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

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

In the program’s 50 years, mentors have touched the lives of more than 20,000 Iowan youths. USA TODAY, "Animation behind bars, Elliott the elk, SkyStar: News from around our 50 states," 10 Sep. 2019 One of their inspirational programs, The Gold Star Corps, strives to foster positive relationships between Gold Star children and veteran mentors. Ramona Sentinel, "Special Liberty Project receives $2,500 for Gold Star event," 7 Sep. 2019 Editor's Note: Both Herron and Martin are mentors with the Starfish Initiative. Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star, "'It was just us four': An Indianapolis mom prepares to bury her two teenagers," 5 Sep. 2019 Students and potential mentors interested in the program can contact Sharp at or Ngo at San Diego Union-Tribune, "North County School News, Sept. 5," 5 Sep. 2019 This would follow an example set by Álvaro Uribe, a former president and Mr Duque’s political mentor. The Economist, "Will Colombia return to war?," 5 Sep. 2019 There, trained mentors guided residents through recovery with the aim of transitioning them back to school. Rebecca Tan, Longreads, "Paul Clarke Wants to Live," 3 Sep. 2019 Jeremiah Mack was one of Davantae’s mentors on the team. Alice Yin,, "15-year-old killed near Austin home dreamed of playing for White Sox: ‘I see the little boy, and I remember that forever’," 3 Sep. 2019 In one particularly deft transposition, Lopez reimagines the wife of Henry Wilcox, a spiritual mentor to Margaret Schlegel, as Walter Poole, Henry Wilcox’s partner. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, "How Matthew Lopez Transformed “Howards End” Into an Epic Play About Gay Life," 2 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

For a coach who was mentored by the great Vince Lombardi disciple Mickey Corcoran, himself a friend and former colleague of Bob Knight, not competing is not an option. The Si Staff,, "100 Figures Who Shaped the NFL’s First Century," 28 Aug. 2019 Being at Del Mar has allowed her to be mentored by former jockey Patrick Valenzuela and get advice from Hall of Famers Mike Smith and Victor Espinoza. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Jockey Ferrin Peterson at Del Mar: Call her ‘Doc’," 25 Aug. 2019 Alaina has since toured with McBride and been mentored by her. Nancy Kruh,, "It's Ladies' Night! Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Trisha Yearwood and More Shine at ACM Honors," 22 Aug. 2019 These students regularly visit the Ramona Airport where they are mentored by local airplane builders and pilots. Ramona Sentinel, "Mentors needed to assist Career Technical Education students," 22 Aug. 2019 As usual, a slate of undiscovered songwriters will pitch their work to the band, each mentored by one of three experienced writer-producers. Ew Staff,, "What to Watch on Wednesday: A potential stalker grows creepily closer to one of the BH90210 stars," 21 Aug. 2019 Edwards, a Democrat mentored by Blanco, ordered flags at state buildings around Louisiana flown at half-staff through Blanco’s funeral, scheduled for Saturday. Washington Post, "Ex-Gov. Kathleen Blanco dies, led Louisiana through Katrina," 19 Aug. 2019 Students are mentored by former migrant students who made it to college, some of whom went through the same program., "Children of Oregon’s migrant workers: hungry to learn, unsure of their future," 12 Aug. 2019 The Riots are unique in Chicago, a league for girls aged 10 to 18, coached and mentored by The Chicago Outfit, one of the city’s adult teams. Nicole Blackwood,, "‘We’re like the forgotten people’: Chicago Riots junior roller derby offers rough-and-tumble community of acceptance," 18 July 2019

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

17 Sep 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

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to spread over or through

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