- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Statistics. expected value. See mathematical expectation(def 2).
- Logic. the middle term in a syllogism.
- 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.
- by all means,
- (in emphasis) certainly: Go, by all means.
- at any cost; without fail.
- by any means, in any way; at all: We were not surprised at the news by any means.
- by means of, with the help of; by the agency of; through: We crossed the stream by means of a log.
- by no means, in no way; not at all: The prize is by no means certain.
Origin of mean3
Related Words for meansvehicle, medium, power, equipment, process, route, technique, system, mechanism, instrument, step, mode, tactic, measure, factor, channel, aid, money, fashion, agent
Examples from the Web for means
Contemporary Examples of means
As a means of preventing tooth decay in those cities that do fluoridate, the practice certainly looks like a success.Anti-Fluoriders Are The OG Anti-Vaxxers
July 27, 2016
And in order for them to realize their vision, they are willing to use any means.Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Our Duty Is to Keep Charlie Hebdo Alive
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
January 8, 2015
With that, there is no means to consistently measure progress.
Part of the problem is the mandate of the war and the means with which the U.S. is fighting it do not match up.
And that means they also fall under the umbrella of programs most likely to get the axe when state and federal budgets are tight.How to Solve the Policing Crisis
January 5, 2015
Historical Examples of means
Your life must be saved; even if you reprove me for the means.Philothea
Lydia Maria Child
I suspect that she was the means of influencing so large a purchase.
I know all about that, and who was the means of having him sent away.
He was not by any means an ideal monk, but he was equally far from being a scandal.The Armourer's Prentices
Charlotte M. Yonge
It means the "science of the sound which is made by our speech."Ancient Man
Hendrik Willem van Loon
- (functioning as singular or plural) the medium, method, or instrument used to obtain a result or achieve an enda means of communication
- (functioning as plural) resources or income
- (functioning as plural) considerable wealth or incomea man of means
- by all means without hesitation or doubt; certainlycome with us by all means
- by means of with the use or help of
- by no manner of means definitely nothe was by no manner of means a cruel man
- by no means or not by any means on no account; in no wayby no means come!
- (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
Word Origin for mean
- 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
Word Origin for mean
- 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 for mean
"course of action," late 14c., from mean (n.); sense of "wealth" is first recorded c.1600. Cf. French moyens, German Mittel. Phrase by no means attested from late 15c.; means-test is from 1930.
"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.
- 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.
see beyond one's means; by all means; by any means; by means of; by no means; end justifies the means.
In addition to the idioms beginning with mean
- mean business
- mean to
, also see under