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See also: Doyen



From French doyen, from Latin decānus. Compare dean.


  • IPA(key): /ˈdɔɪ.ən/, /dɔɪˈɛn/
  • (to approximate the French pronunciation) IPA(key): /dwɑˈjæ̃/
  • Rhymes: -ɔɪən, -ɛn


doyen (plural doyens)

  1. (obsolete) A commander in charge of ten men.
  2. The senior, or eldest male member of a group.
    • 1997, Thomas Swan, The Cezanne Chase, page 171,
      At every turn, Collyers's aggressive new management in London was out-maneuvering and out promoting the double doyens of the rarefied art auction world. Old-timers at Collyers referred to Christie's and Sotheby's as “the Cow and the Sow,” lumping them together in frequent attitudes of disdain, in an attempt to make up for decades of being the brunt of bad jokes.
    • 2000, Steve Fuller, Thomas Kuhn: A Philosophical History for Our Times, page 383,
      Conant's sense of science's world-historic mission did not especially endear him to Harvard's doyens, most of whom still operated with a liberal arts college model of the university in which the humanities reigned supreme and even the natural sciences were treated more as teaching than research subjects.
    • 2007, Vanina Bouté, Political Hierarchical Processes among Some Highlanders of Laos, François Robinne, Mandy Sadan (editors), Social Dynamics in the Highlands of Southeast Asia, page 189,
      On the domain level, two doyens, called “Lords of the Land” were entitled to some further specific prerogatives, including the right to lead rituals on behalf of all the villages of the domain (i.e. the domain of the clan of the doyen and, therefore, the clan considered the founder of the oldest village).
  3. (colloquial) A leading light, or exemplar of a particular practice or movement.
    • 1991, Arif Dirlik, Anarchism in the Chinese Revolution, page 129,
      Unlike the latter, however, Shifu's seriousness allowed no compromise; his criticism of Zhang ji even brought him into conflict with Wu Zhihui, one of the doyens of anarchism in China.
    • 2008 July 3, Amanda Schaffer, “The Sex Difference Evangelists”, part 3: “Mars, Venus, Babies, and Hormones”, in Slate,
      In an interview, even Simon Baron-Cohen, another doyen of sex-difference claims, offered up some caution.
    • 2011, Maitrii Aung-Thwin, The Return of the Galon King: History, Law, and Rebellion in Colonial Burma, page 199,
      For these doyens of the field, the Burmese conceptual landscape was a sophisticated and complex array of beliefs, exhibiting the ability of communities to adapt, appropriate, and reshape external influences throughout history.

Related terms[edit]





From Old French deien, from Latin decānus.



doyen m (plural doyens)

  1. (religion, university) dean
  2. senior member, doyen

External links[edit]