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

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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

Noun 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 Verb 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 If Pence came off as a Trump whisperer extraordinaire, Harris came off as a protégé who’s boned up really well and has already surpassed the mentor’s ability to deliver a message with flair. Todd J. Gillman, Dallas News, "Pence the Trump-whisperer matches wits with Harris the prosecutor," 8 Oct. 2020 The mentor wanted an instant assessment from his coaching disciple. Rob Harris, Star Tribune, "Man City slips further behind leader Everton with Leeds draw," 3 Oct. 2020 Roger Casey applied to become president of McDaniel College in 2010 with a little piece of advise from an educational mentor. Pat Stoetzer,, "McDaniel College president stepping down after a decade in position," 24 Sep. 2020 Reese also made the defensive calls and helped line up teammates, if needed, serving as a strong mentor for Miller. Edgar Thompson,, "Gators’ Ventrell Miller ready to lead defense, replace David Reese," 2 Sep. 2020 Another challenge is that a company seeking to make money from AI may not be the best moral mentor on curbing the technology, says Brian Green, director of technology ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. Tom Simonite, Wired, "Google Offers to Help Others With the Tricky Ethics of AI," 28 Aug. 2020 The veteran Lady Wolverine mentor guided her squad to a 28-10 record and an undisputed District 24-6A title in 2019. Ted Dunnam, Houston Chronicle, "Volleyball: Clear Brook eager to defend district title," 27 Aug. 2020 There’s not much glory in being an innovation mentor. Gary Hamel, Quartz at Work, "How to break free of bureaucracy in the workplace," 17 Aug. 2020 Even at a distance of thousands of miles, Nurbeg was an irreplaceable mentor for Erkan as the younger poet honed his craft. Joshua L. Freeman, The New York Review of Books, "Uighur Poets on Repression and Exile," 13 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Another candidate in the race, Mashunda Ivery, wants to develop a program in which police officers mentor children to counter negative images of law enforcement in the media. Carissa Lamkahouan, Houston Chronicle, "Pearland Position 7 council candidates outline priorities," 1 Oct. 2020 Stanley began to mentor him, introducing him to Ellison and Murray. Adam Shatz, The New York Review of Books, "The Stanley Crouch I Knew," 29 Sep. 2020 Rosheda Harrell and Kim Sauer created Fearlessly Loving Yourself in 2018 to mentor girls in Southwest Baltimore and were one of the youth fund’s first recipients, claiming a $20,000 grant. Justin Fenton,, "Financial woes at Strong City Baltimore are creating big problems for vital community programs it is supposed to support," 18 Sep. 2020 The Strike for Black Lives on June 10 was partially thought of as a respite from the emotional labor of being Black in academia—having to appear at diversity workshops, mentor Black students, and the like. Gary Stix, Scientific American, "Emotional Labor Is a Store Clerk Confronting a Maskless Customer," 10 Sep. 2020 And he on the executive board of Diversify/ICM, which is dedicated to helping identify, hire, train, and mentor minority candidates at ICM and champion educational programs to foster a greater understanding between diverse people and cultures. Dave Brooks, Billboard, "Robert Gibbs Promoted to Head of Contemporary Music at ICM Partners," 17 Aug. 2020 Gay has relished his role as the Spurs’ eldest stateman, serving as a go-to mentor for younger players. Jeff Mcdonald,, "Spurs’ DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay are energized at Disney," 4 Aug. 2020 One of them is the comic Tom Dreesen, who was born and raised in south suburban Harvey and was a pallbearer at the funeral of his friend and mentor Frank Sinatra. Rick Kogan Chicago Tribune (tns), Star Tribune, "When I almost died: My days battling coronavirus," 16 Sep. 2020 Harrelson starred as Haymitch Abernathy, a Hunger Games victor and mentor to Peeta and Katniss. Georgia Slater,, "Josh Hutcherson Says He Had a ‘Nice Socially-Distanced’ Dinner with Jennifer Lawrence," 9 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for mentor

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The first known use of mentor was in 1616

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Last Updated

14 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mentor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for mentor


How to pronounce Mentor (audio)

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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