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)
- A person who is being mentored
- 1958, Laurence E. Leamer, “Economic Education in Colleges”, in Educating Youth for Economic Competence (American Business Education Yearbook), 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, page 14:
- [T]he two characters form a beautiful mentor-mentee relationship in which each derives tremendous strength from the other