AskDefine | Define dean

Dictionary Definition



1 an administrator in charge of a division of a university or college
2 United States film actor whose moody rebellious roles made him a cult figure (1931-1955) [syn: James Dean, James Byron Dean]
3 a man who is the senior member of a group; "he is the dean of foreign correspondents" [syn: doyen]
4 (Roman Catholic Church) the head of the College of Cardinals

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. 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)
  2. a dignitary or presiding officer in certain church bodies, especially an ecclesiastical dignitary, subordinate to a bishop, in charge of a chapter of canon
  3. the senior member of some group of people
    • dean of the diplomatic corps - a country's most senior ambassador
    • dean of the House - the longest-serving member of a legislature

Related terms

Derived terms


senior official in college or university
church dignitary
senior member of a group

Extensive Definition

Dean, from the Late Latin decanus (chief of ten) is a title given to the holder of senior positions in various fields. Although not overly common, Dean is also a first name and surname. The title may refer to:
The title is also given less formally to the longest-serving member of certain groups, as:


Dean may also be a placename, such as:


Given name


Dean is also used as a name for hurricanes and tropical storms, see:
dean in German: Dekan
dean in Spanish: Decano
dean in Esperanto: Dekano
dean in French: Doyen
dean in Italian: Decano
dean in Japanese: ディーン
dean in Portuguese: Decano
dean in Slovenian: Dekan
dean in Swedish: Dekan

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

A per se, Grand Penitentiary, Holy Father, abuna, academic dean, ace, administration, administrator, antipope, archbishop, archdeacon, archon, archpriest, bellwether, bishop, bishop coadjutor, boss, canon, cardinal, cardinal bishop, cardinal deacon, cardinal priest, champion, chancellor, chaplain, chief, chief executive, chief executive officer, coadjutor, commander, curate, dean of men, dean of women, diocesan, doyen, doyenne, ecclesiarch, elder, eldest, exarch, executive, executive director, executive officer, executive secretary, father, first-born, firstling, fugleman, genius, guide, head, headmaster, headmistress, hierarch, high priest, higher-up, important person, kingfish, kingpin, laureate, lead, leader, magistrate, management, managing director, master, metropolitan, nonpareil, officer, official, older, oldest, papa, paragon, patriarch, penitentiary, personage, pilot, pontiff, pope, prebendary, prefect, prelate, president, prexy, primate, principal, prodigy, provost, rector, ruler, rural dean, secretary, senior, sire, star, subdean, suffragan, superior, superman, superstar, the administration, the greatest, the most, top dog, treasurer, vicar, vice-chancellor, vice-president, virtuoso, warden
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