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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Other Words from mentor


mentorship \ ˈmen-​ˌtȯr-​ˌship How to pronounce mentorship (audio) , -​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

Among those tools is a student ambassador program that enables students to serve as peer-to-peer mentors, initiate conversations about the importance of voting, and register their peers via the online toolkit. Lauren Young, Teen Vogue, "“Cap, Gown, Vote!” Is Helping to Register Eligible High School Students to Vote," 14 Sep. 2018 Most are aided by college students, who serve as mentors and coaches. Susan Snyder,, "'The choice should be there.' More colleges enroll students with intellectual disabilities," 25 June 2018 While Gore still regularly attends workshops, most are now led by peer facilitators -- recent graduates and college students, some of whom are former KAVI members -- who serve as mentors to the students. Kathleen Toner, CNN, "Doctor works to save youth from violence before they reach his ER," 26 Apr. 2018 Of those who successfully reintegrated back into society, all had the support of family members, as well as friends and mentors. Julie Chernov Hwang, Washington Post, "New research shows why terrorists quit terrorism," 12 July 2018 When Bill and Gini married in 1946, Bill continued to work for Merton Hodge, who became his friend and mentor., "William Ferdinand Grunewald," 9 June 2018 One of Lopez’s mentors, Nicole Woody, was the first Maryland female to reach the state finals in 2007 competing for Arundel. Tim Schwartz, Howard County Times, "Mt. Hebron senior Cassy Lopez becomes first woman to sign National Letter of Intent to Division-I wrestling program," 3 May 2018 Schramm said the genetics curriculum that can be adjusted as technology changes was developed by his mentor, retired Waubonsie genetics-biotechnology teacher Elaine Modine. Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, "Waubonsie students experiment with DNA with bioethics in mind," 20 Apr. 2018 In Heidi and Tim's absence, Project Runway (now back on Bravo) will continue with renowned model Karlie Kloss as host and former contestant/fashion designer Christian Siriano as mentor. Heather Finn, Good Housekeeping, "Here's the Real Reason Why Heidi Klum Left 'Project Runway'," 14 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Mountain Madness Trail Running Races, which hosts the Fat Dog 120 Trail Race in British Columbia, Canada, hosts a dozen trail work days every year for races and has trained and mentored volunteers on special trail projects. Stephanie Case, Outside Online, "A Response from a Proud “Lazy Parasite” Trail Runner," 4 June 2019 Expats run dozens of charitable groups, mentoring Mexican students, helping provide clean drinking water, serving meals to poor abuelitas. Mary Beth Sheridan, The Seattle Times, "The little-noticed surge across the U.S.-Mexico border: Americans heading south," 21 May 2019 Of all the fellow quarterbacks that have mentored Josh Rosen, the Cardinals’ new quarterback of the future, one seems to have found a special place in his heart. Bob Mcmanaman, azcentral, "Arizona Cardinals rookie QB Josh Rosen has a mentor and new friend in Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers," 27 Apr. 2018 In both weekend concerts here, Ling will conduct pieces by the iconic Leonard Bernstein, who mentored Ling for many years. Beth Wood,, "Welcome back, Maestro: Jahja Ling returns to San Diego Symphony as conductor laureate," 19 Apr. 2018 Signing him with a plan to mentor a rookie tight end actually makes a lot of sense. Josh Katzenstein,, "New Orleans Saints Mock Draft 4.0: Back to the top tight end," 13 Apr. 2018 Now the head coach at Paraclete High School in Lancaster, Calif., Herrington has mentored 16 future Division I QBs, a couple of whom have gone on to the NFL, over the course of his career working at a handful of California high schools. Bruce Feldman,, "Inside the Recruitment of Brevin White, the Four-Star QB Who Chose Princeton Over Alabama," 6 Feb. 2018 In 2013 and 2014, the USU defense ranked seventh and 12th, respectively, in scoring defense Shaver was named’s Co-Defensive Backs National Coach of the Year in 2012, and has mentored current NFL player Nevin Lawson of Detroit. Stefanie Loh, The Seattle Times, "WSU announces the hire of Kendrick Shaver as safeties coach," 20 Jan. 2018 Rubinstein also mentors students as the head coach at Alonzo & Tracy Mourning Senior High School. Emmett Hall,, "Local tennis pro garners prestigious coach of the year award," 8 July 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

7 Jun 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

What made you want to look up mentor? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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