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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Other Words from mentor


mentorship \ ˈmen-​ˌtȯr-​ˌship How to pronounce mentorship (audio) , -​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

While mentors typically guide and counsel, sponsors recommend and elevate. Jenna Birch, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Secret Code to Success Most Women Don't Even Know Exists," 3 Apr. 2019 Dating a young, bookish, almost painfully socially conscious Barack Obama (in her hilarious telling), whom she was asked to mentor at that law firm, Obama started to see there was more to life. Tyrone Beason, The Seattle Times, "‘Who are you becoming?’ Why America needs Michelle Obama’s message now," 25 Mar. 2019 Students who are engaged build relationships on campus with professors and mentors and get involved on campus in projects, internships and extracurriculars. Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, "Remember, It’s Their College Years, Not Yours," 16 Mar. 2019 Iconic mentor Tim Gunn, however, will no longer be part of the show. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "Where Is Tim Gunn From 'Project Runway'? This Is the Real Reason He Left the Show," 14 Mar. 2019 With classroom resources, mentor programs, and legal assistance, Childhood aims to prevent child neglect and abuse. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Sweden's Princess Madeleine Published a Children's Book That Teaches Kids to Stand Up for Themselves," 29 Jan. 2019 Then there’s Peter Bogdanovich, who plays a Hannaford acolyte who’s become more successful than his mentor. Keith Phipps, The Verge, "Netflix’s Orson Welles revival is strange, fascinating, and frustrating," 1 Nov. 2018 Ten-minute sessions are held between students and their mentor to determine their progress. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "More than 300 Kettle Moraine parents sign petition against online learning platform," 21 June 2018 Sansweet became an Obi-Wan Kenobi–like mentor to other collectors. Alexander Huls, Popular Mechanics, "The Great Star Wars Heist," 7 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In the past, mentoring young players was something Mr. James largely outsourced to veteran teammates. Sam Walker, WSJ, "Why Superstars Make Lousy Bosses," 20 Oct. 2018 Troop 636 has an active program for training, coaching, and mentoring all of its members in order to help them advance from Tenderfoot through the ranks to Eagle Scout. Shirley Macfarland,, "Altenheim Grand Community Open House will showcase new Therapy Rehab Center: Strong Points," 27 Apr. 2018 The students, Dezeen reports, were taken to a factory to learn about furniture making processes and materials, while also being mentored in the history of design. Lindsey Desimone, ELLE Decor, "These Blind Students Were Asked To Design Functional Furniture," 12 Oct. 2015 Sterling Gibbs joined the UConn men as a grad transfer during Adams’ freshman season and helped mentor him one-on-one. Dom Amore,, "Jalen Adams, Huskies, Maturing As They Face Memphis," 16 Jan. 2018 American Idol judge Lionel Richie takes an honest, mentoring role with hopeful singers who appear on the show. Marie Milano, Country Living, "A Detailed Timeline of Lionel Richie's Marriages and Relationships," 3 Mar. 2019 Read on for Glamour west coast editor Jessica Radloff's interview with Carol Burnett: GLAMOUR: Talk to me about the importance of mentoring talent like Rachel Bloom. Jessica De Ruiter, Glamour, "Rachel Bloom Writes a Love Letter to Her Comedy Icon Carol Burnett," 2 July 2018 Phil Emmanuel, an exceptional, award-winning guitarist who mentored his younger brother and regular bandmate Tommy Emmanuel, died last Thursday (May 24) in the Australian town of Parkes after a sudden asthma attack. Lars Brandle, Billboard, "Phil Emmanuel, Australian Guitar Legend, Dies at 65," 28 May 2018 Former co-workers, current and past customers and upper level management from the Postal Service gathered in the parking lot before heading out to deliver their mail to honor the man who mentored them all. Pam Kragen,, "Carlsbad's longest-serving mailman retires after 57 years," 27 Apr. 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


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

12 Apr 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

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).


to affect and impair by alcohol or a drug

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