men·tor | \ˈmen-ˌtȯr, -tər\

Definition of mentor 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 capitalized : a friend of Odysseus entrusted with the education of Odysseus' son Telemachus

2a : a trusted counselor or guide a mentor who, because he is detached and disinterested, can hold up a mirror to us— P. W. Keve

b : tutor, coach The student sought a mentor in chemistry.


mentored; mentoring; mentors

Definition of mentor (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

: to serve as a mentor for : tutor


geographical name
Men·tor | \ˈmen-tər \

Definition of Mentor (Entry 3 of 3)

city in northeastern Ohio northeast of Cleveland population 47,159

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Other Words from mentor


mentorship \ˈmen-ˌtȯr-ˌship, -tər- \ noun

Synonyms for mentor

Synonyms: Verb

coach, counsel, guide, lead, pilot, shepherd, show, tutor

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Did You Know?


We acquired "mentor" from the literature of ancient Greece. In Homer's epic The Odyssey, Odysseus was away from home fighting and journeying for 20 years. During that time, Telemachus, the son he left as a babe in arms, grew up under the supervision of Mentor, an old and trusted friend. When the goddess Athena decided it was time to complete the education of young Telemachus, she visited him disguised as Mentor and they set out together to learn about his father. Today, we use the word mentor for anyone who is a positive, guiding influence in another (usually younger) person's life.

Examples of mentor in a Sentence


After college, her professor became her close friend and mentor. He needed a mentor to teach him about the world of politics. We volunteer as mentors to disadvantaged children. young boys in need of mentors


The young intern was mentored by the country's top heart surgeon. Our program focuses on mentoring teenagers.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

To repay their debt of gratitude, the students rented out the old Poncan Theatre and put on one last how for their mentor. Steve Hartman, CBS News, "Former students surprise music teacher who changed their lives," 13 July 2018 Molina, who started his coaching career under Castro at Marcos de Niza and eventually became offensive coordinator, hired his mentor to help him at South Mountain and at the charter-school, South Pointe. Richard Obert, azcentral, "Former Marcos de Niza coach Frank Castro dies at 83," 13 July 2018 Calmette, who was a protégé of Louis Pasteur, applied the same techniques his mentor was using to produce vaccines for rabies and anthrax. Kyle Dickman, Outside Online, "A Rattle with Death in Yosemite," 20 June 2018 Together, millions of Echo owners are nurturing this imaginary friend, crowdsourcing her education like a legion of human mentors. Kim Komando, Fox News, "21 clever Alexa commands you will use again and again," 9 June 2018 You will be expected to mentor and push top draftee Jacob Evans, take him under your defensive wing. Scott Ostler,, "Some summer fun at NBA’s Summer League," 10 July 2018 Would Johnson love to play for the Hornets and study under forward Marvin Williams, a fellow Tar Heel and one of his mentors? Brendan Marks, charlotteobserver, "His NBA chances dwindling, ex-UNC star Brice Johnson only wants 1 thing from Hornets," 2 July 2018 On combating drugs, his stances have appeared closer to his mentor, Mr. Uribe. New York Times, "Iván Duque, a Young Populist, Is Elected Colombia’s President," 17 June 2018 An even better comparison for Xavier's defense is Arizona, where one of Mack's mentors, Sean Miller, preaches his dad's defensive gospel. Jeff Greer, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville basketball's defense under Chris Mack will look a lot more like an ACC foe's," 24 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

By 1973, Sammeth was working full-time for Sandy Gallin, the famed manager who mentored icons such as Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand, Dolly Parton, Lily Tomlin and Michael Jackson — not to mention Cher, Rivers and Newton-John. Deborah Wilker, The Hollywood Reporter, "Billy Sammeth, Longtime Manager of Cher and Joan Rivers, Dies at 66," 18 June 2018 Pickett helped mentor their mutual friend who wanted to become a K-9 officer and now that friend is on the Zionsville police force, Kyle said. Domenica Bongiovanni, Indianapolis Star, "As Boone County community mourns deputy, suspect arrested and booked," 3 Mar. 2018 At the heartrending gathering, friends and colleagues lauded him as a dedicated professional who was committed to the craft of journalism and loved mentoring the next generation of reporters. David Mcfadden, Anchorage Daily News, "Suspect wrote he aimed to kill everyone at Maryland newsroom," 3 July 2018 At the heartrending gathering for Hiaasen, friends and colleagues lauded him as a dedicated professional who was committed to the craft of journalism and loved mentoring the next generation of reporters. David Mcfadden, The Seattle Times, "Overflow crowd gathers to honor slain Maryland journalist," 2 July 2018 Hudes, who has been mentoring a group of Washington State high school students who call themselves the Migrant Leaders Club, arranged a grant to fly them to New York to see the show. Eben Shapiro, Time, "New Musical Miss You Like Hell Puts a Human Face on the Looming Specter of Deportation," 29 Mar. 2018 Beltran proved to be an invaluable addition off the field, mentoring younger players. Matthew Wilson, USA TODAY, "'Astroball': How the Houston Astros climbed from baseball's basement to champions," 13 July 2018 Cagle was among the political, civic and business leaders who in 2015 attended a preview party and luncheon for the 16th anniversary of Usher’s New Look Foundation, which operates leadership mentoring programs for youths. Jennifer Brett, ajc, "Hollywood makes a cameo in Cagle-Kemp battle," 26 June 2018 The nonprofit provides services such as prenatal screenings, mentoring for teen mothers, an emergency pantry for infants, childbirth classes and more. Krislyn Placide,, "Luncheon for Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies recognizes “moments”," 21 June 2018

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


1616, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1918, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mentor


Latin, from Greek Mentōr


see mentor entry 1

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Statistics for mentor

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mentor

The first known use of mentor was in 1616

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More Definitions for mentor



English Language Learners Definition of mentor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person



English Language Learners Definition of mentor (Entry 2 of 2)

: to teach or give advice or guidance to (someone, such as a less experienced person or a child) : to act as a mentor for (someone)

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