View synonyms for man



[ man ]


, plural men [men].
  1. an adult male person. Compare woman ( def 1 ), boy ( def 1 ).
  2. a member of the species Homo sapiens or all the members of this species collectively, without regard to gender:

    The gravesite gives us valuable information about the burial practices of prehistoric man.

  3. the human individual as representing the species, without reference to gender; the human race; humankind:

    Man hopes for peace, but prepares for war.

  4. a human being; person:

    to give a man a chance;

    When the audience smelled the smoke, it was every man for himself.

  5. I now pronounce you man and wife.

  6. a male lover or sweetheart.
  7. a male follower or subordinate:

    the king's men;

    He's the boss's number one man.

  8. a male employee or representative, especially of a company or agency:

    a Secret Service man;

    a man from the utility company.

  9. a male having qualities considered typical of men or appropriately masculine:

    Be a man.

    The army will make a man of you.

  10. a male servant.
  11. a valet:

    He asked his man to prepare a valise for the weekend.

  12. an enthusiast or devotee:

    I like jazz, but I'm essentially a classics man.

  13. Slang. a male friend or ally:

    You're my main man.

  14. a term of familiar address to a man; fellow:

    Now, now, my good man, please calm down.

  15. Slang. a term of familiar address to a man or a woman:

    Hey, man, how's it going?

  16. one of the figures, disks, etc., used in playing certain games, as chess or checkers:

    You can move your men each turn diagonally forward, to the left or to the right.

  17. none the man or the Man, Slang.
    1. a person or group asserting authority or power over another, especially in a manner experienced as being oppressive, demeaning, or threatening, as the government, an employer, or the police.
    2. a privileged racial group, especially when exerting a dominating social, cultural, or economic influence.
    3. Sometimes da man. a person of impressive accomplishment; one who excels.
    4. a drug dealer.
  18. Obsolete. manly character or courage.
  19. History/Historical. a liegeman; vassal.

verb (used with object)

, manned, man·ning.
  1. to furnish with people, as for service or defense:

    No matter how complicated war might be, it always comes down to the ones who fly the planes, man the ships, and carry the rifles.

  2. to take one's place at, as for service: to man the phones.

    to man the ramparts;

    to man the phones.

  3. to strengthen, fortify, or brace; steel:

    They took a moment to man themselves for the dangers ahead.

  4. Falconry. to accustom (a hawk) to the presence of people.


  1. Slang. an expression of surprise, enthusiasm, dismay, or other strong feeling:

    Man, what a ball game!

verb phrase

  1. Informal. to act in a typically masculine way, as in taking responsibility or making tough decisions:

    He should man up and meet the challenge.



[ man ]


  1. Isle of, an island of the British Isles, in the Irish Sea. 227 sq. mi. (588 sq. km). : Douglas.


  1. a combining form of man:

    layman; postman.



abbreviation for

  1. manual.



abbreviation for

  1. Manila.
  2. Manitoba.



/ mæn /


  1. slang:Black.
    a White man or White men collectively, esp when in authority, in the police, or held in contempt
  2. slang.
    a drug peddler



combining form

  1. indicating a person who has a role, works in a place, or operates equipment as specified






/ mæn /


  1. Isle of Man
    an island in the British Isles, in the Irish Sea between Cumbria and Northern Ireland: a UK Crown Dependency (but not part of the United Kingdom), with its own ancient parliament, the Court of Tynwald; a dependency of Norway until 1266, when for a time it came under Scottish rule; its own language, Manx, became extinct in the 19th century but has been revived to some extent. Capital: Douglas. Pop: 86 159 (2013 est). Area: 588 sq km (227 sq miles)



/ mæn /


  1. an adult male human being, as distinguished from a woman
  2. modifier male; masculine

    a man child

  3. archaic.
    a human being regardless of sex or age, considered as a representative of mankind; a person
  4. sometimes capital human beings collectively; mankind

    the development of man

  5. Also calledmodern man
    1. a member of any of the living races of Homo sapiens, characterized by erect bipedal posture, a highly developed brain, and powers of articulate speech, abstract reasoning, and imagination
    2. any extinct member of the species Homo sapiens, such as Cro-Magnon man
  6. a member of any of the extinct species of the genus Homo, such as Java man, Heidelberg man, and Solo man
  7. an adult male human being with qualities associated with the male, such as courage or virility

    be a man

  8. manly qualities or virtues

    the man in him was outraged

    1. a subordinate, servant, or employee contrasted with an employer or manager
    2. ( in combination )

      the number of man-days required to complete a job

  9. usually plural a member of the armed forces who does not hold commissioned, warrant, or noncommissioned rank (as in the phrase officers and men )
  10. a member of a group, team, etc
  11. a husband, boyfriend, etc

    man and wife

  12. an expression used parenthetically to indicate an informal relationship between speaker and hearer
  13. a movable piece in various games, such as draughts
  14. slang.
    any person: used as a term of address
  15. a vassal of a feudal lord
  16. as one man
    with unanimous action or response
  17. be one's own man
    to be independent or free
  18. he's your man
    he's the person needed (for a particular task, role, job, etc)
  19. man and boy
    from childhood
  20. sort out the men from the boys or separate the men from the boys
    to separate the experienced from the inexperienced
  21. to a man
    1. unanimously
    2. without exception

      they were slaughtered to a man


  1. informal.
    an exclamation or expletive, often indicating surprise or pleasure


  1. to provide with sufficient people for operation, defence, etc

    to man the phones

  2. to take one's place at or near in readiness for action
  3. falconry to induce (a hawk or falcon) to endure the presence of and handling by man, esp strangers

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The use of words ending in -man is avoided as implying a male in job advertisements, where sexual discrimination is illegal, and in many other contexts where a term that is not gender-specific is available, such as salesperson, barperson, camera operator
The use of man to mean human beings in general is often considered sexist. Gender-neutral alternatives include human beings , people and humankind . The verb to man can also often be replaced by to staff , to operate and related words

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Gender Note

The use of man1 to mean “human being,” both alone and in compounds such as mankind, has met with objection in recent years, and the use is declining. The objection is based on the idea that man is most commonly used as an exclusive, gender-marked noun meaning “male human being.” Critics of the use of man as a generic maintain that it is sometimes ambiguous when the wider sense is intended ( Man has built magnificent civilizations in the desert ), but more often flatly discriminatory in that it slights or ignores the membership of women in the human race: The man in the street wants peace, not war. Although some editors and writers reject or disregard these objections to man as a generic, many now choose instead to use such terms as human being ( s ), human race, humankind, people, or, when called for by style or context, women and men or men and women. -man, -person, -woman.

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Derived Forms

  • ˈmanless, adjective

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Other Words From

  • man·less adjective
  • man·less·ly adverb
  • man·less·ness noun
  • man·ness noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of man1

First recorded before 900; Middle English “human being, person, mankind, adult male, husband,” Old English man(n) “human being, person, servant, vassal”; cognate with German Mann, Dutch man, Old Norse mathr, Gothic manna; akin to Sanskrit mánu- “human being, man,” Polish mąż “husband,” Russian muzh “man, husband”; muzhik ( def )

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Word History and Origins

Origin of man1

Old English mann; related to Old Frisian man, Old High German man, Dutch man, Icelandic mathr

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. as one man, in complete agreement or accord; unanimously:

    They arose as one man to protest the verdict.

  2. be one's own man,
    1. to be free from restrictions, control, or dictatorial influence; be independent:

      Now that he has a business he is his own man.

    2. to be in complete command of one's faculties:

      After a refreshing nap he was again his own man.

  3. man and boy, ever since childhood:

    He's been working that farm, man and boy, for more than 50 years.

  4. man's man, a man who exemplifies masculine qualities.
  5. to a man, with no exception; everyone; all:

    To a man, the members of the team did their best.

More idioms and phrases containing man

  • as one (man)
  • company man
  • dead soldier (man)
  • dirty joke (old man)
  • every man for himself
  • every man has his price
  • girl (man) Friday
  • hatchet man
  • hired hand (man)
  • ladies' man
  • low man on the totem pole
  • marked man
  • new person (man)
  • no man is an island
  • odd man out
  • (man) of few words
  • one man's meat is another man's poison
  • own man
  • right-hand man
  • see a man about a dog
  • to a man
  • men

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Synonym Study

Man, male, gentleman are nouns referring to an adult male human being, one paradigm of gender and biological sex. Man is the most general and most commonly used of the three; it can be neutral, lacking either favorable or unfavorable implication: a wealthy man; a man of strong character, of unbridled appetites. It can also signify possession of the most typical or traditional masculine qualities: to take one's punishment like a man. Male emphasizes the physical or sexual characteristics of a man; it may also refer to an animal or plant: a male in his prime; two males and three females in the pack; a male of the genus Ilex. In scientific and statistical use, male is the neutral contrastive term to female : 104 females to every 100 males; Among birds, the male is often more colorful than the female. Gentleman, once used only of men of high social rank, now also specifies a man of courtesy and consideration: a real gentleman; to behave like a gentleman. Gentleman is also used as a polite term of reference ( This gentleman is waiting for a table ) or, only in the plural, of address ( Are we ready to begin, gentlemen? ). manly, male.

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Example Sentences

In the first episode, an officer is shown video of himself shooting and killing a man.

That man was Xavier Cortada, a gay man who wrote of his frustration that he and his partner of eight years were unable to marry.

It is the summit of human happiness: the surrender of man to God, of woman to man, of several women to the same man.

But no more so than the Sodexo building maintenance man or the two cops who were also killed in the crossfire.

He looks like a man who should have had kids, but now never will.

Davy looked around and saw an old man coming toward them across the lawn.

The supernaturalist alleges that religion was revealed to man by God, and that the form of this revelation is a sacred book.

The most High hath created medicines out of the earth, and a wise man will not abhor them.

He remembered something—the cherished pose of being a man plunged fathoms-deep in business.

On the thirteenth of the same month they bound to the stake, in order to burn alive, a man who had two religious in his house.


Related Words

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What Is The Plural Of Man?

Plural word for man

The plural form of the noun man is men

This is one of the few remaining irregular plurals that derive directly from their original pluralization in Old English. A similar change is made when pluralizing woman as women, child as children, and ox as oxen.  

While it ends in -man, the plural form of human is not humen but rather humans.

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.