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 Mo3 began rising to fame in 2014 with the release of Shottaz, which got the attention of his future mentor, Boosie. Brooklyn White, Essence, "Rapper Mo3 Shot And Killed In Dallas," 12 Nov. 2020 His family mourns the great loss of a husband, father, son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, son-in-law, brother-in-law, teacher, coach, mentor, friend, and brother in Christ. Kyle Neddenriep, The Indianapolis Star, ""He was everything to me." Rich Andriole remembered as more than a baseball coach," 4 Nov. 2020 Tucker makes mark: Mel Tucker joined his mentor, Nick Saban, as the only first-year coaches in MSU history to defeat U-M in their first attempt. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State football's next task: Avoiding letdown after big win over Wolverines," 1 Nov. 2020 Tucker did what only his mentor, Nick Saban, accomplished 25 years ago. Chris Solari, USA TODAY, "Michigan State rebounds from loss to beat No. 14 Michigan for coach Mel Tucker's first win," 31 Oct. 2020 Even though New York traded two defensive players last week, including Williams' mentor, former Troy standout Steve McLendon, Williams isn’t going anywhere, Gase said. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Jets coach calls Quinnen Williams trade speculation ‘false’," 30 Oct. 2020 Nardos, meanwhile, was encouraged by her mentor — L. Lewis Wall, a noted urogynecologist and anthropologist — to go back to Ethiopia to work with women who had experienced physical trauma during childbirth. Meghana Keshavan, STAT, "A MacArthur ‘genius’ will likely use his grant to support his wife’s work — in the name of science," 29 Oct. 2020 Collins is trying to avoid the same fate as her mentor, the late Sen. Margaret Chase Smith. Star Tribune, "Collins votes against Barrett, heads home to save Senate job," 27 Oct. 2020 But she is widely viewed by both parties as a judge in the mold of Justice Scalia, her mentor, who would rule consistently in favor of conservative positions. Nicholas Fandos, New York Times, "Senate Confirms Barrett, Delivering for Trump and Reshaping the Court," 26 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb After retirement, Hudson traveled Minnesota as a volunteer to mentor small business owners and entrepreneurs through the nonprofit organization SCORE. Tim Harlow, Star Tribune, "Lincoln Hudson, an engineer who helped build NASA's space program, dies at 96," 17 Nov. 2020 The huge news this week was the passing of Bay Area culinary legend Cecilia Chiang, a pioneer of Mandarin cuisine and mentor to many in the food industry. Soleil Ho,, "Fresh blood at Bon Appetit: What’s next after a year of racial tumult?," 2 Nov. 2020 Veteran teachers who have honed their craft and been successful with students need to be given time to mentor new teachers. Kristina Rizga, The Atlantic, "Working for Racial Justice as a White Teacher," 28 Oct. 2020 The Miami Dolphins may have already decided to keep 16-year veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in tow for the remainder of his contract this season to backup and mentor rookie starter Tua Tagovailoa. Safid Deen,, "Could the Dolphins deal Ryan Fitzpatrick at the trade deadline? League sources chime in on Tua’s mentor, backup," 27 Oct. 2020 New recruits are also assigned an onboarding buddy or mentor and get welcome notes from all the members of their team. Lydia Belanger, Fortune, "How 2020 Best Small Workplace YNAB recruits and retains great people," 16 Oct. 2020 Coach Simpson really counts on him to mentor those young guys. Evan Dudley, al, "Brontae Harris returns to lead formidable UAB defense," 31 Aug. 2020 And Paul Feig, the creator of Freaks and Geeks and director of Bridesmaids, who was attached to produce 24-7, promised to mentor her. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "Eva Longoria Calls the Shots," 29 Oct. 2020 Firing faculty — who mentor and challenge our students, who shape the learning environment, and who generate the bulk of the University’s revenue — does nothing but harm our students, our community, and our University. Robin Goist, cleveland, "Arbitrator sides with University of Akron in layoff of nearly 100 union faculty," 18 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

19 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mentor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Nov. 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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