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 As a last resort, The Trace sometimes assigned one of its own reporters as a mentor to help look for family or legal records using Lexis Nexis or Westlaw. Lizzie Feidelson, The New Republic, "The Kids Profiling Every Single Child Killed by Guns," 26 Dec. 2019 During the lead-up to the presentation, Wood and the other two finalists were partnered with Rockwell Automation mentors. Alec Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "High school student wins Rockwell Automation challenge for software app that could prevent sump pump failure, overflowing," 23 Dec. 2019 Fast forward 15 years and the record-breaking musician is now a mentor for John Legend's team of hopeful contestants on The Voice. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Does Usher Age? His Appearance on 'The Voice' Has Fans Convinced He's Getting Younger," 15 Oct. 2019 Background: Man killed on golf cart near Seneca Park was mentor for young people An arrest citation from the time showed blood alcohol levels for Illas at 0.16%, which is double the legal limit. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "Driver in fatal Seneca Park golf cart crash indicted on murder charge," 9 Oct. 2019 The Sussexes started the morning by visiting Monwabisi Beach near Cape Town, and spending time with mentors from the Waves for Change organization, a project which uses surfing to help vulnerable young people. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Wears a Headscarf to Visit Auwal Mosque, the Oldest Mosque in South Africa," 24 Sep. 2019 The Duke, 35, and Duchess of Sussex, 38, received a briefing in the compound before meeting with surf mentors and taking a walk to the beach to participate in a group activity to promote positive thinking. Stephanie Petit,, "Meghan Markle Goes Casual in Denim Jacket for Beach Visit in South Africa with Prince Harry," 24 Sep. 2019 The royal couple met with surf mentors as well as co-founder Apish Tshetsha, who started running voluntary surf sessions for the organization after meeting founder Tim Conibear in 2010. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry Gush Over Archie on Day Two of Royal Tour," 24 Sep. 2019 Brit Fitzpatrick leads entrepreneurship for Northern Kentucky Tri-ED, which is building a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem that connects startups and small businesses with mentors, partners, resources, and potential funders. Kimberly Wilson, Essence, "How Cincinnati Became An Emerging Destination For Minority Entrepreneurship," 26 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb He was mentored by puppeteering legend Jim Henson and the two remained longtime friends until Henson's death in 1990. Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY, "'Sesame Street' icon Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer behind Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, dies at 85," 9 Dec. 2019 But there was an assistant gig at Portland State under the legendary Pokey Allen and Al Borges, where Ludwig was mentored. oregonlive, "Canzano: The ghost of ex-Oregon Ducks’ offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig... is just Andy Ludwig," 6 Dec. 2019 The saxophonist was mentored by Rene McLean, Jimmy Greene, Kris Allen and Andrew Beals. Susan Dunne,, "Hartford’s Baby Grand Jazz Series announces 2020 lineup," 4 Dec. 2019 Many faith leaders, activists and politicians in Baltimore have one thing in common: They were mentored by Rep. Elijah Cummings. Washington Post, "Cummings remembered as a mentor to many in Baltimore," 18 Oct. 2019 In the movie, Destiny is mentored by Jennifer Lopez’s magnetic character, Ramona—a lioness to Destiny’s squirrel—who teaches her how to extract money from clients and later hatches a scheme to drug and defraud them. Jiayang Fan, The New Yorker, "Constance Wu’s Hollywood Destiny," 16 Sep. 2019 They will be mentored by 11 prominent figures in biotech, who are considered Petri cofounders., "Pillar, an early-stage venture capital firm in Boston, is starting a new laboratory in the seaport district for fledgling biotechs.," 14 Sep. 2019 Each student will be mentored by an Assistance League member and receive a gift card as an emergency fund. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, "North County School News, Sept. 12," 12 Sep. 2019 Dombrowski was mentored by Roland Hemond and advised in Boston by Frank Wren and Tony LaRussa–all cut from old-school cloth. Tom Verducci,, "Why the Red Sox Fired Dave Dombrowski After He Delivered a Championship," 9 Sep. 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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Time Traveler for mentor

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The first known use of mentor was in 1616

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Last Updated

18 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mentor.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 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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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).


not to be intimidated or subdued

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