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.
Origin of mean3
Examples from the Web for meaner
Contemporary Examples of meaner
Capaldi, 56, is not just older than the recent Doctors, he is meaner.Doctor Who’s ‘Deep Breath’: The 2,000-Year-Old Time Lord Grows Up
August 8, 2014
This is How the NRA Ends Alec McGillis, The New Republic A bigger, meaner gun control movement has arrived.The Week’s Best Longreads for June 1, 2013
June 1, 2013
He did it very slowly, he said, “This … book … is … about … the … only … woman … meaner than you.”Ron Rash: How I Write
February 27, 2013
Most women, having come of age in the company of girls, know there are few things pettier—and meaner—than this sort of comparison.Michelle Obama and Ann Romney: First Ladies of Style
October 24, 2012
Peter Beinart says the House will be a duller, meaner place when he leaves.Charlie Rangel Found Guilty
November 16, 2010
Historical Examples of meaner
The one next to it is a sword of the same period, only used by a meaner person.Viviette
William J. Locke
I surrounded myself with the smaller natures and the meaner minds.De Profundis
A meaner temple was never consecrated to the worship of the Deity.Main Street
"Maybe I've been mean—but you're been meaner," she summed up, in self-justification.Good Indian
B. M. Bower
I thought my dad was meaner than a spiled herrin' to keep on sayin' no when I said yes.Thankful's Inheritance
Joseph C. Lincoln
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