Mean

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Contents

English

Verb

Mean (third-person singular simple present means, present participle meaning, simple past and past participle meant)

  1. To intend.
    1. (transitive) To intend, to plan (to do); to have as one's intention.
      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.
    2. (intransitive) To have intentions of a given kind.
      Don't be angry; she meant well.
    3. (transitive, usually in passive) To intend (something) for a given purpose or fate; to predestine.
      Actually this desk was meant for the subeditor.
      Man was not meant to question such things.
  2. To convey meaning.
    1. (transitive) To convey (a given sense); to signify, or indicate (an object or idea).
      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?
    2. (transitive) Of a word, symbol etc: to have reference to, to signify.
      What does this hieroglyph mean?
    3. (transitive) To have conviction in (something said or expressed); to be sincere in (what one says).
      Does she really mean what she said to him last night?
      Say what you mean and mean what you say.
    4. (transitive) To result in; to bring about.
      One faltering step means certain death.
    5. (transitive) To be important (to).
      My home life means a lot to me.

Synonyms

Noun

Mean (plural Means)
  1. (obsolete, in singular) An intermediate step or intermediate steps.

Adjective

Mean (comparative Meaner, superlative Meanest)

  1. 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.
  2. Miserly; stingy.
    He's so mean. I've never seen him spend so much as five pounds on presents for his children.
  3. 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.
  4. Powerful; fierce; harsh; damaging.
    It must have been a mean typhoon that levelled this town.
  5. Accomplished with great skill; deft; hard to compete with.
    Your mother can roll a mean cigarette.
    He hits a mean backhand.
  6. Low in quality; inferior.

Synonyms

Derived terms

Adjective

Mean (not comparable)

  1. Having the mean (see noun below) as its value.
  2. (obsolete) Middling in quality or excellence; moderately good, tolerable.
    • 1621, Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, II.ii.2:
      I have declared in the causes what harm costiveness hath done in procuring this disease; if it be so noxious, the opposite must needs be good, or mean at least, as indeed it is [...].

Derived terms

Related terms

Noun

Mean (plural Means)
  1. (now chiefly in the plural) A method or course of action used to achieve some result.
    • 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays, II.5:
      To say truth, it is a meane full of uncertainty and danger.
    • 2011, "Rival visions", The Economist, 14 Apr 2011:
      Mr Obama produced an only slightly less ambitious goal for deficit reduction than the House Republicans, albeit working from a more forgiving baseline: $4 trillion over 12 years compared to $4.4 trillion over 10 years. But the means by which he would achieve it are very different.
  2. Something which is intermediate or in the middle; an intermediate value or range of values; a medium.
    • 1875, William Smith and Samuel Cheetham, editors, A Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, Little, Brown and Company, volume 1, page 10, s.v. Accentus Ecclesiasticus,
      It presents a sort of mean between speech and song, continually inclining towards the latter, never altogether leaving its hold on the former; it is speech, though always attuned speech, in passages of average interest and importance; it is song, though always distinct and articulate song, in passages demanding more fervid utterance.
  3. (music, now historical) The middle part of three-part polyphonic music; now specifically, the alto part in polyphonic music; an alto instrument.
    • 1624, John Smith, Generall Historie, in Kupperman 1988, p. 147:
      Of these [rattles] they have Base, Tenor, Countertenor, Meane, and Treble.
  4. (statistics) The average of a set of values, calculated by summing them together and dividing by the number of terms; the arithmetic mean.
  5. (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.
    • 1997, Angus Deaton, The Analysis of Household Surveys: A Microeconometric Approach to Development Policy,[1] World Bank Publications, ISBN 9780801852541, page 51:
      Note that (1.41) is simply the probability-weighted mean without any explicit allowance for the stratification; each observation is weighted by its inflation factor and the total divided by the total of the inflation factors for the survey.
    • 2002, Clifford A. Pickover, The Mathematics of Oz: Mental Gymnastics from Beyond the Edge,[2] Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521016780, page 246:
      Luckily, even though the arithmetic mean is unusable, both the harmonic and geometric means settle to precise values as the amount of data increases.
    • 2003, P. S. Bullen, Handbook of Means and Their Inequalities,[3] Springer, ISBN 978-1-4020-1522-9, page 251:
      The generalized power means include power means, certain Gini means, in particular the counter-harmonic means.
  6. (mathematics) Either of the two numbers in the middle of a conventionally presented proportion, as 2 and 3 in 1:2=3:6.
    • 1825, John Farrar, translator, An Elementary Treatise on Arithmetic by Silvestre François Lacroix, third edition, page 102,
      ...if four numbers be in proportion, the product of the first and last, or of the two extremes, is equal to the product of the second and third, or of the two means.
    • 1999, Dawn B. Sova, How to Solve Word Problems in Geometry, McGraw-Hill, ISBN 007134652X, page 85,
      Using the means-extremes property of proportions, you know that the product of the extremes equals the product of the means. The ratio t/4 = 5/2 can be rewritten as t:4 = 5:2, in which the extremes are t and 2, and the means are 4 and 5.
    • 2007, Carolyn C. Wheater, Homework Helpers: Geometry, Career Press, ISBN 1564147215, page 99,
      In <math>\frac{18}{27}=\frac23</math>, the product of the means is <math>2\cdot27</math>, and the product of the extremes is <math>18\cdot3</math>. Both products are 54.
Hypernyms
Coordinate terms

See also

Derived terms

Verb

Mean (third-person singular simple present means, present participle meaning, simple past and past participle meaned)

  1. (now Irish, UK regional) To complain, lament.
  2. (now Irish, UK regional) To pity; to comfort.
    • 1485, Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Book XII:
      Anone he meaned hym, and wolde have had hym home unto his ermytage.

Thesaurus

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churlish, close, closed, coarse, cockney, common, commonplace, communicate, complex, compromise, connote, constricted, contemplate, contemptible, convey, cool, core, corking, count, course, crabbed, crackerjack, cramped, cranky, creedbound, critical, cross, cross-grained, cruel, crummy, crusty, cussed, dandy, dangle, deaf, deaf to reason, debased, declasse, deficient, definitely, degenerate, degraded, delicate, delicious, demanding, demonstrate, denominate, denote, depraved, design, designate, desire, despicable, destine, determine, develop, diameter, diaphragm, differentiate, difficile, difficult, dirty, disagreeable, disclose, disgraceful, disgusting, dismal, disobliging, display, divine, divulge, donsie, dramatize, dreary, drive at, ducky, dwarfed, dwarfish, effective, embody, enact, entail, equator, equatorial, equidistant, equipment, estate, evidence, evince, exacting, excellent, exceptional, excitable, execrable, exhibit, exiguous, expect, expose to view, express, fab, fair, fairish, fanatical, fashion, feisty, fence, finances, fine and dandy, flagrant, flaunt, flourish, foreshadow, foretell, foretoken, formidable, fortune, foul, fourth-class, fractious, frugal, fulsome, funds, gaudy, gear, get across, get over, gimcracky, give evidence, give sign, give token, go for, golden mean, grave, great, groovy, gross, grudging, hack, hairy, half measures, half-and-half measures, halfway, halfway measures, happy medium, harbor a design, hard, hard-earned, hard-fought, harmful, hateful, have every intention, have in mind, have in view, heart, heavy, heinous, herald, hidebound, highlight, hint, hint at, holdings, homely, hope, hostile, hot, huffish, huffy, humble, humble-looking, humble-visaged, humblest, hunky-dory, identify, ignoble, ill-tempered, illiberal, illuminate, imperfect, implicate, imply, import, impoverished, in any case, in any event, in no way, inadequate, incarnate, incompetent, indicate, indifferent, indisposed, ineffectual, infer, inferior, 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midriff, midships, midst, midway, mind, mingy, ministry, miserable, miserly, mode, moderate, moderateness, moderation, modest, money, moneybags, monstrous, name, narrow, narrow-hearted, narrow-minded, narrow-souled, narrow-spirited, nasty, near, nearsighted, neat, nefarious, nest egg, neutral ground, nifty, niggard, niggardly, no matter what, no picnic, no way, nobby, nonclerical, norm, normal, not at all, not comparable, not easy, not in it, note, noxious, nuclear, nucleus, obnoxious, odious, of course, okay, on no account, operose, ordinary, organ, ornery, out of it, out of sight, paltry, par, parade, paraphernalia, parochial, parsimonious, pathetic, peachy, peachy-keen, penny-pinching, penurious, perform, perverse, pesky, petty, pile, pinchpenny, pitiable, pitiful, plain, plan, plebeian, pocket, point indirectly to, point to, poky, poor, portend, position, positively, possessions, prefigure, preindicate, presage, present, presign, presignal, presignify, presume, presuppose, 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stunning, stunted, submissive, subservient, subsistence, substance, suggest, support, suppose, surely, swell, symbolize, symptomatize, symptomize, system, tacky, take for granted, tatty, teachable, technique, testify, testy, thick, thick of things, thin, think, third-class, third-estate, third-rate, thorny, through, ticklish, tight, tight-fisted, tightfisted, tinny, toilsome, token, tough, trashy, tricky, trot out, troublous, trumpery, two-for-a-cent, two-for-a-penny, twopenny, twopenny-halfpenny, typify, ugly, unaccommodating, uncatholic, uncharitable, unchivalrous, undignified, undistinguished, unfold, ungenerous, ungenteel, unimportant, unkind, unliberal, unmentionable, unnourishing, unnutritious, unpleasant, unpretentious, unskillful, unwashed, uphill, using, usual, valueless, vehicle, vexatious, via, via media, vile, vulgar, waist, waistline, want, waspish, watered, watery, wave, way, ways, wealth, weigh, wherewithal, wicked, wish, without fail, wizard, wonderful, worthless, wretched, zone

Pronunciation

Etymology 1

From Middle English menen, from Old English mǣnan (to mean, signify, consider), from Proto-Germanic *mainijanan (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).

Etymology 2

From Middle English mene, imene, from Old English mǣne, ġemǣne (common, public, general, universal), from Proto-Germanic *gamainiz (common), from Proto-Indo-European *(e)meyǝ- (to change). Cognate with West Frisian mien (general, universal), Dutch gemeen (common, mean), German gemein (common, mean, nasty), Gothic 𐌲𐌰𐌼𐌰𐌹𐌽𐍃 (gamains, common, unclean), Latin commūnis (shared, common, general) (Old Latin comoinem).

Etymology 3

From Middle English meene, from Old French meien (French moyen), Late Latin medianus (that is in the middle, middle), from medius (middle). Cognate with mid.

Etymology 4

From Middle English menen, from Old English mǣnan (to complain about, lament, mourn, grieve), from Proto-Germanic *mainijanan (to be outraged, suffer harm), Proto-Germanic *mainan (deceit, falsehood, shame, sin, crime, perjury), from Proto-Indo-European *(e)meyə-, *mei- (to change). Related to Old English mān (wickedness, crime, sin, perjury), Dutch meineed (perjury), German Meineid (perjury), Danish men (injury); see moan.

Translations

Verb

The translations below need to be checked.

Noun

Quotations

Adjective

The translations below need to be checked.

Adjective

Noun

Verb

Statistics

Anagrams


Manx

Noun

Mean m.

  1. centre, middle
  2. interior
  3. average
    • Trogmayd mean.
      • We will strike an average.

Etymology

From Old Irish medón (middle, centre) < Latin mediānus.

Derived terms


Scottish Gaelic

Adjective

Mean

  1. little, tiny

Synonyms

Derived terms


Spanish

Verb

Mean (infinitive mear)

  1. Second-person plural (ustedes) present indicative form of mear.
  2. Third-person plural (ellos, ellas, also used with ustedes?) present indicative form of mear.
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