doy·​en | \ ˈdȯi-ən How to pronounce doyen (audio) , -ˌ(y)en; ˈdwä-ˌyaⁿ(n) How to pronounce doyen (audio) \

Definition of doyen

1a : the senior member of a body or group
b : 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

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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."

Examples of doyen in a Sentence

He is considered the doyen of political journalists. considered the doyen of American art critics

Recent Examples on the Web

Flash forward to 2019, and the current doyen of the family business, Ben, has made his triumphant return to the chi-chi vacation spot. Roxanne Adamiyatt, Town & Country, "A Heritage Fragrance House Finds a New Home in Tony Palm Beach," 6 May 2019 The doyens of the European Union are also breathing a sigh of relief after Mattarella's intervention. Tim Lister, CNN, "Italy's populists are blocked as 'political referee' waves the red card," 28 May 2018 Wolfe, who died Monday at age 88, was known as a dandified doyen of the New Journalism, a reporter who embedded with hippies and race car drivers and astronauts, and later as a grandiose novelist. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Tom Wolfe reunited journalism with literature.," 15 May 2018 The doyen of Labour’s energy policy is not Clement Attlee, the prime minister who nationalised Britain’s fractured array of public and private energy suppliers. The Economist, "Robin Hood Energy, the company bringing power to the people," 3 May 2018 The fashion doyen returns the favor, dominating the film with his sheer force of personality. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Gospel According to Andre': Film Review | Tribeca 2018," 27 Apr. 2018 Six years later, Douthat, a columnist for this newspaper, has become the successor to the conservative Catholic doyen William F. Buckley Jr. (who once took him sailing — and skinny-dipping — on Long Island Sound). Paul Elie, New York Times, "A Conservative Catholic Begs the Pope: Lead Us Not Into Temptation," 9 Apr. 2018 Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified Andrei Kolesnikov as a former doyen of the Kremlin press pool. Newsweek, "Russia's Ukrainian Retreat," 8 June 2015 Trump and Leo built an unlikely alliance that would benefit both the politician and the legal doyen. Tessa Berenson, Time, "Inside Trump's Plan to Dramatically Reshape U.S. Courts," 8 Feb. 2018

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

1670, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for doyen

French, from Old French deien, from Late Latin decanus dean — more at dean

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Statistics for doyen

Last Updated

26 May 2019

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The first known use of doyen was in 1670

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English Language Learners Definition of doyen

formal : a person who has a lot of experience in or knowledge about a particular profession, subject, etc.

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More from Merriam-Webster on doyen

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with doyen

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for doyen Encyclopedia article about doyen

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