Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An administrative officer in charge of a college, faculty, or division in a university.
  • n. An officer of a college or high school who counsels students and supervises the enforcement of rules.
  • n. Ecclesiastical The head of the chapter of canons governing a cathedral or collegiate church.
  • n. Roman Catholic Church A priest appointed to oversee a group of parishes within a diocese.
  • n. The senior member of a body or group: the dean of the Washington diplomatic corps.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A senior official in a college or university, who may be in charge of a division or faculty (for example, the dean of science) or have some other advisory or disciplinary function (for example, the dean of students).
  • n. A dignitary or presiding officer in certain church bodies, especially an ecclesiastical dignitary, subordinate to a bishop, in charge of a chapter of canon.
  • n. The senior member of some group of people.
  • n. a hill (chiefly place names).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A dignitary or presiding officer in certain ecclesiastical and lay bodies; esp., an ecclesiastical dignitary, subordinate to a bishop.
  • n. The collegiate officer in the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, England, who, besides other duties, has regard to the moral condition of the college.
  • n. The head or presiding officer in the faculty of some colleges or universities.
  • n. A registrar or secretary of the faculty in a department of a college, as in a medical, or theological, or scientific department.
  • n. The chief or senior of a company on occasion of ceremony; ; -- so called by courtesy.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A small valley.
  • n. An ecclesiastical title in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, which has had several applications.
  • n. In universities, originally, the head of a faculty (and most historical writers consider a dean as essential to the existence of a faculty).
  • n. The oldest member in length of service of a constituted body, or a body of persons of equal rank, of whom he is the prescriptive leader in all joint action: as, the dean of the diplomatic corps; the dean of the French Academy; the dean of the Sacred College (the oldest of the cardinals, who possesses high authority by right of his seniority).
  • n. The president for the time being of an incorporation of barristers or law practitioners.
  • n. In Scotland, the elected head of the merchant company or gildry of a royal burgh, who is a magistrate of the burgh for the supervision of all matters relating to the erection and character of buildings. The office in the full sense now exists only in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Perth, its duties in other burghs being performed by an officer bearing the same title, elected by the town council.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. United States film actor whose moody rebellious roles made him a cult figure (1931-1955)
  • n. an administrator in charge of a division of a university or college
  • n. a man who is the senior member of a group
  • n. (Roman Catholic Church) the head of the College of Cardinals

Etymologies

Middle English deen, from Old French deien, from Late Latin decānus, chief of ten, from decem, ten, or from Greek dekānos, chief of ten (from deka, ten).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Anglo-Norman deen < Old French deien < Latin decānus. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • CHARLES II. playing at tennis with a dean, who struck the ball well, the king said, "That's a good stroke for a _dean_."

    The Jest Book The Choicest Anecdotes and Sayings

  • C. Maoxian: @dean: Thanks for contributing the boilermaker numbers. dean: A construction boilermaker makes $100,000 a yr and a boilermaker general forman is making around $140K / yr ....

    Maoxian

  • For 11-year-old Malak Abu Stani (ph) -- Native Dean, dean is Arabic for religion and way of life -- put fun back into faith.

    CNN Transcript Oct 7, 2007

  • In 1973, after nearly 10 years in Afghanistan, Gouttierre was invited by the University of Nebraska to lead the newly launched Afghanistan program, with the title dean of international studies.

    Stars and Stripes

  • Nothing in the email in actually controversial, except to ignorant or hypocritical lawyers and other laypeople; the dean is a pretentious fool.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » Judging a Person Based on a Single Forwarded Personal E-Mail

  • Mr. Broder was often called the dean of the Washington press corps - a nickname he earned in his late 30s in part for the clarity of his political analysis and the influence he wielded as a perceptive thinker on political trends in his books, articles and television appearances.

    David Broder, 81, dies; set 'gold standard' for political journalism

  • Unfortunately, naming White as dean is not such a step.

    Discourse.net: Patricia D. White to Be Dean of University of Miami School of Law

  • While each arm-chair dean is entitled to his or her own opinion on the matter, I'd say sardonic observations and a surface knowledge of such matters does not an expert make.

    Discourse.net: Yes, We're Hiring

  • Mr. Broder was often called the dean of the Washington press corps -- a nickname he earned in his late 30s in part for the clarity of his political analysis and the influence he wielded as a perceptive thinker on political trends in his books, articles and television appearances.

    David Broder, Washington Post columnist, dies at 81

  • Mr. Broder was often called the dean of the Washington press corps — a nickname he earned in his late 30s in part for the clarity of his political analysis and the influence he wielded as a perceptive thinker on political trends in his books, articles and television appearances.

    Post political columnist David Broder dies

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