Idioms

    as one man, in complete agreement or accord; unanimously: They arose as one man to protest the verdict.
    be one's own man,
    1. to be free from restrictions, control, or dictatorial influence; be independent: Now that he has a business he is his own man.
    2. to be in complete command of one's faculties: After a refreshing nap he was again his own man.
    man and boy, ever since childhood: He's been working that farm, man and boy, for more than 50 years.
    man's man, a man who exemplifies masculine qualities.
    to a man, with no exception; everyone; all: To a man, the members of the team did their best.

Origin of man

1
before 900; (noun) Middle English; Old English man(n); cognate with German Mann, Dutch man, Old Norse mathr, Gothic manna; (v.) Middle English mannen, Old English mannian to garrison
Related formsman·less, adjectiveman·less·ly, adverbman·less·ness, nounman·ness, noun

Synonyms for man

Man, male, gentleman are nouns referring to adult human beings who are biologically male; that is, physiologically equipped to initiate conception but not to bear children. Man is the most general and most commonly used of the three; it can be neutral, lacking either favorable or unfavorable implication: a wealthy man; a man of strong character, of unbridled appetites. It can also signify possession of the most typical or desirable masculine qualities: to take one's punishment like a man. Male emphasizes the physical or sexual characteristics of a man; it may also refer to an animal or plant: a male in his prime; two males and three females in the pack; a male of the genus Ilex. In scientific and statistical use, male is the neutral contrastive term to female : 104 females to every 100 males; Among birds, the male is often more colorful than the female. Gentleman, once used only of men of high social rank, now also specifies a man of courtesy and consideration: a real gentleman; to behave like a gentleman. Gentleman is also used as a polite term of reference ( This gentleman is waiting for a table ) or, only in the plural, of address ( Are we ready to begin, gentlemen? ). See also manly, male.

Usage note

The use of man1 to mean “human being,” both alone and in compounds such as mankind, has met with objection in recent years, and the use is declining. The objection is based on the idea that man is most commonly used as an exclusive, sex-marked noun meaning “male human being.” Critics of the use of man as a generic maintain that it is sometimes ambiguous when the wider sense is intended ( Man has built magnificent civilizations in the desert ), but more often flatly discriminatory in that it slights or ignores the membership of women in the human race: The man in the street wants peace, not war.
Although some editors and writers reject or disregard these objections to man as a generic, many now choose instead to use such terms as human being ( s ), human race, humankind, people, or, when called for by style or context, women and men or men and women. See also -man, -person, -woman.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for to a man

man

noun plural men (mɛn)

an adult male human being, as distinguished from a woman
(modifier) male; masculinea man child
archaic a human being regardless of sex or age, considered as a representative of mankind; a person
(sometimes capital) human beings collectively; mankindthe development of man
Also called: modern man
  1. a member of any of the living races of Homo sapiens, characterized by erect bipedal posture, a highly developed brain, and powers of articulate speech, abstract reasoning, and imagination
  2. any extinct member of the species Homo sapiens, such as Cro-Magnon man
a member of any of the extinct species of the genus Homo, such as Java man, Heidelberg man, and Solo man
an adult male human being with qualities associated with the male, such as courage or virilitybe a man
manly qualities or virtuesthe man in him was outraged
  1. a subordinate, servant, or employee contrasted with an employer or manager
  2. (in combination)the number of man-days required to complete a job
(usually plural) a member of the armed forces who does not hold commissioned, warrant, or noncommissioned rank (as in the phrase officers and men)
a member of a group, team, etc
a husband, boyfriend, etcman and wife
an expression used parenthetically to indicate an informal relationship between speaker and hearer
a movable piece in various games, such as draughts
Southern African slang any person: used as a term of address
a vassal of a feudal lord
as one man with unanimous action or response
be one's own man to be independent or free
he's your man he's the person needed (for a particular task, role, job, etc)
man and boy from childhood
sort out the men from the boys or separate the men from the boys to separate the experienced from the inexperienced
to a man
  1. unanimously
  2. without exceptionthey were slaughtered to a man

interjection

informal an exclamation or expletive, often indicating surprise or pleasure

verb mans, manning or manned (tr)

to provide with sufficient people for operation, defence, etcto man the phones
to take one's place at or near in readiness for action
falconry to induce (a hawk or falcon) to endure the presence of and handling by man, esp strangers
Derived Formsmanless, adjective

Word Origin for man

Old English mann; related to Old Frisian man, Old High German man, Dutch man, Icelandic mathr

usage

The use of man to mean human beings in general is often considered sexist. Gender-neutral alternatives include human beings, people and humankind . The verb to man can also often be replaced by to staff, to operate and related words

Man

1

noun the Man (sometimes not capital) US

Black slang a White man or White men collectively, esp when in authority, in the police, or held in contempt
slang a drug peddler

Man

2

noun

Isle of Man an island in the British Isles, in the Irish Sea between Cumbria and Northern Ireland: a UK Crown Dependency (but not part of the United Kingdom), with its own ancient parliament, the Court of Tynwald; a dependency of Norway until 1266, when for a time it came under Scottish rule; its own language, Manx, became extinct in the 19th century but has been revived to some extent. Capital: Douglas. Pop: 86 159 (2013 est). Area: 588 sq km (227 sq miles)
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

Word Origin and History for to a man

man

n.

Old English man, mann "human being, person (male or female); brave man, hero; servant, vassal," from Proto-Germanic *manwaz (cf. Old Saxon, Swedish, Dutch, Old High German man, German Mann, Old Norse maðr, Danish mand, Gothic manna "man"), from PIE root *man- (1) "man" (cf. Sanskrit manuh, Avestan manu-, Old Church Slavonic mozi, Russian muzh "man, male").

Plural men (German Männer) shows effects of i-mutation. Sometimes connected to root *men- "to think" (see mind), which would make the ground sense of man "one who has intelligence," but not all linguists accept this. Liberman, for instance, writes, "Most probably man 'human being' is a secularized divine name" from Mannus [cf. Tacitus, "Germania," chap. 2], "believed to be the progenitor of the human race."

So I am as he that seythe, `Come hyddr John, my man.' [1473]

Sense of "adult male" is late (c.1000); Old English used wer and wif to distinguish the sexes, but wer began to disappear late 13c. and was replaced by man. Universal sense of the word remains in mankind and manslaughter. Similarly, Latin had homo "human being" and vir "adult male human being," but they merged in Vulgar Latin, with homo extended to both senses. A like evolution took place in Slavic languages, and in some of them the word has narrowed to mean "husband." PIE had two stems: *uiHro "freeman" (cf. Sanskrit vira-, Lithuanian vyras, Latin vir, Old Irish fer, Gothic wair) and *hner "man," a title more of honor than *uiHro (cf. Sanskrit nar-, Armenian ayr, Welsh ner, Greek aner).

MAN TRAP. A woman's commodity. ["Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit, and Pickpocket Eloquence," London, 1811]

Man also was in Old English as an indefinite pronoun, "one, people, they." The chess pieces so called from c.1400. As an interjection of surprise or emphasis, first recorded c.1400, but especially popular from early 20c. Man-about-town is from 1734; the Man "the boss" is from 1918. To be man or mouse "be brave or be timid" is from 1540s. Men's Liberation first attested 1970.

At the kinges court, my brother, Ech man for himself. [Chaucer, "Knight's Tale," c.1386]

man

v.

Old English mannian "to furnish (a fort, ship, etc.) with a company of men," from man (n.). Meaning "to take up a designated position on a ship" is first recorded 1690s. Meaning "behave like a man, act with courage" is from c.1400. To man (something) out is from 1660s. Related: Manned; manning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with to a man

to a man

Unanimously, without exception, as in The committee voted against the proposal to a man. This expression, first recorded in 1712, uses man in the sense of “everyone.” It continues to be so used despite its sexist tone. To a woman is very occasionally used for unanimous actions in groups that include only women. Also see as one; with one voice.

man

In addition to the idioms beginning with man

  • man about town
  • man in the street
  • man of few words
  • man of his word
  • man of the moment
  • man of the world
  • many a
  • many hands make light work
  • many happy returns
  • many is the

also see:

  • as one (man)
  • company man
  • dead soldier (man)
  • dirty joke (old man)
  • every man for himself
  • every man has his price
  • girl (man) Friday
  • hatchet man
  • hired hand (man)
  • ladies' man
  • low man on the totem pole
  • marked man
  • new person (man)
  • no man is an island
  • odd man out
  • (man) of few words
  • one man's meat is another man's poison
  • own man
  • right-hand man
  • see a man about a dog
  • to a man

Also see undermen.

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