mean

1
[ meen ]
/ min /

verb (used with object), meant, mean·ing.

verb (used without object), meant, mean·ing.

to be minded or disposed; have intentions: Beware, she means ill, despite her solicitous manner.

Idioms

    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
before 900; Middle English menen, Old English mǣnan; cognate with German meinen, Dutch meenen

Can be confused

mean mien

Synonym study

1. See intend.

Definition for mean (2 of 3)

mean

2
[ meen ]
/ min /

adjective, mean·er, mean·est.

Origin of mean

2
before 900; Middle English mene, aphetic variant (see y-) of imene, Old English gemǣne; cognate with Dutch gemeen, German gemein common, Gothic gamains in common; cf. common

Synonym study

2. Mean, low, base, sordid, and vile all refer to ignoble characteristics worthy of dislike, contempt, or disgust. Mean 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. See stingy1.

Definition for mean (3 of 3)

mean

3
[ meen ]
/ min /

noun

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
1300–50; Middle English mene < Middle French meen, variant of meien < Latin mediānus; see median

Can be confused

mean median
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mean

British Dictionary definitions for mean (1 of 3)

mean

1
/ (miːn) /

verb means, meaning or meant (mainly tr)

Word Origin for mean

Old English mænan; compare Old Saxon mēnian to intend, Dutch meenen

usage

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)

British Dictionary definitions for mean (2 of 3)

mean

2
/ (miːn) /

adjective

Derived Forms

meanly, adverbmeanness, 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

British Dictionary definitions for mean (3 of 3)

mean

3
/ (miːn) /

noun

the middle point, state, or course between limits or extremes
moderation
maths
  1. the second and third terms of a proportion, as b and c in a/b = c/d
  2. 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
See also means

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

Medicine definitions for mean

mean

[ mēn ]

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.

Science definitions for mean

mean

[ mēn ]

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.

Culture definitions for mean (1 of 2)

mean


An average in statistics. (See under “Physical Sciences and Mathematics.”)

Culture definitions for mean (2 of 2)

mean


In 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.

Idioms and Phrases with mean

mean


In addition to the idioms beginning with mean

  • mean business
  • mean to

, also see under

  • means
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.