Meaning of MEAN in English


mean 1

/meen/ , v. , meant, meaning .


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.


8. to be minded or disposed; have intentions: Beware, she means ill, despite her solicitous manner.

9. mean 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; ME menen, OE maenan; c. G meinen, D meenen ]

Syn. 1. contemplate. See intend. 2. destine, foreordain. 4. denote, indicate; import, imply, connote.

mean 2

/meen/ , adj., meaner, meanest .

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. in poor physical condition.

10. troublesome or vicious; bad-tempered: a mean old horse.

11. Slang. skillful or impressive: He blows a mean trumpet.

[ bef. 900; ME mene, aph. var. (see Y-) of imene, OE gemaene; c. D gemeen, G gemein common, Goth gamains in common; cf. COMMON ]

Syn. 2. 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. niggardly, close, tight, parsimonious, illiberal, ungenerous, selfish. See stingy. 5. common, humble; undignified, plebeian. 6. inconsequential, insignificant, petty, paltry, little, poor, wretched. 7. squalid, poor.

mean 3

/meen/ , 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 ,

a. available resources, esp. money: They lived beyond their means.

b. 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. a quantity having a value intermediate between the values of other quantities; an average, esp. the arithmetic mean.

b. either the second or third term in a proportion of four terms.

5. Statistics. expected value. See mathematical expectation (def. 2).

6. Logic. the middle term in a syllogism.

7. by all means ,

a. (in emphasis) certainly: Go, by all means.

b. at any cost; without fail.

8. by any means , in any way; at all: We were not surprised at the news by any means.

9. by means of , with the help of; by the agency of; through: We crossed the stream by means of a log.

10. by no means , in no way; not at all: The prize is by no means certain.


11. 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.

[ 1300-50; ME mene meen, var. of meien medianus; see MEDIAN ]

Random House Webster's Unabridged English dictionary.      Полный английский словарь Вебстер - Random House .