to have in mind as one's purpose or intention: I meant to compliment you on your work.
to intend for a particular purpose, destination, etc.: They were meant for each other.
to intend to express or indicate: What do you mean by “liberal”?
to have as its sense or signification; signify: The word “freedom” means many things to many people.
to bring, cause, or produce as a result: This bonus means that we can take a trip to Florida.
to have (certain intentions) toward a person: He didn't mean you any harm.
to have the value of; assume the importance of: Money means everything to them. She means the world to him.
to be minded or disposed; have intentions: Beware, she means ill, despite her solicitous manner.
Idioms about mean
mean well, to have good intentions; try to be kind or helpful: Her constant queries about your health must be tiresome, but I'm sure she means well.
- mean , mien
Other definitions for mean (2 of 3)
small-minded or ignoble: mean motives.
penurious, stingy, or miserly: a person who is mean about money.
inferior in grade, quality, or character: no mean reward.
low in status, rank, or dignity: mean servitors.
of little importance or consequence: mean little details.
unimposing or shabby: a mean abode.
small, humiliated, or ashamed: You should feel mean for being so stingy.
Informal. in poor physical condition.
troublesome or vicious; bad-tempered: a mean old horse.
Slang. skillful or impressive: He blows a mean trumpet.
Other definitions for mean (3 of 3)
Usually means .(used with a singular or plural verb) an agency, instrument, or method used to attain an end: The telephone is a means of communication. There are several means of solving the problem.
available resources, especially money: They lived beyond their means.
considerable financial resources; riches: a man of means.
something that is midway between two extremes; something intermediate: to seek a mean between cynicism and blind faith.
a quantity having a value intermediate between the values of other quantities; an average, especially the arithmetic mean.
either the second or third term in a proportion of four terms.
Statistics. expected value. See mathematical expectation (def. 2).
Logic. the middle term in a syllogism.
occupying a middle position or an intermediate place, as in kind, quality, degree, or time: a mean speed; a mean course; the mean annual rainfall.
- mean , median
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use mean in a sentence
The term “off-roading” means different things to different people.
The most recent data, through Tuesday, indicates that about 53 percent of deaths have occurred in blue states — meaning that 47 percent have occurred in red ones.Trump blames blue states for the coronavirus death toll — but most recent deaths have been in red states | Philip Bump | September 16, 2020 | Washington Post
Some states are also mandated to remove voters deemed “inactive,” meaning they didn’t respond to a mailer sent to confirm their address and haven’t voted in the last few elections.ProPublica’s Pandemic Guide to Making Sure Your Vote Counts | by Susie Armitage | September 16, 2020 | ProPublica
I mean, I thought I’d take it right off the table right this very minute.Trump, in town hall, says he wouldn’t have done anything differently on pandemic | Colby Itkowitz, Josh Dawsey, Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner | September 16, 2020 | Washington Post
One doctor said some patients attacked their peers or employees as a way to get out of the hospital, even if it meant going to jail.Still No Answers to Lawmakers’ Questions About Children Stuck in Psychiatric Hospitals | by Duaa Eldeib | September 15, 2020 | ProPublica
I mean, physically, mentally, you know, in every way, shape, and form.I Tried to Warn You About Sleazy Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein in 2003 | Vicky Ward | January 7, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
What they actually mean by that is, you know, he actually knows some people that are poor.
What does Bondi mean that clerks now should “determine how to proceed”?The Back Alley, Low Blow-Ridden Fight to Stop Gay Marriage in Florida Is Finally Over | Jay Michaelson | January 5, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
What is most troubling is our – and I do mean “our” and not “their” – never treating these situations as learning opportunities.
They want Marvin to be as mean and as lonely and as trashy as the characters he portrays.The Story Behind Lee Marvin’s Liberty Valance Smile | Robert Ward | January 3, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
Hilda, trembling at the door, more than half expected Mr. Orgreave to say: "You mean, she's invited herself."Hilda Lessways | Arnold Bennett
He wanted to tell her that if she called her father, it would mean the end of everything for them, but he withheld this.The Homesteader | Oscar Micheaux
It was difficult, with the mean appliances of the time, to wring subsistence from the reluctant earth.The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice | Stephen Leacock
With Bacon, experientia does not always mean observation; and may mean either experience or experiment.The Mediaeval Mind (Volume II of II) | Henry Osborn Taylor
My husband detests them; on the contrary, I like those carriages, for they tell me of happy—I mean to say, of former times.
British Dictionary definitions for mean (1 of 3)
(may take a clause as object or an infinitive) to intend to convey or express
(may take a clause as object or an infinitive) intend: she didn't mean to hurt it
(may take a clause as object) to say or do in all seriousness: the boss means what he says about strikes
(often passive often foll by for) to destine or design (for a certain person or purpose): she was meant for greater things
(may take a clause as object) to denote or connote; signify; represent: examples help show exactly what a word means
(may take a clause as object) to produce; cause: the weather will mean long traffic delays
(may take a clause as object) to foretell; portend: those dark clouds mean rain
to have the importance of: money means nothing to him
(intr) to have the intention of behaving or acting (esp in the phrases mean well or mean ill)
mean business to be in earnest
British Dictionary definitions for mean (2 of 3)
mainly British miserly, ungenerous, or petty
humble, obscure, or lowly: he rose from mean origins to high office
despicable, ignoble, or callous: a mean action
poor or shabby: mean clothing; a mean abode
informal, mainly US and Canadian bad-tempered; vicious
informal ashamed: he felt mean about not letting the children go to the zoo
informal, mainly US unwell; in low spirits
slang excellent; skilful: he plays a mean trombone
of high quality: no mean performer
difficult: no mean feat
- meanly, adverb
- meanness, noun
British Dictionary definitions for mean (3 of 3)
the middle point, state, or course between limits or extremes
intermediate or medium in size, quantity, etc
occurring halfway between extremes or limits; average
- See also means
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Scientific definitions for mean
A number or quantity having a value that is intermediate between other numbers or quantities, especially an arithmetic mean or average. See more at arithmetic mean.
Either the second or third term of a proportion of four terms. In the proportion 23 = 46, the means are 3 and 4. Compare extreme.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Cultural definitions for mean (1 of 2)
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Other Idioms and Phrases with mean
In addition to the idioms beginning with mean
- mean business
- mean to
, also see under
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.