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

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 It is said that Frederick Douglass stayed here, a half-mile from downtown Princeton, and docents in present day can point out a hidden area above the stairs where freedom seekers hid. Darcel Rockett, Chicago Tribune, 11 Sep. 2023 Meet beer docents from Little Miss Brewing and taste a sample. Linda McIntosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 Aug. 2023 Years later, Dot worked as a docent at the science museum. Denise Kiernan, Rolling Stone, 17 July 2023 An official ceremony at 10 a.m. will be followed by ranger talks, tours led by docents in period costumes, kids’ activities and booths highlighting the history of the adobe structure and its surroundings. Diane Bell, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8 Apr. 2023 There will be docents in various locations throughout the museum to answer questions and provide some interesting facts. Sam Boyer, cleveland, 21 July 2023 Michael Govan spoke to about 200 docents at a luncheon last week and gave sort of a rebuttal. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, 2 June 2023 The museum also serves as a post-career opportunity for some, with many docents retired from military or civilian work on the base. Jakob Bowen, Washington Post, 5 Apr. 2023 Born in 1946, Secundy currently works as a docent at the Frederick Douglass Museum and Cultural Center, which is housed in the Highland cottage built for the abolitionist by his son Charles. Cj Blair, Smithsonian Magazine, 7 June 2023 See More

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 28 Sep. 2023.

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