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Back-formation from mentor. Although mentor comes from Ancient Greek Μέντωρ (Méntōr), the name of a mythological figure, it was mistakenly analyzed as terminating in the suffix -or (doer), leading to a form using the French patientive suffix -ee on the model of pairs such as donor-donee and employer-employee. Attested since at least 1958.


mentee (plural mentees)

  1. A person who is being mentored.
    • 1958, Laurence E. Leamer, “Economic Education in Colleges”, in Educating Youth for Economic Competence (American Business Education Yearbook)‎[1], volume 15, Eastern Business Teachers Association, page 49:
      The mentee occasionally teaches the class, regularly confers with students, conducts optional special study sessions, and relieves the professor of most clerical classroom functions
    • 1979 April 11, Robert A. Cohn, “'Norma Rae' Gets an 'A'”, in St. Louis Jewish Light[2], page 14:
      [T]he two characters form a beautiful mentor-mentee relationship in which each derives tremendous strength from the other
    • 2023 January 11, Peter Bradshaw, “Tár review – Cate Blanchett is perfect lead in delirious, sensual drama”, in The Guardian[3], →ISSN:
      Her assistant, played by Noémie Merlant (another would-be conductor) appears to be someone else she is keeping on an emotional string, and she is being stalked by another former mentee who has become obsessed with her; []


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