[ deen ]
/ din /
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  1. the head of a faculty, school, or administrative division in a university or college: the dean of admissions.
  2. an official in an American college or secondary school having charge of student personnel services, such as counseling or discipline: the dean of men.
  3. the official in charge of undergraduate students at an English university.
  1. the head of the chapter of a cathedral or a collegiate church.
  2. Also called vicar forane. a priest in the Roman Catholic Church appointed by a bishop to take care of the affairs of a division of a diocese.
the senior member, in length of service, of any group, organization, profession, etc.: the dean of lexicographers.



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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Origin of dean

1300–50; Middle English deen<Anglo-French deen, dean,Old French deien<Late Latin decānus chief of ten, equivalent to Latin dec(em) ten + -ānus-an


deanship, noun

Definition for dean (2 of 2)

[ deen ]
/ din /


James (Byron), 1931–55, U.S. actor.
Jay Hanna "Dizzy", 1911–74, U.S. baseball pitcher.
a male given name: from the Old English family name meaning “valley.”
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for dean

British Dictionary definitions for dean (1 of 3)

/ (diːn) /


the chief administrative official of a college or university faculty
(at Oxford and Cambridge universities) a college fellow with responsibility for undergraduate discipline
mainly Church of England the head of a chapter of canons and administrator of a cathedral or collegiate church
RC Church the cardinal bishop senior by consecration and head of the college of cardinalsSee also rural dean Related adjective: decanal

Derived forms of dean

deanship, noun

Word Origin for dean

C14: from Old French deien, from Late Latin decānus one set over ten persons, from Latin decem ten

British Dictionary definitions for dean (2 of 3)

/ (diːn) /


Forest of Dean a forest in W England, in Gloucestershire, between the Rivers Severn and Wye: formerly a royal hunting ground

British Dictionary definitions for dean (3 of 3)

/ (diːn) /


Christopher. See Torvill and Dean
James (Byron). 1931–55, US film actor, who became a cult figure; his films include East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause (both 1955). He died in a car crash
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012