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 The absent-minded and neurotic Hobie (Jeffrey Wright) is reduced to a bland, avuncular mentor. Andrew R. Chow, Time, "The Goldfinch Is a Uniquely Challenging Novel to Adapt. Here’s Why the Movie Was Doomed," 13 Sep. 2019 Three months later, Zuckerberg’s mentor, Roger McNamee, also attempted to alert Zuckerberg and Facebook executives that the platform was being used to manipulate information about the election. Jennifer Grygiel, The Conversation, "Facebook algorithm changes suppressed journalism and meddled with democracy," 24 July 2019 Toward the end of Captain Marvel, the remaining Skrulls end up finding a new home aboard the high-tech space-lab of Captain Marvel’s mentor, Mar-Vell, which is where Fury is vacationing after the epic battles of Avengers: Endgame. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "Spider-Man: Far From Home’s post-credits scene fixes its biggest plot hole," 3 July 2019 Coaches were mentors to Mallek during three hour daily wrestling practices and weekend matches. Rachel K. Hindery,, "Journalist, golfer and attorney inducted into Ridgewood High School Hall of Fame," 16 Sep. 2019 Bachie, who was named to the All-Big Ten first team last season, has been a mentor to Warinner, particularly in the area of communicating as the middle linebacker. Chase Michaelson, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State's Edward Warinner itching for chance to play," 22 Aug. 2019 Former State Senator Eliot Shapleigh of Texas, who has been a mentor to Mr. O’Rourke, expressed disappointment with the trajectory of the race to date. Katie Glueck, New York Times, "After El Paso Shooting, Will Voters Revisit Beto O’Rourke?," 11 Aug. 2019 Dave Bailey, who was an assistant chief at the time and has since left the department, said Biehl was a mentor to him throughout his career. Sharon Coolidge,, "Meet Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl. He's the Elder grad and former Cincinnati Police Department official now in the national spotlight.," 6 Aug. 2019 He was aided by his chief counsel, Roy Cohn, who also built a reputation as a fierce anti-communist, and in later years, went on to be a mentor to the young Donald Trump., "PBS documentary, ‘McCarthy,’ profiles the politician whose anti-communist ‘witch hunts’ divided the country," 30 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Founder, Sharifa Murdock has found a passion for mentoring the next generation and utilizes this growing festival to fuse her two worlds together; fashion and mentorship. Nandi Howard, Essence, "The Best Style At The 2019 ENVSN Festival," 16 Sep. 2019 Lyke and Williams said that influential male athletic directors were helping progress by mentoring women in a treacherous industry. Alan Blinder, New York Times, "Countable on One Hand: The Women Leading Power Five Athletic Departments," 13 Sep. 2019 Payne mentored a young Hank Williams; Gus Cannon taught a young Johnny Cash. Andrew R. Chow, Time, "Black Artists Built Country Music—And Then It Left Them Behind," 11 Sep. 2019 Livingston also shared duties with Andre Iguodala with mentoring the team’s bench. Mark Medina, The Mercury News, "Warriors, Shaun Livingston push back guarantee date on contract," 29 June 2019 Bashir Omar, of Faribault, for mentoring youth and developing programs to inspire future leaders. Molly Korzenowski, Twin Cities, "State honors 9 Minnesota refugees for their civic contributions," 11 June 2019 In her role, Swift will join Shelton, Legend and their fellow coaches Kelly Clarkson and Gwen Stefani to mentor the show’s artists and prepare each team for the Knockout Rounds, which will begin airing in October. Brianne Tracy,, "Kelly Clarkson Says Taylor Swift 'Cried a Couple of Times' as The Voice's Mega Mentor," 16 Sep. 2019 Beyond simple camera instruction, Las Fotos Project provides a safe space for girls to be mentored and to develop a strong sense of identity and confidence, participants said. Stephanie Mendez, Los Angeles Times, "Las Fotos Project gives girls a mission: Grab a camera and shoot your world," 4 Sep. 2019 The Obama Youth Jobs Corps is a partnership between the foundation and Urban Alliance to train high school students by placing them in internships and temporary jobs where they can be mentored and groomed. Lolly Bowean,, "Obama surprises teens in his Youth Jobs Corps with visit at Chicago foundation," 17 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

25 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for mentor

The first known use of mentor was in 1616

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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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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).


to engage in dissolute behavior

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