Definition of doyen
1a : the senior member of a body or groupb : a person considered to be knowledgeable or uniquely skilled as a result of long experience in some field of endeavor
2 : the oldest example of a category
doyen was our Word of the Day on 11/04/2006. Hear the podcast!
Examples of doyen in a sentence
He is considered the doyen of political journalists.
considered the doyen of American art critics
Did You Know?
English picked up "doyen" from French in the 17th century. The French term in turn comes from the Late Latin word decanus, which itself comes from the Greek dekanos, meaning "chief of ten." A "doyen" can be a leader of a group, such as a diplomatic corps. In this regard, the word has been used to refer to someone who is specifically or tacitly allowed to speak for that group. More broadly, a "doyen" refers to a highly skilled and respected veteran of a particular field. The feminine form of "doyen" is "doyenne."
Origin and Etymology of doyen
French, from Old French deien, from Late Latin decanus dean — more at dean
First Known Use: 1670
DOYEN Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of doyen for English Language Learners
: a person who has a lot of experience in or knowledge about a particular profession, subject, etc.
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up doyen? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).