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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Amanda Kline and Captain Mark William Galloway Dyer Prince Charles's former equerry, Captain Mark William Galloway Dyer, served as a mentor for Prince Harry, particularly in the years following Princess Diana's death. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Who Will Serve as Godparents to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Baby?," 21 Jan. 2019 The superstar joined the panel of coaches on The Voice this year and proved her prowess as a mentor when two of her team members, Brynn Cartelli from season 14 and Chevel Shepherd from season 15, both took home the grand prize. Alisa Wolfson, Country Living, "Why Kelly Clarkson Would Be 'Afraid' to Let Her Kids Compete on a Reality TV Show," 30 Dec. 2018 Louis was a judge on the show while Liam served as a mentor for him. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "One Direction Might Reunite for the Holidays, But It's Not What You Think," 10 Dec. 2018 The unit would be exclusive, open to just 19 women—some mentees between 18 and 25 and some older women, who would serve as mentors. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "Inside a Radical Experiment to Transform the Lives of Incarcerated Women," 22 Aug. 2018 Now, Kate is serving as a mentor of sorts to Meghan, too. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton Is Reportedly Helping Meghan Markle Cope with Her Family in the News," 30 July 2018 Williams brought his friends to the basketball court, and then kept coming back, first as a mentee, then as a mentor himself. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "In 1980, a 19-year-old helped a Milwaukee kid make better choices. Today, they're still changing lives.," 9 July 2018 The pair first met on the set of American Idol when McPhee was a contestant and Foster appeared as a guest mentor in 2006. Evan Real, Billboard, "Katharine McPhee and David Foster Are Engaged," 3 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 In the past, mentoring young players was something Mr. James largely outsourced to veteran teammates. Sam Walker, WSJ, "Why Superstars Make Lousy Bosses," 20 Oct. 2018 Troop 636 has an active program for training, coaching, and mentoring all of its members in order to help them advance from Tenderfoot through the ranks to Eagle Scout. Shirley Macfarland,, "Altenheim Grand Community Open House will showcase new Therapy Rehab Center: Strong Points," 27 Apr. 2018 The students, Dezeen reports, were taken to a factory to learn about furniture making processes and materials, while also being mentored in the history of design. Lindsey Desimone, ELLE Decor, "These Blind Students Were Asked To Design Functional Furniture," 12 Oct. 2015 Sterling Gibbs joined the UConn men as a grad transfer during Adams’ freshman season and helped mentor him one-on-one. Dom Amore,, "Jalen Adams, Huskies, Maturing As They Face Memphis," 16 Jan. 2018 American Idol judge Lionel Richie takes an honest, mentoring role with hopeful singers who appear on the show. Marie Milano, Country Living, "A Detailed Timeline of Lionel Richie's Marriages and Relationships," 3 Mar. 2019 Read on for Glamour west coast editor Jessica Radloff's interview with Carol Burnett: GLAMOUR: Talk to me about the importance of mentoring talent like Rachel Bloom. Jessica De Ruiter, Glamour, "Rachel Bloom Writes a Love Letter to Her Comedy Icon Carol Burnett," 2 July 2018 Phil Emmanuel, an exceptional, award-winning guitarist who mentored his younger brother and regular bandmate Tommy Emmanuel, died last Thursday (May 24) in the Australian town of Parkes after a sudden asthma attack. Lars Brandle, Billboard, "Phil Emmanuel, Australian Guitar Legend, Dies at 65," 28 May 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mentor

Listen to Our Podcast about mentor

Statistics for mentor

Last Updated

10 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mentor

The first known use of mentor was in 1616

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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)

Keep scrolling for more

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).


a sum of money that is sent as a payment

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!