Meaning of MAN in English


I. ˈman, -aa(ə)-, as suffix -_ə-, in exclamations -ˌai- noun

( plural men ˈmen, in compounds -mən or ˌmen)

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English man, mon; akin to Old Saxon & Old High German man human being, man, Old Norse mathr, Gothic manna, Sanskrit manu human being, man, Old Slavic mǫžǐ man, and perhaps to Old English ge mynd mind — more at mind


a. : a member of the human race : a human being : person — usually used of males except in general or indefinite applications with collective adjectives or in the plural

every man must now do his duty

all men, both male and female — David Hume †1776

— often used interjectionally to express intensity of feeling

man , what a relief

man , oh man

man , can that fellow shoot baskets


(1) : the human race : mankind : human beings personified as an individual — used without an article

man is a greedy beast

(2) : a bipedal primate mammal ( Homo sapiens ) that is anatomically related to the great apes but is distinguished by notable development of the brain with a resultant capacity for articulate speech and abstract reasoning, marked erectness of body carriage with corresponding alteration of muscular balance and loss of prehensile powers of the foot, and shortening of the arm with accompanying increase in thumb size and opposability, that is usually considered to occur in a variable number of freely interbreeding races, and that is the sole recent representative of the natural family Hominidae ; broadly : any living or extinct member of the family Hominidae comprising recent man and various extinct Old World forms that are less advanced than recent man especially in brain development and in erectness of body carriage but are consistently more advanced in these characteristics than any known ape — compare africanthropus , homo , pithecanthropus ; florisbad man , peking man , rhodesian man


(1) : a particular aspect or part of the human being — used with qualifiers especially to distinguish a higher from a lower, a more spiritual or worthy from a less, or a grosser from a more ethereal aspect or part

qualities that differentiate the inward and spiritual from the outward and worldly man

— see inner man , outer man

(2) : one endued with the qualities that distinguish man on the one hand from purely spiritual entities and on the other from lower animals : an individual having or assuming human nature or form

God appearing as man has been a recurrent theme in human culture



(1) : a male human being — distinguished from woman

the men considerably outnumbered the women in the new settlement

(2) : an adult male human being — distinguished from boy

there were seven men and three boys in the party

(3) : a male human being as such and without regard to any special status (as of birth, position, or office)

the king is but a man , as I am — Shakespeare

b. : a male human being belonging to a particular and usually specified category (as by birth, residence, or membership)

our hope is in these English men

an experienced man of business

— usually used in combination and sometimes without regard to sex when the sex of the individual is not significant to the relation indicated

she is a highly skilled drafts man

or in general applications

our fellow country men have each done his or her bit to aid the common cause


(1) : husband

I'll have to ask my man

— now chiefly dialect except in the phrase man and wife

(2) chiefly dialect : a man that is lover, suitor, or sweetheart

he was her man


(1) : one possessing in high degree the qualities considered distinctive of manhood (as courage, strength, and vigor)

(2) obsolete : manly character or quality : manliness

e. : a prosperous or successful person : a person of consequence or high estate

f. : fellow , chap — used as a mode of familiar address

come, come, my man , let's waste no more time

but, my good man , what business of yours is that

3. : a human male that serves or is subordinate to another or others: as

a. : liege man : vassal

b. men plural : members of a military or other fighting force

the guerrillas had upward of 7000 men

especially : members of the ranks of an organized force as distinguished from officers

the enemy lost heavily in officers, men, and matériel

c. : a man that is in personal attendance on another person (as a manservant, valet, or groom)

d. men plural : the working force (as of a factory) as distinguished from the employer and usually the management

the men have been on strike for several weeks

e. Britain : undergraduate

4. : individual , one : as

a. : the male individual in question — used in place of a pronoun

the good man fell ill

b. : the holder of an office or position of prominence

the present man is much inferior to his predecessor

c. : anyone — used indefinitely but usually with reference to males and replacing Old English man or mon as an indefinite pronoun

a man cannot survive without hope


(1) : the individual one requires or has in mind — used after a possessive

he's your man

2. : the individual best suited or adapted (as to a particular job or responsibility) — used with the definite article

he's the man for the job if you can get him

5. : a ship especially when in a particular service or under an indicated flag — used in combination

6. obsolete : an entity (as a supernatural being) that is not but is personified as human


a. : one of the pieces with which various games (as chess or checkers) are played

b. : one of the players on a team

nine men on a side

8. Britain

a. : a conical heap of stones set up on a mountain top

b. : the mountain top itself

Scafell Man

9. Christian Science : the compound idea of infinite Spirit : the spiritual image and likeness of God : the full representation of Mind

- as a man

- as one man

- one's own man

- to a man

II. transitive verb

( manned ; manned ; manning ; mans )

Etymology: Middle English mannen, from man, n.


a. : to supply with men : furnish with a sufficient force or complement of men (as for management, service, operation, defense)

man a fleet

b. obsolete : to furnish with inhabitants : populate

c. obsolete : to furnish with servants or followers

d. : to station members of a ship's crew at (an indicated place) usually for a particular exercise or task

manned the rail in honor of the visiting captain

man the capstan and heave in the anchor

e. : to serve in the force or complement of

workers who man the production lines

2. now dialect : to have, gain, or use control over : be master of : manage

3. obsolete

a. : to attend as a manservant

b. : escort

4. : to accustom (as a hawk) to man and the human environment


a. : to furnish with strength or powers of resistance : brace , fortify

manned himself to meet the shock

you must man yourself, my boy

b. : to make courageous or manly

his heartening words manned the frightened refugees

III. ˈmän, ˈman, _mən

variant of maun

IV. ˈmän, ˈman

variant of maund

V. ˈman noun

( plural man or mans )

Usage: usually capitalized

Etymology: Chinese (Pekingese) man 2


a. : a loosely defined division of the aboriginal population in China usually comprising the tribes living in the south and southwest

b. : one of these tribes or peoples (as the Yao or Miao)

2. : any of the primitive mountain tribes of Vietnam ; especially : yao

VI. abbreviation

1. manila


[Latin manipulus ]


3. manual

4. manufacture

VII. noun

Usage: usually capitalized

1. : police

when I heard the siren, I knew it was the Man — American Speech

2. : the white establishment : white society

surprise that any black man … should take on so about the Man — Peter Goldman

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.