- A dignitary or presiding officer in certain ecclesiastical and lay bodies; esp., an ecclesiastical dignitary, subordinate to a bishop.
- The collegiate officer in the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, England, who, besides other duties, has regard to the moral condition of the college.
- The head or presiding officer in the faculty of some colleges or universities.
- A registrar or secretary of the faculty in a department of a college, as in a medical, or theological, or scientific department.(U.S)
- The chief or senior of a company on occasion of ceremony; as, the dean of the diplomatic corps; -- so called by courtesy.
Etymology: OE. dene deene, OF. deien dien, F. doyen, eldest of a corporation, a dean, L. decanus the chief of ten, one set over ten persons, e. g., over soldiers or over monks, from decem ten. See Ten, and cf. Decemvir