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

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 All of these details were alluded to on our cruise during a series of interviews between docent Ron Ucovich and his merry characters. Beth Spotswood, San Francisco Chronicle, "A cruise back in time on the ‘Floating White House’," 25 Apr. 2018 Join The Chronicle for a private docent tour of The Art of Rube Goldberg. San Francisco Chronicle, "Private docent tour at the Contemporary Jewish Museum," 1 June 2018 The Chicago Architecture Foundation, which declined to comment on how much of its revenue comes from river cruises, uses a team of 450 volunteer docents to guide more than 400,000 visitors on its tours. Hailey Mensik,, "Architecture tours lead the way in bringing visitors to increasingly crowded Chicago River," 5 July 2018 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

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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Dictionary Entries near docent


Doccia ware

docendo discimus





Statistics for docent

Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

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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living or existing for a long time

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