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

He was known to spend years on his compositions, blowing past deadlines but delivering pieces that — despite rarely running more than 20 minutes — made him one of the most celebrated British composers since Benjamin Britten, an early mentor. Harrison Smith, Washington Post, "Oliver Knussen, influential composer of ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ opera, dies at 66," 12 July 2018 No more beloved mentor to young composers or better friend to older ones. Mark Swed,, "As a conductor, composer and man, Oliver Knussen was larger than life," 10 July 2018 When Crowley inherited his seat in 2000 from an Irish political mentor, representing a district that straddles my old section of the Bronx as well as Queens, the district was still predominantly white. Andrea Mitchell /, NBC News, "The Bronx of the 1950s could not have imagined Ocasio-Cortez's political victory," 27 June 2018 The Suns have Tyson Chandler under contract as an ideal mentor for a player who is very much still learning and tapping into his talent. Jeremy Woo,, "2018 NBA Mock Draft 11.0: Trade Rumors and Final Picks for Both Rounds," 21 June 2018 The comedy that made Laurence Olivier a star follows a young man torn between love, scruples and an alluring male mentor. Chicago Tribune,, "Chicago theater openings June 8-14," 5 June 2018 But with hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line, first-time investors need an experienced mentor to walk them through the laborious, yet potentially lucrative, process of successfully flipping a property. Brandon T. Harden,, "'Real estate is the foundation of wealth,' says former Philly radio personality and host of HGTV's 'Flipping Virgins'," 22 May 2018 Robinson became a mentor, getting the intense young student a scholarship and introducing him to an editor at Timely Comics named Stan Lee. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Steve Ditko, the co-creator of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, is dead.," 7 July 2018 Eric Knight, another hackathon mentor, is one of those new faces. Rebecca Lurye, Courant Community, "Hackathon To Shape Hartford's Plan To Aid Traumatized Youth," 22 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

At the heartrending gathering, friends and colleagues lauded him as a dedicated professional who was committed to the craft of journalism and loved mentoring the next generation of reporters. David Mcfadden, Anchorage Daily News, "Suspect wrote he aimed to kill everyone at Maryland newsroom," 3 July 2018 At the heartrending gathering for Hiaasen, friends and colleagues lauded him as a dedicated professional who was committed to the craft of journalism and loved mentoring the next generation of reporters. David Mcfadden, The Seattle Times, "Overflow crowd gathers to honor slain Maryland journalist," 2 July 2018 Hudes, who has been mentoring a group of Washington State high school students who call themselves the Migrant Leaders Club, arranged a grant to fly them to New York to see the show. Eben Shapiro, Time, "New Musical Miss You Like Hell Puts a Human Face on the Looming Specter of Deportation," 29 Mar. 2018 Beltran proved to be an invaluable addition off the field, mentoring younger players. Matthew Wilson, USA TODAY, "'Astroball': How the Houston Astros climbed from baseball's basement to champions," 13 July 2018 Cagle was among the political, civic and business leaders who in 2015 attended a preview party and luncheon for the 16th anniversary of Usher’s New Look Foundation, which operates leadership mentoring programs for youths. Jennifer Brett, ajc, "Hollywood makes a cameo in Cagle-Kemp battle," 26 June 2018 The nonprofit provides services such as prenatal screenings, mentoring for teen mothers, an emergency pantry for infants, childbirth classes and more. Krislyn Placide,, "Luncheon for Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies recognizes “moments”," 21 June 2018 Next week: Jeff and Raegan throw an Easter bash, Tamica confronts Gian over her decision to stop mentoring Barry, and Gian helps Jon with his Jazz Fest party. Mike Scott,, "'Southern Charm New Orleans' Episode 6: Red beans and rice, minus the spice," 21 May 2018 Bellinger was active in the nonprofit SCORE Atlanta, which helps to mentor small-business people in the area. Nancy Badertscher, ajc, "Hagood Bellinger, 77: Business leader, admired mentor loved Tech, golf," 12 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


Latin, from Greek Mentōr


see mentor entry 1

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Statistics for mentor

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

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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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).


the setting in which something occurs

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