If FOO is mentor to BAR, what term describes BAR's end of that relationship — specifically as “a person to whom FOO is mentor”?


  • FOO is employer to BAR,
  • ⇒ BAR is employee to FOO.

What is the equivalent term for the recipient of a mentor relationship?

Terms already considered


Some people, recognising a need for a term, use “mentee”. I'm pretty sure that is incorrect – there is no “ment” verb, so a mentor is not “one who ments another” and a “mentee” is not “one who is mented by another”.

So if that's your answer I'd like some strong support for its normal use more than any other.

“student”, “pupil”

A mentor is not the same role as a teacher. To describe BAR as a pupil of FOO would incorrectly imply that FOO is a teacher. So this term doesn't meet the required meaning.

Already answered


As later discovered, the question is already answered on this site. The correct term is “protégé”.

  • Student or pupil should do it. Look up their synonyms.
    – vickyace
    Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 3:48
  • 1
    An older and almost identical question: Use of the word “mentee”
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 8:14
  • Your question and the answer posted underneath will still be useful to future visitors. And users may come across your question instead of the older one. In addition, please do not unaccept Josh's answer, the post is a good one, and it is not identical to the answers which also offered mentee, I'd say it is a perfect supplement.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 16:21
  • Mentee is just fine and I do think you can safely use it. The problem is that this question is a duplicate so you have to go with the older suggestions.
    – user66974
    Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 6:17
  • 1
    @Mari-LouA - OP is looking for protege, not mentee.
    – user66974
    Commented Apr 5, 2017 at 21:50

1 Answer 1


I think you really should consider "mentee":

Mentee is actually e term whose usage has been consistently increasing in the last decades. The term mentee is present in all main dictionaries:


  • A person who is advised, trained, or counselled by a mentor.



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.

  • The mentee occasionally teaches the class, regularly confers with students, conducts optional special study sessions, and relieves the professor of most clerical classroom functions. — From Educating Youth for Economic Competence, volume 15, 1958.


There are numerous usage examples available:

  • ‘The mentee should have goals in mind for the relationship.’
  • ‘The mentor must be an advocate for the mentee.’
  • ‘Explain to the mentee the role of the staff nurse.’
  • ‘This arrangement ensures that, in the event of an absent partner,
  • 'Neither mentor nor mentee is alone during activities.’


Ten Tips for a Successful Mentor/Mentee Relationship

  • Successful mentor/mentee relationships should be fulfilling and beneficial for all involved. Use these ten tips for a more effective and productive relationship.


Synonyms are protégé and pupil. Mentoree can be found but its usage is uncommon.

  • This is the substantive support I was asking for.
    – bignose
    Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 8:03
  • 1
    @bignose Dictionary attestation isn't necessarily everything. Recognizably is also important for word status. I think Josh's ngram should compare and contrast an alternative at least, and maybe even note that protege is twice as popular as mentee according to Merriam-Webster's website, (top 20% of words vs top 40%). If there's a reason to prefer mentee over protege in some contexts and visa-versa, that'd also be good information to know.
    – Tonepoet
    Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 8:32
  • @Tonepoet - that doesn't mean mentee is not a valid alternative to protege. Btw protege is more generic than mentee. From which probably its {mentee) recent increase in usage.
    – user66974
    Commented Apr 2, 2017 at 8:36
  • @Josh: you're right, thank you. If the correct answer “protégé'” is posted here I will accept that as correct.
    – bignose
    Commented Apr 3, 2017 at 0:27

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