AskDefine | Define mentor

Dictionary Definition

mentor n : a wise and trusted guide and advisor [syn: wise man] v : serve as a teacher or trusted counselor; "The famous professor mentored him during his years in graduate school"; "She is a fine lecturer but she doesn't like mentoring"

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A wise and trusted counselor or teacher


A wise and trusted counselor or teacher

Proper noun

  1. Odysseus's trusted counselor


  1. To serve as a mentor


To serve as a mentor

See also



mentor (plural: mentoriaid)


cy-mut-m entor

Extensive Definition

In Greek mythology, Mentor (Μέντωρ / Méntōr) was the son of Alcumus and, in his old age, a friend of Odysseus. When Odysseus left for the Trojan War he placed Mentor in charge of his son, Telemachus, and of his palace. When Athena visited Telemachus she took the disguise of Mentor to hide herself from the suitors of Telemachus' mother Penelope. (See Odyssey Book II, lines 255 and 268.) As Mentor, the goddess encourages Telemachus to stand up against the suitors and to go abroad in order to learn out about his father.
When Odysseus returns to Ithaca, Athena (in the form of Mentor) takes the form of a swallow and the suitors' arrows have no effect on him.

Mentor as term

The first recorded modern usage of the term can be traced to a book entitled "Les Aventures de Telemaque", by the French writer François Fénelon . In the book the lead character is that of Mentor. This book was published in 1699 and was very popular during the 18th century and the modern application of the term can be traced to this publication .
This is the source of the modern use of the word mentor: a trusted friend, counselor or teacher, usually a more experienced person. Some professions have "mentoring programs" in which newcomers are paired with more experienced people in order to obtain good examples and advice as they advance, and schools sometimes have mentoring programs for new students or students who are having difficulties.
Today mentors provide their expertise to less experienced individuals in order to help them advance their careers, enhance their education, and build their networks. Many of the world's most successful people have benefited from having a mentor including:
Fictionally, a mentor is a common character in the hero's journey.
Historically, Mentor of Rhodes was a Greek mercenary who at various times fought either for or against Artaxerxes III.

Mentoree (or mentee)

The student of a mentor is called a protégé or mentoree. More accurately, for the recondite, the protégé would be called the telemachus (pl. telemachuses or telemaches). Sometimes, the protégé is also called a mentee. The -or ending of the original name Mentor does not have the meaning of "the one who does something", as in other English words such as contractor or actor. The derivation of mentee from mentor is therefore an example of backformation (cf. employer and employee).

See also


mentor in Bulgarian: Ментор
mentor in Danish: Mentor
mentor in German: Mentor (Mythologie)
mentor in Modern Greek (1453-): Μέντωρ (μυθολογία)
mentor in Spanish: Mentor (mitología)
mentor in Esperanto: Mentoro
mentor in French: Mentor (mythologie)
mentor in Hebrew: מנטור
mentor in Hungarian: Mentór (mitológia)
mentor in Dutch: Mentor (mythologie)
mentor in Japanese: メントール (ギリシア神話)
mentor in Norwegian: Mentor
mentor in Norwegian Nynorsk: Mentor
mentor in Polish: Mentor (mitologia)
mentor in Russian: Ментор
mentor in Swedish: Mentor

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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