mean 1 [ meen ] SHOW IPA / min / PHONETIC RESPELLING verb (used with object), meant, mean·ing. 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. SEE MORE SEE LESS verb (used without object), meant, mean·ing. to be minded or disposed; have intentions: Beware, she means ill, despite her solicitous manner. QUIZZES QUIZ YOURSELF ON AFFECT VS. EFFECT!
In effect, this quiz will prove whether or not you have the skills to know the difference between “affect” and “effect.”
Question 1 of 7
The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.
Idioms for 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. Origin of mean 1
First recorded before 900; Middle English
menen, Old English mǣnan; cognate with German meinen, Dutch meenen WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH mean mean , mien Words nearby mean mealtime
mean cell hemoglobin
mean cell hemoglobin concentration mean 2 [ meen ] SHOW IPA / min / PHONETIC RESPELLING adjective, mean·er, mean·est. offensive, selfish, or unaccommodating; nasty; malicious: a mean remark; He gets mean when he doesn't get his way. 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. SEE MORE SEE LESS Origin of mean 2
First recorded before 900; Middle English
“held or shared in common,” Old English
“common, general, mutual”; cognate with Dutch
“in common”; see origin at
common synonym study for mean 2
Mean, low, base, sordid,
all refer to ignoble characteristics worthy of dislike, contempt, or disgust.
suggests pettiness and small-mindedness:
to take a mean advantage. Low
suggests coarseness and vulgarity:
low company. Base
suggests selfish cowardice or moral depravity:
base motives. Sordid
suggests a wretched uncleanness, or sometimes an avariciousness without dignity or moral scruples:
a sordid slum; sordid gain. Vile
suggests disgusting foulness or repulsiveness:
vile insinuation; a vile creature. 3
mean 3 [ meen ] SHOW IPA / min / PHONETIC RESPELLING noun 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. means, 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. Mathematics. 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. Logic. the middle term in a syllogism. SEE MORE SEE LESS adjective 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. Origin of mean 3
First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English
from Middle French
“middle, in the middle”; see
median WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH mean mean , median
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021
Example sentences from the Web for mean
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.
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.
mean, I thought I’d take it right off the table right this very minute.
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.
mean, physically, mentally, you know, in every way, shape, and form.
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”?
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.
Hilda, trembling at the door, more than half expected Mr. Orgreave to say: "You
mean, she's invited herself."
He wanted to tell her that if she called her father, it would
mean the end of everything for them, but he withheld this.
It was difficult, with the
mean appliances of the time, to wring subsistence from the reluctant earth.
With Bacon, experientia does not always
mean observation; and may mean either experience or experiment.
My husband detests them; on the contrary, I like those carriages, for they tell me of happy—I
mean to say, of former times. verb means, meaning or meant (mainly tr) (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 SEE MORE SEE LESS Word Origin for mean
mænan; compare Old Saxon mēnian to intend, Dutch meenen usage for mean
In standard English,
mean should not be followed by for when expressing intention: I didn't mean this to happen (not I didn't mean for this to happen) adjective 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 no mean of high quality no mean performer difficult no mean feat SEE MORE SEE LESS Derived forms of mean meanly, adverb meanness, noun Word Origin for mean
C12: from Old English
gemǣne common; related to Old High German gimeini, Latin communis common, at first with no pejorative sense noun the middle point, state, or course between limits or extremes moderation maths the second and third terms of a proportion, as b and c in a/b = c/d another name for average (def. 2) See also geometric mean statistics a statistic obtained by multiplying each possible value of a variable by its probability and then taking the sum or integral over the range of the variable adjective intermediate or medium in size, quantity, etc occurring halfway between extremes or limits; average Word Origin for mean
C14: via Anglo-Norman from Old French
moien, from Late Latin mediānus median
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
n. Something having a position, quality, or condition midway between extremes; a medium. A number that typifies a set of numbers, such as a geometric mean or an arithmetic mean. The average value of a set of numbers. adj. Occupying a middle or intermediate position between two extremes. Intermediate in size, extent, quality, time, or degree; medium.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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 = 2 3 , the means are 3 and 4. 4 6 Compare extreme.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
average in statistics. ( See under “Physical Sciences and Mathematics.”)
statistics, an average of a group of numbers or data points. With a group of numbers, the mean is obtained by adding them and dividing by the number of numbers in the group. Thus the mean of five, seven, and twelve is eight (twenty-four divided by three). ( Compare median and mode.)
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.
In addition to the idioms beginning with
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.