do·​cent | \ ˈdō-sᵊnt How to pronounce docent (audio) , dō(t)-ˈsent How to pronounce docent (audio) \

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

Landmarks: One modern site popular with visitors is the Water Conservation Garden next to Cuyamaca College, where docents educate visitors on low-water-using landscaping. Roger Showley, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Jamul-Rancho San Diego: Historic rancho served as seashell trading post, hosts new casino," 30 June 2019 Sanders could work as a tour guide in Nicaragua or a docent on fundraising cruises for The New York Review of Books. WSJ, "Notable & Quotable: Elders for President," 19 June 2019 The Lucky Ones will perform live music and docents will offer informal tours of the Mies van der Rohe home. Joy Davis, Aurora Beacon-News, "Craft beer tasting set at historic Farnsworth House in Plano," 13 June 2019 Earlier this year, Phoenix New Times reported on the decline of the museum’s volunteer docent program under Cruz. Kerry Lengel, azcentral, "Phoenix Art Museum director Amada Cruz is leaving July 10 to lead Seattle Art Museum," 10 June 2019 The museum is popular with school groups; beat the crowds by booking a private tour, led by a museum docent. Robyn Eckhardt, WSJ, "Two Strategic Days in Singapore: Where to Splurge, Where to Save," 4 Jan. 2019 Following her retirement, Carrie was a docent at the New Britain Museum of American Art. Carrie Simon,, "Carrie Simon," 20 May 2018 Pictured are docent Marianne Dickey (center) with museum visitors Kate and Jeff Bienduga. Linda Mcintosh,, "Historical Society looking for docents," 4 May 2018 Volunteer docents make the visit memorable for many. Bonnie Gross,, "Explore Florida's Manatee County: Tiny Cortez on Florida's Gulf Coast is big on seafood," 6 May 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

12 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for docent

The first known use of docent was in 1880

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More from Merriam-Webster on docent

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with docent

Nglish: Translation of docent for Spanish Speakers

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