from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An administrative officer in charge of a college, faculty, or division in a university.
  • noun An officer of a college or high school who counsels students and supervises the enforcement of rules.
  • noun Ecclesiastical The head of the chapter of canons governing a cathedral or collegiate church.
  • noun Roman Catholic Church A priest appointed to oversee a group of parishes within a diocese.
  • noun The senior member of a body or group.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A small valley.
  • noun An ecclesiastical title in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, which has had several applications.
  • noun In universities, originally, the head of a faculty (and most historical writers consider a dean as essential to the existence of a faculty).
  • noun The oldest member in length of service of a constituted body, or a body of persons of equal rank, of whom he is the prescriptive leader in all joint action: as, the dean of the diplomatic corps; the dean of the French Academy; the dean of the Sacred College (the oldest of the cardinals, who possesses high authority by right of his seniority).
  • noun The president for the time being of an incorporation of barristers or law practitioners.
  • noun In Scotland, the elected head of the merchant company or gildry of a royal burgh, who is a magistrate of the burgh for the supervision of all matters relating to the erection and character of buildings. The office in the full sense now exists only in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Perth, its duties in other burghs being performed by an officer bearing the same title, elected by the town council.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A dignitary or presiding officer in certain ecclesiastical and lay bodies; esp., an ecclesiastical dignitary, subordinate to a bishop.
  • noun the chief officer of a chapter; he is an ecclesiastical magistrate next in degree to bishop, and has immediate charge of the cathedral and its estates.
  • noun [Eng.] a dean holding a preferment which has some peculiarity relative to spiritual superiors and the jurisdiction exercised in it.
  • noun one having, under the bishop, the especial care and inspection of the clergy within certain parishes or districts of the diocese.
  • noun The collegiate officer in the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, England, who, besides other duties, has regard to the moral condition of the college.
  • noun The head or presiding officer in the faculty of some colleges or universities.
  • noun U.S. A registrar or secretary of the faculty in a department of a college, as in a medical, or theological, or scientific department.
  • noun The chief or senior of a company on occasion of ceremony; ; -- so called by courtesy.
  • noun the senior cardinal bishop of the college of cardinals at Rome.
  • noun the legal corporation and governing body of a cathedral. It consists of the dean, who is chief, and his canons or prebendaries.
  • noun the lay judge of the court of arches.
  • noun the president of an incorporation or barristers; specifically, the president of the incorporation of advocates in Edinburgh.
  • noun a magistrate of Scotch burghs, formerly, and still, in some burghs, chosen by the Guildry, whose duty is to superintend the erection of new buildings and see that they conform to the law.
  • noun a monastic superior over ten monks.
  • noun See Decanal stall, under Decanal.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun 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).
  • noun A dignitary or presiding officer in certain church bodies, especially an ecclesiastical dignitary, subordinate to a bishop, in charge of a chapter of canon.
  • noun The senior member of some group of people.
  • noun Sussex a hill (chiefly place names).

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

  • noun United States film actor whose moody rebellious roles made him a cult figure (1931-1955)
  • noun an administrator in charge of a division of a university or college
  • noun a man who is the senior member of a group
  • noun (Roman Catholic Church) the head of the College of Cardinals


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

[Middle English deen, from Old French deien, from Late Latin decānus, chief of ten, from decem, ten, or from Greek dekānos, chief of ten (from deka, ten); see dekm̥ in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Anglo-Norman deen < Old French deien < Latin decānus.


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