[doi-en, doi-uh n; French dwa-yan]

noun, plural doy·ens [doi-enz, doi-enz; French dwa-yan] /dɔɪˈɛnz, ˈdɔɪ ɛnz; French dwaˈyɛ̃/.

the senior member, as in age, rank, or experience, of a group, class, profession, etc.

Origin of doyen

1665–75; < French; Old French deien < Latin decānus dean1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for doyen

Historical Examples of doyen

  • It was a noble vintage, and the doyen grew eloquent over it.

    Despair's Last Journey

    David Christie Murray

  • In those days the doyen of the fleet was Captain Samuel Blandford.

    A Labrador Doctor

    Wilfred Thomason Grenfell

  • He was, at the time of his death at the age of eighty years, the doyen of the trade.

    Printers' Marks

    William Roberts

  • Doyen had scruples; but recommended Fragonard for the naughty business.


    Haldane Macfall

  • The details of this doyen club will be found in its proper place, p. 99 et seq.

British Dictionary definitions for doyen



the senior member of a group, profession, or society
Derived Formsdoyenne (dɔɪˈɛn, French dwajɛn), fem n

Word Origin for doyen

C17: from French, from Late Latin decānus leader of a group of ten; see dean
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

Word Origin and History for doyen

early 15c., from Middle French doyen "commander of ten," from Old French deien (see dean).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper