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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for mentor

Synonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Having access to a great mentor is a fortunate and completely valid source of advice and information. Josh Felber, Forbes, "Why Reading Can Make You A Better Entrepreneur," 7 May 2021 Britell told me about a scene, early in the film, in which the protagonist’s mentor teaches him to swim. New York Times, "The Composer at the Frontier of Movie Music," 6 May 2021 Pujols has been an asset in the community, and a tremendous mentor to Trout. Bill Shaikin, Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: Albert Pujols was not the star the Angels wanted him to be," 6 May 2021 Stine also had the ultimate mentor in his father Everett, a legendary coach for Byron who won 222 games in 37 years at the small school powerhouse. Patrick Z. Mcgavin,, "‘It was bittersweet’: Mike Stine, who knew what he would do more than a year ago, steps down as Naperville Central’s football coach," 6 May 2021 One of the most proactive firms in that initial rush was Ballard Partners, the firm led by Republican Party fundraiser Brian Ballard, whose partners included Dorworth, the former lawmaker and Gaetz mentor, until Dorworth resigned last month. Jason Garcia,, "Matt Gaetz helped set off Florida’s marijuana ‘green rush.’ Some of his friends, allies scored big," 6 May 2021 For her part, Sturgeon has given her former mentor the cold shoulder. Washington Post, "Scottish independence 'front and center' in May 6 election," 5 May 2021 On a young Fever team, Lavender has embraced the role of mentor, taking players under her wing and showing them the ropes like vets Kristi Toliver and Ebony Hoffman did for her as a young player in the league. Akeem Glaspie, The Indianapolis Star, "It's back to business for the Indiana Fever. Will it be back to winning?," 5 May 2021 Former Jesuit star Josh Bell, something of a mentor, and former big leaguer Vernon Wells, part of his advisory team, both speak it from experience. Evan Grant, Dallas News, "Jesuit’s Jordan Lawlar appears destined to be a top 5 MLB draft pick. Will he be selected by his hometown Texas Rangers?," 5 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Hyacinthe began working with Stillman in 2016 and has helped mentor his resident artists. Diane Bell Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Child prodigy broke barriers for women in the art world," 11 May 2021 The fact that Joe McCarthy's lawyer -- Roy Cohn -- later went on to mentor Donald Trump is more than a coincidence of history, doubly ironic because Donald Trump was the Kremlin's preferred candidate in two elections. John Avlon, CNN, "Elise Stefanik's shameful move," 6 May 2021 My company started a mentorship program mid-pandemic, and I was assigned to mentor a young and extremely talented colleague. Megan Greenwell, Wired, "Help! How Can I Be a Better Mentor?," 5 May 2021 And as Obi-Wan struggles to mentor his increasingly harder-to-control apprentice, Anakin must deal with the training of his own padawan, Ahsoka Tano, as her complicated journey from being a brash upstart to a great warrior. Lauren Morgan,, "Everything you need to know from Star Wars: The Clone Wars before watching The Bad Batch," 30 Apr. 2021 Garoppolo will be asked to mentor the guy who was drafted to take his job, ASAP. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, "49ers: Jimmy Garoppolo to Trey Lance could be an awkward handoff," 29 Apr. 2021 For decades, Thomas has worked with NABJ to mentor the next generation of Detroit journalists. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, "WWJ-AM's Vickie Thomas reflects on 30 years as the voice of Detroit breaking news," 28 Apr. 2021 The lecture series was created following the 2019 death of legendary investigative reporter Jim Taricani, who became a friend and mentor to so many journalists during his distinguished career at Channel 10., "CNN’s John King can’t wait to talk about Rhode Island and Jim Taricani tonight," 21 Apr. 2021 Reach out to a friend or mentor and ask for acknowledgement. Stephanie Burns, Forbes, "Is Your Business Sucking The Life Out Of You? Perfectionism May Be To Blame," 9 Apr. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mentor

Listen to Our Podcast about mentor

Statistics for mentor

Last Updated

12 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mentor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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)

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!