tours of the museum which includes artifacts and exhibits tracing East Haddam's rich history. Courant Community, "Community News For The Colchester Edition," 5 June 2018 Candi was very involved in the Farmington Woods social activities was a docent at the Hillstead Museum in Farmington and worked as a volunteer at the West Hartford Orchid Show., "Carolyn R. Jodoin," 3 Apr. 2018 Visitors can meet docents in period costume and hear period music performed by the Catherine Street Consort. David Anderson, The Aegis, "Harford is ready to celebrate our nation's birthday," 4 July 2018 The docent tells us that the river's canal was the country's busiest until the Erie Canal opened. Jim Webster,, "In Havre de Grace, Maryland, on the Chesapeake Bay, a rich maritime history - and ducks, lots of ducks," 27 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'docent.' 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 docent

1880, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for docent

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

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Learn More about docent

Dictionary Entries near docent


Doccia ware

docendo discimus





Statistics for docent

Last Updated

20 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for docent

The first known use of docent was in 1880

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