- what is intended to be, or actually is, expressed or indicated; signification; import: the three meanings of a word.
- the end, purpose, or significance of something: What is the meaning of life? What is the meaning of this intrusion?
- the nonlinguistic cultural correlate, reference, or denotation of a linguistic form; expression.
- linguistic content (opposed to expression).
- intentioned (usually used in combination): She's a well-meaning person.
- full of significance; expressive: a meaning look.
Origin of meaning
SynonymsSee more synonyms for meaning on Thesaurus.com
- to have in mind as one's purpose or intention; intend: 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.
- 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 mean1
Examples from the Web for meaning
His discourse is now more detailed: submission, which is the meaning of islam in Arabic, gives him a kind of enjoyment.Houellebecq’s Incendiary Novel Imagines France With a Muslim President
January 9, 2015
But Bush is as exciting to many conservatives as Hillary Clinton is to many progressives, meaning not so much.The Devil in Mike Huckabee
January 6, 2015
Over the years, the meaning has evolved, essentially, to “Christmastime,” and describes the period between Dec. 24 and Jan. 6.The Most Confusing Christmas Music Lyrics Explained (VIDEO)
December 24, 2014
The U.S. will reopen an embassy in Havana, meaning an ambassador will be appointed.Up To Speed: The Cuba Embargo
December 18, 2014
The meaning of this title may have been honorific, but it is also striking.First Anglican Woman Bishop A Return to Christian Roots
December 18, 2014
The people demanded of Antiphon the meaning of these visions.
The young man stared at his mother until he had mastered her meaning.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
When I asked the meaning of this, they showed me a triangle.
She was afraid that she now understood the meaning of the bill she had received.Grace Harlowe's Return to Overton Campus
Jessie Graham Flower
Voices sounded in the hall, but he gave no heed to the meaning of all this.Way of the Lawless
- the sense or significance of a word, sentence, symbol, etc; import; semantic or lexical content
- the purpose underlying or intended by speech, action, etc
- the inner, symbolic, or true interpretation, value, or messagethe meaning of a dream
- valid content; efficacya law with little or no meaning
- the sense of an expression; its connotation
- the reference of an expression; its denotation. In recent philosophical writings meaning can be used in both the above sensesSee also sense (def. 12)
- expressive of some sense, intention, criticism, etca meaning look
- (may take a clause as object or an infinitive) to intend to convey or express
- (may take a clause as object or an infinitive) intendshe didn't mean to hurt it
- (may take a clause as object) to say or do in all seriousnessthe 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; representexamples help show exactly what a word means
- (may take a clause as object) to produce; causethe weather will mean long traffic delays
- (may take a clause as object) to foretell; portendthose dark clouds mean rain
- to have the importance ofmoney 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
- mainly British miserly, ungenerous, or petty
- humble, obscure, or lowlyhe rose from mean origins to high office
- despicable, ignoble, or callousa mean action
- poor or shabbymean clothing; a mean abode
- informal, mainly US and Canadian bad-tempered; vicious
- informal ashamedhe felt mean about not letting the children go to the zoo
- informal, mainly US unwell; in low spirits
- slang excellent; skilfulhe plays a mean trombone
- no mean
- of high qualityno mean performer
- difficultno mean feat
- the middle point, state, or course between limits or extremes
- 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
- intermediate or medium in size, quantity, etc
- occurring halfway between extremes or limits; average
Word Origin and History for meaning
"sense, import, intent," c.1300, from mean (v.).
"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.
- 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.
- Occupying a middle or intermediate position between two extremes.
- Intermediate in size, extent, quality, time, or degree; medium.
Idioms and Phrases with meaning
In addition to the idioms beginning with mean
- mean business
- mean to
, also see under