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 In his first post-pandemic episode filmed in front of a studio audience at the Ed Sullivan Theater, Stephen Colbert built The Late Show around a chat with his old friend and mentor, and Stewart came up with the perfect metaphor. Kyle Smith, National Review, 15 June 2021 Rivers wasn't the only mentor and coaching influence proud of Williams. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 5 June 2021 The metrics also include successfully completing case plans and youths' involvement in positive endeavors such as school or work or simply communication with the mentor. Alison Dirr, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5 May 2021 The mentor to so many raised his hand to gesture goodbye. Tim Prudente,, 29 Apr. 2021 Both had been in the Onyx Collective orbit for years: Hakim as an associate and frequent collaborator; Nathanson as the mentor and former teacher of the group’s co-founder, Isaiah Barr. T.m. Brown, Rolling Stone, 22 Apr. 2021 He was seen fraternizing with Beal, a close friend and mentor, following the game, along with Jaylen Brown. Gary Washburn,, 16 Jan. 2021 By the end of One Night in Miami, Cassius Clay chooses to go by the name Cassius X, a nod to his Muslim friend and mentor, Malcolm X. Nick Allen, Vulture, 16 Jan. 2021 Moments before sitting down Saturday afternoon for his Zoom call with reporters, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr learned that his friend and mentor, Paul Westphal, had died from brain cancer. Connor Letourneau,, 2 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Eddie Jackson will mentor the 12 contestants, who are vying for a serious prize: their own show on Discovery+. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, 13 June 2021 Now his mission is to take a bunch of young players and mold them, mentor them, train them and tutor them. Mike Bianchi,, 19 May 2021 To help show them the ropes, HGTV stars Taniya Nayak (Restaurant Impossible), Ty Pennington (Ty Breaker) and Alison Victoria (Windy City Rehab) will each mentor one of the teams. Melissa Locker, Southern Living, 16 Apr. 2021 Janeway has to deal with, and presumably mentor, a group of delinquent teens who swipe a derelict Starfleet vessel. Tribune News Service, cleveland, 16 Jan. 2021 Likewise, Ryan Seacrest is probably also going to return to the ABC competition show for the 2022 season, as will mentor Bobby Bones. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, 29 May 2021 Nobody should be forced to mentor, and in fact, business leaders should already have good onboarding and upskilling opportunities in place. Vijay Sundaram, Forbes, 20 May 2021 In potentially the biggest news of the night, Hudson’s Bay announced the launch of the Hudson’s Bay Fashion Fund, an initiative to mentor and support up-and-coming BIPOC designers in Canada. Katherine Singh,, 19 May 2021 Ionescu attended friend and mentor Bryant's Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday. Reuters, CNN, 19 May 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

17 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mentor.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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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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