(third-person singular simple present means, present participle meaning, simple past and past participle meant)
- To intend.
- To intend, to plan (to do); to have as one's intention. [from 8th c.]
- I didn't mean to knock your tooth out.
- I mean to go to Baddeck this summer.
- I meant to take the car in for a smog check, but it slipped my mind.
- (intransitive) To have intentions of a given kind. [from 14th c.]
- Don't be angry; she meant well.
- (usually in passive) To intend (something) for a given purpose or fate; to predestine. [from 16th c.]
- Actually this desk was meant for the subeditor.
- Man was not meant to question such things.
- To convey meaning.
- To convey (a given sense); to signify, or indicate (an object or idea). [from 8th c.]
- I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean.
- The sky is red this morning"”does that mean we're in for a storm?
- Of a word, symbol etc: to have reference to, to signify. [from 8th c.]
- What does this hieroglyph mean?
- To have conviction in (something said or expressed); to be sincere in (what one says). [from 18th c.]
- Does she really mean what she said to him last night?
- Say what you mean and mean what you say.
- To result in; to bring about. [from 19th c.]
- One faltering step means certain death.
- To be important (to). [from 19th c.]
- My home life means a lot to me.
From Middle English menen, from Old English mÇ£nan (“to mean, signify, consider"), from Proto-Germanic *mainijanÄ… (“to mean, think"), from Proto-Indo-European *mein- (“to think"). Cognate with West Frisian miene (“to deem, think"), Dutch menen (“to believe, think, mean"), German meinen (“to think, mean, believe"). Related to mind and German Minne (“love").
(comparative meaner, superlative meanest)
- Of a common or low origin, grade, or quality; common; humble.
- a man of mean parentage / a mean abode
- Low in quality or degree; inferior; poor; shabby.
- a mean appearance / mean dress
- Without dignity of mind; destitute of honour; low-minded; spiritless; base.
- a mean motive
- Of little value or account; worthy of little or no regard; contemptible; despicable.
- Niggardly; penurious; miserly; stingy.
- He's so mean. I've never seen him spend so much as five pounds on presents for his children.
- Of little value or account; low in worth or estimation; worthy of little or no regard; contemptible; despicable.
- Disobliging; pettily offensive or unaccommodating; small.
- Selfish; acting without consideration of others; unkind.
- It was mean to steal the girl's piggy bank, but he just had to get uptown and he had no cash of his own.
- Causing or intending to cause intentional harm; bearing ill will towards another; cruel; malicious.
- Watch out for her, she's mean. I said good morning to her, and she punched me in the nose.
- Powerful; fierce; harsh; damaging.
- It must have been a mean typhoon that levelled this town.
- Accomplished with great skill; deft; hard to compete with.
- Your mother can roll a mean cigarette.
- He hits a mean backhand.
- (informal, often childish) Difficult, tricky.
- This problem is mean!
From Middle English mene, imene, from Old English mÇ£ne, Ä¡emÇ£ne (“common, public, general, universal"), from Proto-Germanic *gamainiz (“common"), from Proto-Indo-European *mei- (“to change, exchange, share"). Cognate with West Frisian mien (“general, universal"), Dutch gemeen (“common, mean"), German gemein (“common, mean, nasty"), Gothic ðŒ²ðŒ°ðŒ¼ðŒ°ðŒ¹ðŒ½ðƒ (gamains, “common, unclean"), Latin commÅ«nis (“shared, common, general") (Old Latin comoinem).
- Having the mean (see noun below) as its value.
- Sir Philip Sidney
- being of middle age and a mean stature
- according to the fittest style of lofty, mean, or lowly
- (now chiefly in the plural) A method or course of action used to achieve some result. [from 14th c.]
- 1606, The Trials of Robert Winter, Thomas Winter, Guy Fawkes, John Grant, Ambrose Rookwood, Rob. Keyes, Thomas Bates, and Sir Everard Digby, at Westminster, for High Treason, being Conspirators in the Gunpowder-Plot
- That it was lawful and meritorious to kill and destroy the king, and all the said hereticks. "” The mean to effect it, they concluded to be, that, 1. The king, the queen, the prince, the lords spiritual and temporal, the knights and burgoses of the parliament, should be blown up with powder. 2. That the whole royal issue male should be destroyed. S. That they would lake into their custody Elizabeth and Mary the king's daughters, and proclaim the lady Elizabeth queen. 4. That they should feign a Proclamation in the name of Elizabeth, in which no mention should be made of alteration of religion, nor that they were parties to the treason, until they had raised power to perform the same; and then to proclaim, all grievances in the kingdom should be reformed.
- a. 1623, John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi
- Apply desperate physic: / We must not now use balsamum, but fire, / The smarting cupping-glass, for that's the mean / To purge infected blood, such blood as hers.
- Something which is intermediate or in the middle; an intermediate value or range of values; a medium. [from 14th c.]
- (music, now historical) The middle part of three-part polyphonic music; now specifically, the alto part in polyphonic music; an alto instrument. [from 15th c.]
- (statistics) The average of a set of values, calculated by summing them together and dividing by the number of terms; the arithmetic mean. [from 15th c.]
- (mathematics) Any function of multiple variables that satisfies certain properties and yields a number representative of its arguments; or, the number so yielded; a measure of central tendency.
- (mathematics) Either of the two numbers in the middle of a conventionally presented proportion, as 2 and 3 in 1:2=3:6.
From Middle English meene, from Old French meien (French moyen), Late Latin mediÄnus (“that is in the middle, middle"), from Latin medius (“middle"). Cognate with mid.
(third-person singular simple present means, present participle meaning, simple past and past participle meaned)
- (now Ireland, UK regional) To complain, lament.
- (now Ireland, UK regional) To pity; to comfort.
From Middle English menen, from Old English mÇ£nan (“to complain about, lament, mourn, grieve"), from Proto-Germanic *mainijanÄ… (“to be outraged, suffer harm"), Proto-Germanic *mainÄ… (“deceit, falsehood, shame, sin, crime, perjury"), from Proto-Indo-European *(e)meyÉ™-, *mei- (“to change"). Related to Old English mÄn (“wickedness, crime, sin, perjury"), Dutch meineed (“perjury"), German Meineid (“perjury"), Danish men (“injury"); see moan.