men·​tor | \ ˈmen-ˌtȯr How to pronounce mentor (audio) , -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 How to pronounce Mentor (audio) \

Definition of Mentor (Entry 3 of 3)

city in northeastern Ohio northeast of Cleveland population 47,159

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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

Coaches were mentors to Mallek during three hour daily wrestling practices and weekend matches. Rachel K. Hindery,, "Journalist, golfer and attorney inducted into Ridgewood High School Hall of Fame," 16 Sep. 2019 Bachie, who was named to the All-Big Ten first team last season, has been a mentor to Warinner, particularly in the area of communicating as the middle linebacker. Chase Michaelson, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State's Edward Warinner itching for chance to play," 22 Aug. 2019 Former State Senator Eliot Shapleigh of Texas, who has been a mentor to Mr. O’Rourke, expressed disappointment with the trajectory of the race to date. Katie Glueck, New York Times, "After El Paso Shooting, Will Voters Revisit Beto O’Rourke?," 11 Aug. 2019 Dave Bailey, who was an assistant chief at the time and has since left the department, said Biehl was a mentor to him throughout his career. Sharon Coolidge,, "Meet Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl. He's the Elder grad and former Cincinnati Police Department official now in the national spotlight.," 6 Aug. 2019 He was aided by his chief counsel, Roy Cohn, who also built a reputation as a fierce anti-communist, and in later years, went on to be a mentor to the young Donald Trump., "PBS documentary, ‘McCarthy,’ profiles the politician whose anti-communist ‘witch hunts’ divided the country," 30 July 2019 The Raiders re-signed running back Doug Martin after an Achilles injury to Isaiah Crowell in part to be a mentor to rookie and first-round pick Josh Jacobs. Matt Kawahara,, "Raiders practice report: J.J. Nelson flashes; rookie DEs get positive reviews," 28 July 2019 Diop is also prepared to be a mentor to Cardinals incoming freshman Norika Konno, a Japanese international student who speaks little English. Danielle Lerner, The Courier-Journal, "How Yacine Diop's long journey to play for Louisville basketball began in Senegal," 28 June 2019 Additional resources, including tips for how to be an effective mentor to women, can be found at Perrie Samotin, Glamour, "Male Bosses Are Ignoring Women Colleagues After #MeToo. This Is a Problem," 17 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In her role, Swift will join Shelton, Legend and their fellow coaches Kelly Clarkson and Gwen Stefani to mentor the show’s artists and prepare each team for the Knockout Rounds, which will begin airing in October. Brianne Tracy,, "Kelly Clarkson Says Taylor Swift 'Cried a Couple of Times' as The Voice's Mega Mentor," 16 Sep. 2019 Beyond simple camera instruction, Las Fotos Project provides a safe space for girls to be mentored and to develop a strong sense of identity and confidence, participants said. Stephanie Mendez, Los Angeles Times, "Las Fotos Project gives girls a mission: Grab a camera and shoot your world," 4 Sep. 2019 The Obama Youth Jobs Corps is a partnership between the foundation and Urban Alliance to train high school students by placing them in internships and temporary jobs where they can be mentored and groomed. Lolly Bowean,, "Obama surprises teens in his Youth Jobs Corps with visit at Chicago foundation," 17 July 2019 Always greeting people with his beautiful smile, he was known for mentoring many local builders and helping his community. Emily Sweeney,, "Haverhill man charged with murder of 82-year-old Groveland man," 28 June 2019 As a jury member on the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, von Furstenberg mentored 2008 winner Alexander Wang and 2012 runner-up Jennifer Meyer, and shepherded a hundred more young talents through the competition. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "“My Big Goal Was to Create a Fashion Family”—Diane von Furstenberg Discusses Her 13 Years as the Head of the CFDA," 27 May 2019 Swift will mentor the artists on season 17 and prepare them for the Knockout Rounds, which will begin airing in late October. Nick Romano,, "Taylor Swift returning to The Voice in season 17 as mentor," 16 Sep. 2019 Through these partnerships, church volunteers show the love of Jesus by mentoring and tutoring students, supporting teachers and administrators, and empowering parents. Roy Kent, Houston Chronicle, "Loving Houston and KSBJ will host a back to school prayer gathering," 9 Aug. 2019 Porter was a member of the 2016 state champions who now will be mentored and coached by Larkin at Northwestern. Scott Springer,, "Ohio State, Northwestern, UC, UK, Iowa State, others recruiting La Salle's football talent," 16 July 2019

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


as name borrowed from Latin Mentōr, borrowed from Greek Méntōr; as generic noun borrowed from French mentor, after Mentor, character in the novel Les aventures de Télémaque (1699) by the French cleric and writer François Fénelon (1651-1715), based on characters in the Odyssey

Note: In Fénelon's work Mentor is a principal character, and his speeches and advice to Telemachus during their travels constitute much of the book's substance.


derivative of mentor entry 1

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Statistics for mentor

Last Updated

11 Oct 2019

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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More from Merriam-Webster on mentor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mentor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mentor

Spanish Central: Translation of mentor

Nglish: Translation of mentor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mentor for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about mentor

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to be made up of

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