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Back-formation from mentor. Although mentor comes from Ancient Greek Μέντωρ (Méntōr), the name of a mythological figure, it was reanalyzed as terminating in the Latinate suffix -tor (doer), leading to a form using the corresponding suffix -ee (one who has an action done upon them). Attested at least to 1958.


mentee (plural mentees)

  1. a person who is being mentored
    The mentee occasionally teaches the class, regularly confers with students, conducts optional special study sessions, and relieves the professor of most clerical classroom functions. — Educating Youth for Economic Competence, volume 15, 1958