men·​tor | \ ˈmen-ˌtȯr How to pronounce mentor (audio) , -tər \

Essential Meaning of mentor

: someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person After college, her professor became her close friend and mentor. He needed a mentor to teach him about the world of politics. See More ExamplesWe volunteer as mentors to/of disadvantaged children. young boys in need of mentorsHide

Full 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

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 Bonnet's mentor, Blackbeard, didn't fare much better. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 19 Jan. 2022 Leakey, the renowned paleoanthropologist and wildlife conservationist, had been her mentor—a mercurial, controversial advocate for African wildlife, whose tumultuous career was central to Kenya’s history in the past half century. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, 11 Jan. 2022 Daniel Jones was selected to be the franchise quarterback Gettleman delivered to the Giants the same way his mentor, Ernie Accorsi, brought Eli Manning here. Art Stapleton, USA TODAY, 10 Jan. 2022 First, Raghav and his grad student mentor, Elio Challita, used some moisturizer to make their fingers a little more slippery. Karen Hopkin, Scientific American, 10 Jan. 2022 As the memoir continues, Vance is propped up by a handful of other parental surrogates: the paternalistic Marine Corps and the Tiger Mother herself, his law school mentor Amy Chua, who guided the book to publication. Simon Van Zuylen-wood, Anchorage Daily News, 9 Jan. 2022 With a little help from Moscow, Tokayev has ruthlessly turned the tables on his mentor, Nursultan Nazarbaev, the man who ruled Kazakhstan from independence in 1991 to 2019 and was still known as Leader of the Nation, until Wednesday. Tim Lister, CNN, 8 Jan. 2022 Much of the anger is directed at both Tokayev and his mentor Nursultan Nazarbayev, who was President of Kazakhstan from 1991 until 2019 and previously served as head of the Kazakh Soviet Republic. Eloise Barry, Time, 6 Jan. 2022 Give each new hire a mentor (aka a fellow co-worker) from day one. Mike Kappel, Forbes, 5 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Mic came to the DJ over the pandemic, while lounging around on FaceTime with his friend and mentor Verdeen White of Earth, Wind, and Fire. Essence, 13 Jan. 2022 As a fourth grader in 2014, Bryce Tillery lost a friend and mentor when 11-year-old Pierre McLoyd fell off a moving car, hit his head and died. Jeff Vorva,, 27 Nov. 2021 Anthology aims to produce films and work with talented rookie directors who Kim will mentor. Rebecca Souw, Variety, 8 Dec. 2021 While not all are retirees, the mentors live out the developmental stage of generativity, finding ways to contribute and mentor the next generation. Dr. Ruth Gotian, Forbes, 2 Nov. 2021 The departures are also taking their toll on nursing education, which relies on clinical instructors and preceptors, the experienced, hands-on nurses who mentor students on the job. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 15 Oct. 2021 All of us need to mentor and support and be watchful. Courtney Tanner, The Salt Lake Tribune, 9 Dec. 2021 Strachan said the goal of the initiative was to not only train and recruit, but to support, mentor and provide financial assistance to Black male teaching candidates. al, 29 Nov. 2021 In addition to telehealth consultations, Green says MAVEN volunteers also work to mentor and educate community clinic staff through webinars offered via Zoom videoconferencing. Linda Childers, USA TODAY, 29 Nov. 2021

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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Last Updated

24 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Mentor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jan. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of mentor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mentor for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about mentor


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