see also: Man, MAN
  • (RP, America) IPA: /mæn/
  • (ae-tensing) IPA: [mɛən], [meən], [mẽə̃n]
  • (Jamaica) IPA: [mɑn]
  • (New Zealand, parts of South Africa) IPA: [mɛn]

man (plural men)

  1. An adult male human.
    The show is especially popular with middle-aged men.
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, Henry V, act 4, scene 1:
      The king is but a man, as I am; the violet smells to him as it doth to me.
    • 1910, Emerson Hough, chapter I, in The Purchase Price: Or The Cause of Compromise, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, OCLC 639762314 ↗, page 0029 ↗:
      “ […] it is not fair of you to bring against mankind double weapons ! Dangerous enough you are as woman alone, without bringing to your aid those gifts of mind suited to problems which men have been accustomed to arrogate to themselves.”
  2. (collective) All human males collectively: mankind.
    • 2011, Eileen Gray and the Design of Sapphic Modernity: Staying In, page 109:
      Unsurprisingly, if modern man is a sort of camera, modern woman is a picture.
  3. A human, a person of either gender, usually an adult. (See usage notes.)
    every man for himself
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2, act 4, scene 2:
      […] a man cannot make him laugh.
    • 1611, Bible (KJV), Epistle to the Romans 12.17:
      Recompence to no man euill for euill.
    • 1624, John Donne, “17. Meditation”, in Deuotions upon Emergent Occasions, and Seuerall Steps in My Sicknes: […], London: Printed by A[ugustine] M[atthews] for Thomas Iones, OCLC 55189476 ↗; republished as Geoffrey Keynes, John Sparrow, editor, Devotions upon Emergent Occasions: […], Cambridge: At the University Press, 1923, OCLC 459265555 ↗, lines 2–3, page 98 ↗:
      No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine; {{...}
    • circa 1700 Joseph Addison, Monaco, Genoa, &c., page 9:
      A man would expect, in so very ancient a town of Italy, to find some considerable antiquities; but all they have to show of this nature is an old Rostrum of a Roman ship, that stands over the door of their arsenal.
    • 1991 edition (original: 1953), Darell Huff, [// How to Lie with Statistics], pages 19–20:
      Similarly, the next time you learn from your reading that the average man (you hear a good deal about him these days, most of it faintly improbable) brushes his teeth 1.02 times a day—a figure I have just made up, but it may be as good as anyone else's – ask yourself a question. How can anyone have found out such a thing? Is a woman who has read in countless advertisements that non-brushers are social offenders going to confess to a stranger that she does not brush her teeth regularly?
  4. (collective) All humans collectively: mankind, humankind, humanity. (Sometimes capitalized as Man.)
    • 1647, Westminster Shorter Catechism, question 10:
      How did God create man?
      God created man male and female, after his own image, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness, with dominion over the creatures.
  5. (anthropology, archaeology, paleontology) A member of the genus Homo, especially of the species Homo sapiens.
    • 1990, The Almanac of Science and Technology ISBN 0151050503, page 68:
      The evidence suggests that close relatives of early man, in lineages that later became extinct, also were able to use tools.
  6. An male person, usually an adult; a (generally adult male) sentient being, whether human, supernatural, elf, alien, etc.
    • circa 1500 A Gest of Robyn Hode, in the Child Ballads:
      For God is holde a ryghtwys man.
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, Much Ado about Nothing, act 3, scene 5:
      God's a good man.
    • 1609, Ben Jonson, Epicœne, or The silent woman:
      Expect: But was the devil a proper man, gossip?
      As fine a gentleman of his inches as ever I saw trusted to the stage, or any where else.
    • 2008, Christopher Paolini, Brisingr: Or The Seven Promises of Eragon Shadeslayer and Saphira Bjartskular - Inheritance Book Three (ISBN 9780375826726), page 549:
      Clearing a space between the tables, the men tested their prowess against one another with feats of wrestling and archery and bouts with quarterstaves. Two of the elves, a man and a woman, demonstrated their skill with swordplay— […]
    • 2014, Oisin McGann, Kings of the Realm: Cruel Salvation, Penguin UK (ISBN 9780141348704):
      There was a pair of burly dwarves – a woman and a man – bearing the markings of the formidable Thane Guards.
  7. An adult male who has, to an eminent degree, qualities considered masculine, such as strength, integrity, and devotion to family; a mensch.
    • 1883, Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island:
      He’s more a man than any pair of rats of you in this here house […]
    • 2011, Timothy Shephard, Can We Help Us?: Growing Up Bi-Racial in America ISBN 1456754610, page 181:
      I had the opportunity to marry one of them but wasn't mature enough to be a man and marry her and be close to the […] children and raise them […].
  8. (uncountable, obsolete, uncommon) Manliness; the quality or state of being manly.
    • 1598, Ben Jonson, Every Man in His Humour
      Methought he bare himself in such a fashion, / So full of man, and sweetness in his carriage, / […]
  9. A husband.
    • Book of Common Prayer:
      I pronounce that they are man and wife.
    • 1715, Joseph Addison, The Freeholder:
      In the next place, every wife ought to answer for her man.
  10. A lover; a boyfriend.
  11. A male enthusiast or devotee; a male who is very fond of or devoted to a specified kind of thing. (Used as the last element of a compound.)
    Some people prefer apple pie, but me, I’m a cherry pie man.
  12. A person, usually male, who has duties or skills associated with a specified thing. (Used as the last element of a compound.)
    I wanted to be a guitar man on a road tour, but instead I’m a flag man on a road crew.
  13. A person, usually male, who can fulfill one's requirements with regard to a specified matter.
    • 2007, Thriller: Stories to Keep You Up All Night ISBN 0778324567, page 553:
      "She's the man for the job."
    • 2008, Soccer Dad: A Father, a Son, and a Magic Season ISBN 160239329X, page 148:
      Joanie volunteered, of course — if any dirty job is on offer requiring running, she's your man
    • 2012, The Island Caper: A Jake Lafferty Action Novel ISBN 1622951999, page 34:
      He also owns the only backhoe tractor on Elbow Cay, so whenever anyone needs a cistern dug, he's their man.
  14. A male who belongs to a particular group: an employee, a student or alumnus, a representative, etc.
    • 1909, Harper's Weekly, volume 53, page iii:
      When President Roosevelt goes walking in the country about Washington he is always accompanied by two Secret Service men.
    • 1913, Robert Herrick, One Woman's Life, page 46:
      "And they're very good people, I assure you — he's a Harvard man." It was the first time Milly had met on intimate terms a graduate of a large university.
  15. An adult male servant.
  16. (historical) A vassal; a subject.
    Like master, like man. (old proverb)
    all the king's men
    • circa 1700s William Blackstone:
      The vassal, or tenant, kneeling, ungirt, uncovered, and holding up his hands between those of his lord, professed that he did become his man from that day forth, of life, limb, and earthly honour.
  17. A piece or token used in board games such as chess.
    • 1883, Henry Richter, Chess Simplified!, page 4:
      The white men are always put on that side of the board which commences by row I, and the black men are placed opposite.
  18. (Multicultural London English, slang) Used to refer to oneself or one's group: I, we; construed in the third person.
    • 2011, Top Boy:
      Sully: If it weren’t for that snake ... Man wouldn’t even be in this mess right now.
  19. A term of familiar address often implying on the part of the speaker some degree of authority, impatience, or haste.
    Come on, man, we've got no time to lose!
  20. A friendly term of address usually reserved for other adult males.
    Hey, man, how's it goin'?
  21. (sports) A player on whom another is playing, with the intent of limiting their attacking impact.
    • 2018 Dinny Navaratnam, Andrews will learn from experience: Fagan ↗ Brisbane Lions, 30 July 2018. Accessed 6 August 2018.
      "It was a brutal return to football for Brisbane Lions defender Harris Andrews as his man Tom Hawkins booted seven goals but Lions Coach Chris Fagan said the team's defensive faults, rather than the backman's, allowed the big Cat to dominate."
Synonyms Adjective

man (not comparable)

  1. Only used in man enough#English|man enough
  1. Used to place emphasis upon something or someone; sometimes, but not always, when actually addressing a man.
    Man, that was a great catch!
Translations Verb

man (mans, present participle manning; past and past participle manned)

  1. (transitive) To supply (something) with staff or crew (of either sex).
    The ship was manned with a small crew.
  2. (transitive) To take up position in order to operate (something).
    Man the machine guns!
  3. (reflexive, possibly dated) To brace (oneself), to fortify or steel (oneself) in a manly way. (Compare man up.)
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To wait on, attend to or escort.
  5. (transitive, obsolete, chiefly, falconry) To accustom (a raptor or other type of bird) to the presence of people.
Translations Translations
Proper noun
  1. The genus Homo.
  2. (poetic) Humankind in general.
Translations Proper noun
  1. The Isle of Man.
Proper noun
  1. Abbreviation of Manitoba#English|Manitoba.
Proper noun
  1. Surname of Chinese origin.
Proper noun
  1. Surname of Chinese origin.


man (plural mans)

  1. (computing) Initialism of Metropolitan Area Network a large computer network usually spanning a city

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