mean

Listen:
 [ˈmiːn]


For the verb: "to mean"

Simple Past: meant
Past Participle: meant

WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2019
mean1 /min/USA pronunciation   v.,  meant/mɛnt/USA pronunciation  mean•ing. 
  1. [not: be + ~-ing] to have as its meaning or its sense;
    to signify: [+ object]The word "klock'' in Swedish means "smart; wise.''
    [+ (that) clause]That gesture means that the person hates you.
  2. [not: be + ~-ing] to desire to express or indicate;
    to refer: [+ object]Which book did you mean?
    [+ (that) clause]By "perfect'' I mean there should be no mistakes.
  3. to have in mind as one's purpose or intention;
    intend: [+ object]She meant no harm.[ + to + verb]:I've been meaning to call you, but things got too busy.[no object]I'm sure they meant well, but they didn't finish the job.
  4. to be expected to happen in a certain way:[be + meant;  not: be + ~ -ing]The couple were meant for each other.
  5. [not: be + ~ -ing] to produce (something) as a result: [+ object]Further budget cuts will mean more layoffs.[+ (that) clause]Does this traffic jam mean we'll be late?
  6. [not: be + ~ -ing] to show that something exists as a cause: [+ object]A grinding noise could mean a damaged disk drive.[+ (that) clause]A flickering screen could mean that your computer cables are not connected tightly.
  7. to have the value of;
    to have the importance of:[not: be + ~-ing;  ~ + object]Money means everything to them.

mean2 /min/USA pronunciation   adj.,  -er, -est. 
  1. having evil or unkind intentions;
    malicious:a mean, cruel remark.
  2. small-minded:mean motives.
  3. stingy;
    miserly:mean with one's money.
  4. low in status:of mean and humble birth.
  5. bad-tempered:a mean old horse.
  6. excellent;
    topnotch:plays a mean game of tennis.
mean•ly, adv. 
mean•ness, n. [uncountable]

mean3 /min/USA pronunciation   n.[countable]pl.  means. 
  1. Usually,  means. [plural] an instrument, thing, or method used to achieve something:They have the means, but do they have the will?[countable;  singular;
    used with a singular verb]
    The quickest means of travel into the jungle is by canoe.[plural;  used with a plural verb]The means of winning that election are many: bribery, threats, and smear tactics.
  2. means, [plural]
    • available resources, esp. money:We don't have sufficient means to send our children to college.
    • considerable financial resources:a person of means.
  3. something located in the middle between two extremes:in the mean.
  4. an average, esp. the arithmetic mean.

adj. [before a noun]
  1. occupying a middle position:the mean amount of rainfall for that region.
Idioms
  1. Idiomsby all means, certainly:By all means, help yourself, but save some for me.
  2. Idiomsby means of, by the way or method of;
    by the use of or by using.
  3. Idiomsby no means or not by any means, not at all;
    definitely not:By no means is he ready to retire. He is not by any means ready to retire.


WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2019
mean1  (mēn),USA pronunciation v.,  meant, mean•ing. 
v.t. 
  1. to have in mind as one's purpose or intention;
    intend:I meant to compliment you on your work.
  2. to intend for a particular purpose, destination, etc.:They were meant for each other.
  3. to intend to express or indicate:What do you mean by "liberal''?
  4. to have as its sense or signification;
    signify:The word "freedom'' means many things to many people.
  5. to bring, cause, or produce as a result:This bonus means that we can take a trip to Florida.
  6. to have (certain intentions) toward a person:He didn't mean you any harm.
  7. to have the value of;
    assume the importance of:Money means everything to them. She means the world to him.

v.i. 
  1. to be minded or disposed;
    have intentions:Beware, she means ill, despite her solicitous manner.
  2. Idiomsmean 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.
  • bef. 900; Middle English menen, Old English mǣnan; cognate with German meinen, Dutch meenen
    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged contemplate. See  intend. 
    • 2.See corresponding entry in Unabridged destine, foreordain.
    • 4.See corresponding entry in Unabridged denote, indicate;
      import, imply, connote.

mean2  (mēn),USA pronunciation adj.,  -er, -est. 
  1. offensive, selfish, or unaccommodating;
    nasty;
    malicious:a mean remark; He gets mean when he doesn't get his way.
  2. small-minded or ignoble:mean motives.
  3. penurious, stingy, or miserly:a person who is mean about money.
  4. inferior in grade, quality, or character:no mean reward.
  5. low in status, rank, or dignity:mean servitors.
  6. of little importance or consequence:mean little details.
  7. unimposing or shabby:a mean abode.
  8. small, humiliated, or ashamed:You should feel mean for being so stingy.
  9. Informal Termsin poor physical condition.
  10. troublesome or vicious;
    bad-tempered:a mean old horse.
  11. Slang Termsskillful or impressive:He blows a mean trumpet.
  • bef. 900; Middle English mene, aphetic variant (see y-) of imene, Old English gemǣne; cognate with Dutch gemeen, German gemein common, Gothic gamains in common; compare common
    • 2.See corresponding entry in Unabridged contemptible, despicable.
      Mean, low, base, sordid, and
      vile all refer to ignoble characteristics worthy of dislike, contempt, or disgust.
      Mean suggests pettiness and small-mindedness:to take a mean advantage.Low suggests coarseness and vulgarity:low company.Base suggests selfish cowardice or moral depravity:base motives.Sordid suggests a wretched uncleanness, or sometimes an avariciousness without dignity or moral scruples:a sordid slum; sordid gain.Vile suggests disgusting foulness or repulsiveness:vile insinuation; a vile creature.
    • 3.See corresponding entry in Unabridged niggardly, close, tight, parsimonious, illiberal, ungenerous, selfish. See  stingy. 
    • 5.See corresponding entry in Unabridged common, humble;
      undignified, plebeian.
    • 6.See corresponding entry in Unabridged inconsequential, insignificant, petty, paltry, little, poor, wretched.
    • 7.See corresponding entry in Unabridged squalid, poor.

mean3  (mēn),USA pronunciation n. 
  1. Usually,  means. (used with a sing. or pl. v.) 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.
  2. means: 
    • available resources, esp. money:They lived beyond their means.
    • considerable financial resources;
      riches:a man of means.
  3. something that is midway between two extremes;
    something intermediate:to seek a mean between cynicism and blind faith.
  4. [Math.]
    • a quantity having a value intermediate between the values of other quantities;
      an average, esp. the arithmetic mean.
    • either the second or third term in a proportion of four terms.
  5. Statisticsexpected value. See  mathematical expectation (def. 2).
  6. Philosophy[Logic.]the middle term in a syllogism.
  7. by all means: 
    • Idioms(in emphasis) certainly:Go, by all means.
    • Idiomsat any cost;
      without fail.
  8. Idiomsby any means, in any way;
    at all:We were not surprised at the news by any means.
  9. Idiomsby means of, with the help of;
    by the agency of;
    through:We crossed the stream by means of a log.
  10. Idiomsby no means, in no way;
    not at all:The prize is by no means certain.

adj. 
  1. 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.
  • Latin mediānus; see median
  • Middle French meen, variant of meien
  • Middle English mene 1300–50


Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

mean /miːn/ vb (means, meaning, meant)(mainly tr)
  1. (may take a clause as object or an infinitive) to intend to convey or express
  2. (may take a clause as object or an infinitive) intend: she didn't mean to hurt it
  3. (may take a clause as object) to say or do in all seriousness: the boss means what he says about strikes
  4. (often passive) often followed by for: to destine or design (for a certain person or purpose): she was meant for greater things
  5. (may take a clause as object) to denote or connote; signify; represent
  6. (may take a clause as object) to produce; cause: the weather will mean long traffic delays
  7. (may take a clause as object) to foretell; portend: those dark clouds mean rain
  8. to have the importance of: money means nothing to him
  9. (intransitive) to have the intention of behaving or acting (esp in the phrases mean well or mean ill)
Etymology: Old English mænan; compare Old Saxon mēnian to intend, Dutch meenen
USAGE
In standard English, mean should not be followed by for when expressing intention: I didn't mean this to happen (not I didn't mean for this to happen)

mean /miːn/ adj
  1. chiefly Brit miserly, ungenerous, or petty
  2. despicable, ignoble, or callous: a mean action
  3. poor or shabby: mean clothing, a mean abode
  4. informal chiefly US Canadian bad-tempered; vicious
  5. informal ashamed: he felt mean about not letting the children go to the zoo
  6. slang excellent; skilful: he plays a mean trombone
  7. no meanof high quality: no mean performer
  8. difficult: no mean feat
Etymology: 12th Century: from Old English gemǣne common; related to Old High German gimeini, Latin communis common, at first with no pejorative sense

ˈmeanly adv ˈmeanness n
mean /miːn/ n
  1. the middle point, state, or course between limits or extremes
  2. moderation
  3. the second and third terms of a proportion, as b and c in a/b = c/d
  4. another name for average
    See also geometric mean
  5. 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
adj
  1. intermediate or medium in size, quantity, etc
  2. occurring halfway between extremes or limits; average
Etymology: 14th Century: via Anglo-Norman from Old French moien, from Late Latin mediānus median



'mean' also found in these entries:
Collocations: what does this [word, expression] mean?, the [geometric, arithmetic, average] mean, is always so mean, more...

Forum discussions with the word(s) "mean" in the title:


Look up "mean" at Merriam-Webster
Look up "mean" at dictionary.com

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