men·​tor | \ ˈmen-ˌtȯr , -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 \

Definition of Mentor (Entry 3 of 3)

city in northeastern Ohio northeast of Cleveland population 47,159

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Other Words from mentor


mentorship \ ˈmen-​ˌtȯr-​ˌship , -​tər-​ \ noun

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

James Polk owed his presidency to two people—Andrew Jackson, his political mentor, and Sarah Childress Polk, his political partner. Walter R. Borneman, WSJ, "‘Lady First’ Review: The Inside Game," 1 Feb. 2019 Her nods to her mentors are mixed in with rustic touches that rival even Joanna Gaines’ best work. Megan Stein, Country Living, "'The Voice' Star RaeLynn Has a Piece of Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton in Her Home," 4 Nov. 2018 The 50-year-old credits her own confidence and willingness to speak up to a group of inspiring women in her personal life, especially her mentor and former co-star Debbie Reynolds. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "'Will & Grace' Star Debra Messing Shares Incredibly Touching Story About Debbie Reynolds," 4 Oct. 2018 After all of these years, running continues to be my mentor and the gift that keeps on giving—on the pavement and off. Toni Carey, SELF, "Running Taught Me How to Live the Life I Want," 15 Aug. 2018 My mentor and muse, Annabel Gat, refers to Leo's flame as a bonfire. Allure, "How the Sun's Position In Your Birth Chart Affects Your Zodiac Sign," 14 Aug. 2018 Like her mentor, Swartz is deeply committed to her work but also understands the importance of balance and perspective. Steven Stolman, ELLE Decor, "How Elizabeth Swartz Rose From Intern to Partner at Bunny Williams," 14 Aug. 2018 Her hyperactive mind and seemingly boundless energy translate to spellbinding concerts that recall her late mentor and friend Prince, both in their relentless vibrancy and their bold optimism for music’s — and the world’s — future., "The week ahead: music, theater, art, and more," 13 July 2018 My mentor helped me line up my college applications. Jeneé Osterheldt, kansascity, "Swimming lesson may be leading to forgiveness," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

There she was mentored by the likes of Richard Pryor, Charles Fleischer (the voice of Roger Rabbit), and Chris Spencer, and began building her name on the stand-up circuit. Law Roach, Glamour, "The Tao of Tiffany Haddish: ‘If They're Not Talking About You, Then You're Not Doing Your Job’," 31 July 2018 During the process they were mentored not only by their own teachers, but also by staff members from the hospital. John Hanc, New York Times, "Building Skills Outside the Classroom With New Ways of Learning," 5 Apr. 2018 Know this might not last (and that’s OK) As with friends or romantic partners, sometimes mentoring relationships run their course. Samantha Leach, Glamour, "It's Time to Rethink How You Find a Mentor at Work," 18 Dec. 2018 Former Texas congresswoman Barbara Jordan mentored future leaders while coping with the effects of multiple sclerosis. Ola Ojewumi, SELF, "I'm Celebrating My Disabled Black Girl Magic Because I'm Done Feeling Invisible," 7 Nov. 2018 Early in her career, Trattner worked in a plastic surgeon’s office, helping patients with their recovery processes, and mentored under Andrew Weil — Harvard M.D. and patron saint of holistic health. Brennan Kilbane, Allure, "Meet the Woman Who Uses Alternative Medicine and Gemstone Facials to Treat Patients," 19 Oct. 2018 Supermodel and coder extraordinaire Karlie Kloss will step in for Klum as host and executive producer, while season four winner Christian Siriano will take on Gunn’s former role, mentoring the designers in the competition. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Karlie Kloss Is Going To Be on TV! The Supermodel Will Join Brandon Maxwell and Christian Siriano on the New Project Runway," 10 Oct. 2018 Nevertheless, even after retiring, Shan worked tirelessly to promote pingshu among young Chinese, mentoring apprentices and starting a school dedicated to the folk arts. Amy Qin, The Seattle Times, "Shan Tianfang, a superstar of Chinese storytelling, dies at 83," 17 Sep. 2018 Both inspired by each other's talent, Terry Fator ended up mentoring Darci behind the scenes during the competition. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'America's Got Talent' Winner Darci Lynne Farmer Almost Didn't Become a Ventriloquist," 15 Aug. 2018

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

15 Feb 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

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marked by fawning attentiveness

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