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

His mentor, Neenan, followed up with Situated, a work with his usual witty eye. Ellen Dunkel,, "BalletX heats up the summer with 3 premieres and live music," 12 July 2018 Friends, mentors, peers — were all opening up were all opening up about their experiences. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Australian Fashion Brand Khòlò Faced Backlash After Launching a #MeToo Collection," 13 June 2018 The feared job cuts, amounting to 81 full-time equivalent positions, were approved, with most affecting teacher mentors, special education inclusion helpers and library technicians. Allan Vought, The Aegis, "Harford school board passes $461.7 million budget; funds raises but cuts support positions," 12 June 2018 That transplant was performed at the University of Minnesota in 1994 on an 11-year-old boy by Kandaswamy's mentor, Dr. David Sutherland, who is considered the father of pancreatic transplants. Wayne Drash, CNN, "The medicine keeping her alive was also killing her," 12 June 2018 Smith makes time throughout the year to become a mentor and work with many of the younger kids in the Hartford community. Kenny Levine, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Hartford Union’s Richard Smith a role model for young athletes," 9 May 2018 The Art of the Teese, and Dita has become a mentor of sorts to Chachki. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Violet Chachki and Dita Von Teese on the Empowering Glamour of Old-School Burlesque," 4 May 2018 Students have been paired with mentors from Sanofi Genzyme, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Food and Drug Administration, Winchester Analytical Engineering Center, and other employers. Cynthia Fernandez,, "A sensory garden, a Beatles cover band, and a mentor program itself gets a boost," 13 July 2018 The city’s grant writer, Jane Sullivan, will again serve as a guest speaker and mentor for the second session. Dan White,, "Lauderhill grant writing seminar aims to education community organizations," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In fact, when told about the team’s intention to soon start Mondesi at short a few times a week, Yost said Escobar brought up the idea of trying to mentor him. Vahe Gregorian, kansascity, "With Mondesi looming, Escobar appreciates why 'unbelievable' streak about to end," 19 June 2018 His political rise is thanks much in part to former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe, who mentored Duque. Renae Reints, Fortune, "Populist Conservative Iván Duque Elected President of Colombia," 18 June 2018 Many people knew Harrison as a dean at English High School in Jamaica Plain or as a youth minister who mentored gang members and led anger management classes. Laura Crimaldi,, "Here’s what you need to know about the ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ Shaun O. Harrison case," 18 May 2018 Keller, who was the Coyotes’ first-round draft choice (seventh overall) in 2016, was mentored by Keith as an adolescent and grew up alongside the Tkachuk family. Richard Morin, azcentral, "Armed with a family legacy, Brady Tkachuk prepares to make his own name in the NHL," 19 June 2018 She is being mentored by the Queen’s former aide, Samantha Cohen, who has been has been helping the new royal with protocol, an insider previously told PEOPLE., "We Have Photo Proof That Queen Elizabeth Is Absolutely Charmed by Meghan Markle," 19 June 2018 Local chefs who knew Bourdain or who said they were mentored by him responded quickly to the news of his death with sadness and disbelief. Sarah Fritsche,, "Anthony Bourdain remembered: Love, criticism and his thoughts on Bay Area food scene," 8 June 2018 Local chefs who knew Bourdain or were mentored by him responded quickly with sadness and disbelief. Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, "Bay Area chefs react to Anthony Bourdain’s death," 8 June 2018 All season long, the young teen was mentored by Kelly Clarkson, who was a first-time coach on the show. Eileen Reslen, Country Living, "Season 14 of 'The Voice' Crowned Its Youngest Winner Ever, and People Had A Lot to Say About It," 23 May 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

8 Nov 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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Comments on mentor

What made you want to look up mentor? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something that serves to warn or remind

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