Meaning of MAN in English


I. man 1 S1 W1 /mæn/ BrE AmE noun ( plural men /men/)

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ man , ↑ manhood , ↑ mankind ; adjective : ↑ manly ≠ ↑ unmanly , manned ≠ ↑ unmanned , ↑ mannish ; verb : ↑ man ; adverb : ↑ manfully ]

[ Language: Old English ]

1 . MALE PERSON [countable] an adult male human ⇨ woman :

There were two men and a woman in the car.

He’s a very kind man.

a man’s watch

Don’t keep Hansen waiting – he’s a busy man.

2 . STRONG/BRAVE [countable usually singular] a man who has the qualities that people think a man should have, such as being brave, strong etc:

Come on, be a man now. No more crying.

He wasn’t man enough (=strong or brave enough) to face up to his responsibilities.

make a man (out) of somebody (=make a boy or young man start behaving in a confident way)

Running his own business has really made a man out of Terry.

3 . PERSON [countable] a person, either male or female – used especially in formal situations or in the past:

All men are equal in the eyes of the law.

a man’s right to work

4 . PEOPLE [uncountable] people as a group:

This is one of the worst diseases known to man.

the evolution of man

prehistoric/stone-age/modern man (=people who lived at a particular stage of human development)


a) [countable usually plural] a man who works for an employer:

Why were there no protests from the men at the factory?

b) [countable] a man who does a job for you, especially repairing something:

Has the man been to fix the TV?

gas man/rent man etc

I waited all day for the gas man.

c) the man from something a man who works for a particular company or organization:

Was that the man from the PR agency?

6 . PARTICULAR KIND OF MAN [countable]

a) a man who comes from a particular place, does a particular kind of work, or is connected with a particular organization, especially a university or company:

I think she married a Belfast man.

I’ve been a military man all my life.

Even a Harvard man has a lot to learn about politics.

b) a man who likes, or likes doing, a particular thing:

I’m more of a jazz man myself.

Are you a betting man?

7 . man! spoken

a) used when speaking to an adult male, especially when you are excited, angry etc:

Stop talking nonsense, man!

b) used when speaking to someone, especially an adult male:

You look great, man!

8 . SOLDIER [countable usually plural] a soldier or ↑ sailor who is under the authority of an officer:

The Captain ordered his men to fire.

9 . HUSBAND [countable] informal a woman’s husband or boyfriend

sb’s man

She spent five years waiting for her man to come out of prison.

10 . the man spoken

a) used to talk about a man you dislike, a man who has done something stupid etc:

Don’t listen to him – the man’s a complete idiot.

b) The Man American English old-fashioned someone who has authority over you, especially a police officer

11 . sb’s your man spoken used to say that a particular man is the best person for a job, situation etc:

If you need repairs done in the house, Brian’s your man.

12 . you da man! you’re the man! American English spoken used to praise someone for having done something well

13 . our man spoken used by the police to refer to a man that they are watching or trying to find, especially because they think he is responsible for a crime:

Gareth couldn’t possibly be our man. He couldn’t possibly be a murderer.

Perhaps our man parked his car at the station and took the train.

14 . our man in/at something a man who is the representative of a country or organization in a particular place:

our man in Rome

a report on the accident from our man at the scene

15 . men in (grey) suits informal the men who control businesses, organizations etc, considered as a group, especially when you think they are boring

16 . a man of his word a man you can trust, who will do what he has promised to do:

He had promised to help, and Sally knew that Dr Neil was a man of his word.

17 . a man of few words a man who does not talk very much:

Being a man of few words, his message was short and to the point.

18 . be your own man to behave and think independently without worrying about what other people think:

I’m my own man. I say what I believe.

19 . the man of the moment/hour/year a man who has recently done something important:

Olson was the man of the hour when the team beat the Tigers.

20 . it’s every man for himself spoken used to say that people will not help each other:

In journalism it’s every man for himself.

21 . the man in the street ( also the man on the Clapham omnibus British English old-fashioned ) the average man or the average person SYN Joe Bloggs/Schmo :

This kind of music doesn’t appeal to the man in the street.

22 . a man of the people a man who understands and expresses the views and opinions of ordinary people:

The prime minister is a man of the people.

23 . a man’s man a man who enjoys being with other men and doing sports and activities with them, and is popular with men rather than women:

He enjoyed his reputation as a man’s man, but was careful never to neglect his family.

24 . a ladies’ man a man who is popular with women and who likes to go out with a lot of different women:

Paul likes to think he’s a bit of a ladies’ man.

25 . man and boy British English if a man has done something man and boy, he has done it all his life:

I’ve worked on that farm man and boy.

26 . man and wife if a man and a woman are man and wife, they are married:

I now pronounce you man and wife (=you are now officially married) .

27 . live as man and wife if a man and a woman live as man and wife, they live together as if they are married, although they are not

28 . as one man written if a group of people do something as one man, they do it together:

The audience rose as one man to applaud the singers.

29 . to a man/to the last man written used to say that all the men in a group do something or have a particular quality:

They were socialists to a man.

30 . man-about-town a rich man who goes out a lot to parties, clubs, theatres etc:

In his designer suit and shiny shoes he looked quite the man about town.

31 . man of God/man of the cloth a priest:

You’d believe a man of the cloth, wouldn’t you?

32 . my (good) man British English old-fashioned spoken used when talking to someone of a lower social class – do not use this phrase:

My good man, I really don’t think you should be here.

33 . my man spoken used by some men to greet a friend:

Jason, my man! How’s it going?

34 . your/yer man spoken used to talk about a particular man – used mainly in Ireland:

I’ve got to go and see yer man this afternoon.

35 . SERVANT [countable] old-fashioned a male servant:

My man will drive you to the station.

36 . GAME [countable] one of the pieces you use in a game such as ↑ chess

37 . every man jack old-fashioned each person in a group:

Spies, every man jack of them, I’d bet.

38 . kick/hit a man when he’s down to treat someone badly when you know that they already have problems:

Most of his rivals couldn’t resist kicking a man when he was down.

39 . man’s best friend a dog

40 . the man of the house the most important male member of a family, who is responsible for doing things such as paying bills, making important decisions etc:

Since my father’s death, my uncle was the man of the house.

⇨ ↑ best man , ↑ man-to-man , ↑ New Man , ↑ old man , ⇨ be a man/woman of the world at ↑ world 1 (21)

• • •


▪ man an adult male human:

a young man


Sir Edmund Hillary was the first man to climb Mount Everest.

▪ guy ( also bloke/chap British English ) informal a man:

She’d arranged to meet a guy in the bar.


Alex is a really nice bloke.

▪ gentleman formal a man – used as a very polite way of talking about a man:

an elderly gentleman


Please could you serve this gentleman?

▪ boy a young male person, usually a child or a teenager:

a teenage boy

▪ lad old-fashioned informal a boy or young man:

When I was a young lad, I wanted to join the army.

▪ youth a teenage boy or young man – used especially in news reports to show disapproval:

Gangs of youths roam the streets.

▪ male formal a man – used especially by the police or in science and research contexts. The adjective male is much more common than the noun:

We are investigating the death of an unidentified male.


The condition is usually found only in males.

▪ dude American English informal a man - a very informal use:

You could tell there was something creepy going on with that dude.

■ relating to men

▪ male adjective a male teacher, singer etc is a man. Male jobs are the kind of jobs that men typically do:

Most science teachers are male.


a male nurse


We are trying to recruit more women to do traditionally male jobs such as engineering.

▪ masculine considered to be more typical of a man than of a woman:

He had a very masculine face.


masculine aggression

▪ manly having the qualities that people expect and admire in a man, such as being brave and strong:

He took off his shirt, revealing his manly chest.


It isn’t considered manly to cry.


In the portrait, the King looked manly and in control.


He was bronzed and athletic, with manly features and a steady gaze.

▪ macho behaving in a way that is traditionally typical of men, for example by being strong and tough and not showing your feelings – used especially either humorously or to show disapproval:

On the outside he may seem to be very macho but inside he’s very sensitive.


Stallone always plays macho men.


He’s far too macho to drink mineral water.

II. man 2 BrE AmE verb ( past tense and past participle manned , present participle manning ) [transitive]

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ man , ↑ manhood , ↑ mankind ; adjective : ↑ manly ≠ ↑ unmanly , manned ≠ ↑ unmanned , ↑ mannish ; verb : ↑ man ; adverb : ↑ manfully ]

to work at, use, or operate a system, piece of equipment etc:

A team of volunteers are manning the phones.

the first manned spacecraft

III. man 3 BrE AmE interjection especially American English

used to emphasize what you are saying, especially when you are angry, surprised, disappointed etc:

Man, that was a lucky escape!

Oh, man! I can hear the bullets.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.