Definitions

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

  • n. A man who is the eldest or senior member of a group.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A commander in charge of ten men.
  • n. The senior, or eldest male member of a group.
  • n. A leading light, or exemplar of a particular practice or movement.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Lit., a dean; the senior member of a body or group.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A dean.

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

  • n. a man who is the senior member of a group

Etymologies

Probably French, from Old French doien, from Late Latin decānus, chief of ten; see dean.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French doyen, from Latin decānus from Greek δεκανός. Compare dean. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The rules say the oldest MEP - or "doyen" - chairs the session until a new parliament president is elected.

    BBC (UK) Homepage main promotional content

  • Medical readers will know that the Lancet - the other "doyen" of medical journalism in the UK, is no less rabid in its abuse of Israel.

    On Thursday, the Legg report will be published along with...

  • I also enjoyed your piece at 'Dark Trees about the "doyen".

    How to Photoshop Pop Art Inspired by Lichtenstein

  • I believe the term for these cunning folks is "doyen," and they're just about everywhere I go in the Guggenheim, doing, well, what one expects: explaining what the art means.

    Art and Architecture

  • In the one, dated 1423, he is styled 'doyen' (senior inhabitant) of the village, which gave him rank next to the Mayor.

    Joan of Arc

  • He said Mr Spence was seen as a "doyen" and that his words would carry "weight and impact".

    BBC News - Home

  • They paid tribute to the zoo's "doyen", whose distinctive personality and "demonstrative lovemaking" had made him a favourite with the French public.

    European Tribune

  • You think you hold the title of "doyen" that "scoops are not given exclusively to you.

    Grocery workers ready to 'produce' for Obama

  • Oddly enough, "doyen" (as in, 'The doyen' of the Washington press corps. ") is pure Biblical

    Israel At Level Ground

  • Boing Boing reader Genise Schnitman says, "Parke Meek, the self-taught steampunk technical wizard who worked in the Eames office and was the curmudgeonly doyen of Jadis, the retrofuturist wunderkammer on Main Street in Santa Monica, passed away at 86."

    Boing Boing

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Comments

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  • "(the semi-paralysed doyen of the party who had to be assisted to his seat by the aid of a powerful steam crane)"
    Joyce, Ulysses, 12

    January 13, 2007

  • also see doyenne

    January 4, 2007