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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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

First as kids and then as kind of mentors to the next generation of unmanageable young geniuses. Recode Staff, Recode, "How ‘hackers, founders, and freaks’ built Silicon Valley," 3 Aug. 2018 Phil Jackson, one of Kerr’s mentors, leads all NBA coaches with 11 rings, won with the Bulls and Lakers. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, "Steve Kerr pushed right buttons with Warriors," 10 June 2018 Many a person would tell you that dad became a mentor and a father figure in their life. WSJ, "Transcript of George W. Bush’s Eulogy of His Father," 5 Dec. 2018 Many a person would tell you that Dad became a mentor and a father figure in their life. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Read the Full Transcript of President George W. Bush's Eulogy for His Father," 5 Dec. 2018 The veteran offensive tackle, who re-signed with the Seahawks prior to this season, has become a mentor to Ifedi since coming to Seattle a year ago. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Duane Brown sees Germain Ifedi making the same breakthrough he once did," 26 Oct. 2018 And what a teacher should do is one-on-one targeted, finding out what your passion is, guiding you, coaching you, become your mentor for life. Eric Johnson, Recode, "If they don’t want to lose their jobs to a machine, doctors will need to become compassionate ‘human connectors’," 17 Sep. 2018 In the documents obtained by the Times, Bennett, who did not speak to Severson directly, says Argento became a mentor and mother figure to him. Anna North, Vox, "The sexual assault allegations against #MeToo advocate Asia Argento, explained," 20 Aug. 2018 According to reporting in the Wall Street Journal by Carreyrou, who has spearheaded efforts to uncover deceptive practices at Theranos, Balwani helped defend Holmes from bullies during that sojourn, and soon became her mentor. David Z. Morris, Fortune, "At Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes Didn’t Work Alone," 19 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Know this might not last (and that’s OK) As with friends or romantic partners, sometimes mentoring relationships run their course. Samantha Leach, Glamour, "It's Time to Rethink How You Find a Mentor at Work," 18 Dec. 2018 Former Texas congresswoman Barbara Jordan mentored future leaders while coping with the effects of multiple sclerosis. Ola Ojewumi, SELF, "I'm Celebrating My Disabled Black Girl Magic Because I'm Done Feeling Invisible," 7 Nov. 2018 Early in her career, Trattner worked in a plastic surgeon’s office, helping patients with their recovery processes, and mentored under Andrew Weil — Harvard M.D. and patron saint of holistic health. Brennan Kilbane, Allure, "Meet the Woman Who Uses Alternative Medicine and Gemstone Facials to Treat Patients," 19 Oct. 2018 Supermodel and coder extraordinaire Karlie Kloss will step in for Klum as host and executive producer, while season four winner Christian Siriano will take on Gunn’s former role, mentoring the designers in the competition. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Karlie Kloss Is Going To Be on TV! The Supermodel Will Join Brandon Maxwell and Christian Siriano on the New Project Runway," 10 Oct. 2018 Nevertheless, even after retiring, Shan worked tirelessly to promote pingshu among young Chinese, mentoring apprentices and starting a school dedicated to the folk arts. Amy Qin, The Seattle Times, "Shan Tianfang, a superstar of Chinese storytelling, dies at 83," 17 Sep. 2018 Both inspired by each other's talent, Terry Fator ended up mentoring Darci behind the scenes during the competition. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'America's Got Talent' Winner Darci Lynne Farmer Almost Didn't Become a Ventriloquist," 15 Aug. 2018 Starting from a young age, the prince has since accomplished so much for mentoring programs across the U.K, supporting children living with HIV/AIDS, and spearheading several conservation projects to protect Africa's wildlife and local communities. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Prince Harry's Dorm Had a Tribute to Princess Diana That Everyone Missed," 31 Aug. 2018 Bradley had been a truck driver for 45 years and was always willing to lend a hand from financial support to mentoring young men in his family about life choices, the letter said. Guillermo Contreras, San Antonio Express-News, "Trucker in smuggling incident that left 10 dead faces sentencing," 19 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

18 Jan 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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