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The word docent is used in American English and British English, with very different definitions. We will examine the meaning of the word docent in American English and in British English, where the term came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

In British English, the term docent is a title that denotes an academic appointment that ranks below a professor. It is a title that is used in many European institutions of higher learning.

In American English, the term docent is a title given to volunteers who act as tour guides and sources of information in museums, zoos or historical sites. Docents are usually put through a fairly rigorous course of training, and are often very knowledgeable amateur scholars or retired professors or other professionals. The word docent is derived from the Latin word docere, which means to teach. The plural form is docents.


Olov Rolandsson at Umea University in Sweden led the Skelleftea study, while the technical development and microscopy survey was conducted by Docent Neil Lagali at Linkoping University, Sweden. (Science Daily)

Quarryhill Botanical Garden in Glen Ellen is looking for adult volunteers to train as docents. (The Press Democrat)

Upon the successful completion of the course, new docents will work to greet visitors from around the world and interpret the cultural and natural history of the park, including the first-order Fresnel lens on display in the interpretive center. (The Half Moon Bay Review)

Pauline has served as a docent at the Harriet Tubman Home in Auburn and has traveled throughout the United States, giving presentations on the life of Harriet Tubman. (The Auburn Citizen)

Join a docent on a guided mineral springs tour to learn about the history, geology and lore surrounding park mineral waters. (The Saratogian)