verb (used with object), meant, mean·ing.
verb (used without object), meant, mean·ing.
Origin of mean1
adjective, mean·er, mean·est.
Origin of mean2
- available resources, especially money: They lived beyond their means.
- considerable financial resources; riches: a man of means.
- 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.
- (in emphasis) certainly: Go, by all means.
- at any cost; without fail.
Origin of mean3
Related Words for meanselfish, greedy, hard, vile, dangerous, malicious, callous, vicious, evil, ugly, dirty, nasty, rough, miserable, vulgar, petty, humble, represent, suggest, spell
Examples from the Web for mean
Contemporary Examples of mean
I mean, physically, mentally, you know, in every way, shape, and form.I Tried to Warn You About Sleazy Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein in 2003
January 7, 2015
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
January 5, 2015
What is most troubling is our – and I do mean “our” and not “their” – never treating these situations as learning opportunities.In 2015, Let’s Try for More Compassion
January 4, 2015
They want Marvin to be as mean and as lonely and as trashy as the characters he portrays.
I mean, the reality of it was, I had to go out and get on a horse, and ride in, shoot the gun — how hard was that, right?
Historical Examples of mean
Do you mean that my father was mixed up like those old Indians?
My doctor says I must let it be for at least two months, and I mean to stick by him.
"I mean the philosopher, who teaches in the groves of Academus," continued he.Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
“I mean a man sad and grave as the monks of Beaulieu,” said the jester.The Armourer's Prentices
Charlotte M. Yonge
Do you mean that you have earned ninety cents to-day, Robert?Brave and Bold
verb means, meaning or meant (mainly tr)
Word Origin for mean
- of high qualityno mean performer
- difficultno mean feat
Word Origin for mean
Word Origin for mean
"intend, have in mind," Old English mænan "to mean, intend, signify; tell, say; complain, lament," from West Germanic *mainijan (cf. Old Frisian mena "to signify," Old Saxon menian "to intend, signify, make known," Dutch menen, German meinen "think, suppose, be of the opinion"), from PIE *meino- "opinion, intent" (cf. Old Church Slavonic meniti "to think, have an opinion," Old Irish mian "wish, desire," Welsh mwyn "enjoyment"), perhaps from root *men- "think" (see mind (n.)). Conversational question you know what I mean? attested by 1834.
"low-quality," c.1200, "shared by all," from imene, from Old English gemæne "common, public, general, universal, shared by all," from Proto-Germanic *ga-mainiz "possessed jointly" (cf. Old Frisian mene, Old Saxon gimeni, Middle Low German gemeine, Middle Dutch gemene, Dutch gemeen, German gemein, Gothic gamains "common"), from PIE *ko-moin-i- "held in common," a compound adjective formed from collective prefix *ko- "together" (Proto-Germanic *ga-) + *moi-n-, suffixed form of PIE root *mei- "to change, exchange" (see mutable). Cf. second element in common (adj.), a word with a sense evolution parallel to that of this word.
Of things, "inferior, second-rate," from late 14c. (a secondary sense in Old English was "false, wicked"). Notion of "so-so, mediocre" led to confusion with mean (n.). Meaning "inferior in rank or status" (of persons) emerged early 14c.; that of "ordinary" from late 14c.; that of "stingy, nasty" first recorded 1660s; weaker sense of "disobliging, pettily offensive" is from 1839, originally American English slang. Inverted sense of "remarkably good" (i.e. plays a mean saxophone) first recorded c.1900, perhaps from phrase no mean _______ "not inferior" (1590s, also, "not average," reflecting further confusion with mean (n.)).
"that which is halfway between extremes," early 14c., from Old French meien "middle, means, intermediary," noun use of adjective from Latin medianus "of or that is in the middle" (see mean (adj.2)). Oldest sense is musical; mathematical sense is from c.1500. Some senes reflect confusion with mean (adj.1). This is the mean in by no means (late 15c.).
"calculate an arithemtical mean," 1882, from mean (n.).
"occupying a middle or intermediate place," mid-14c., from Anglo-French meines (plural), Old French meien, variant of moiien "mid-, medium, common, middle-class" (12c., Modern French moyen), from Late Latin medianus "of the middle," from Latin medius "in the middle" (see medial (adj.)). Meaning "intermediate in time" is from mid-15c. Mathematical sense is from late 14c.
In addition to the idioms beginning with mean
- mean business
- mean to
, also see under