English
mean
Pronunciation
Verb

mean (means, present participle meaning; past and past participle meant)

1. To intend.
1. (transitive) To intend, to plan (to do); to have as one's intention. [from 8th c.]
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.
The authors meant a challenge to the status quo.
2. (intransitive) To have as intentions of a given kind. [from 14th c.]
Don't be angry; she meant well.
3. (transitive, usually in passive) To intend (something) for a given purpose or fate; to predestine. [from 16th c.]
Actually this desk was meant for the subeditor.
Man was not meant to question such things.
4. (transitive) To intend an ensuing comment or statement as an explanation.
Your reasoning seems needlessly abstruse, complex, and verbose for me. I mean, could you dumb it down for my sake?
2. To convey (a meaning).
1. (transitive) To convey (a given sense); to signify, or indicate (an object or idea). [from 8th c.]
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. [from 8th c.]
What does this hieroglyph mean?
• A term should be included if it's likely that someone would run across it and want to know what it means. This in turn leads to the somewhat more formal guideline of including a term if it is attested and idiomatic.
3. (transitive) Of a person (or animal etc): to intend to express, to imply, to hint at, to allude.
I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean.
He is a little different, if you know what I mean.
3. (transitive) To have conviction in (something said or expressed); to be sincere in (what one says). [from 18th c.]
Does she really mean what she said to him last night?
Say what you mean and mean what you say.
4. (transitive) To cause or produce (a given result); to bring about (a given result). [from 19th c.]
One faltering step means certain death.
5. (usually with to) To be of some level of importance.
That little dog meant everything to me.
This shared cup of coffee means something to us.
Formality and titles mean nothing in their circle.
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• Russian: предназначать
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• German: meinen
• Italian: intendere
• Portuguese: falar sério
• Russian: име́ть в виду́
• Spanish: decir en serio
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Verb

mean (means, present participle meaning; past and past participle meaned)

1. (Ireland, UK regional) To lament.
• c. 1385, William Langland, Piers Plowman, III:
Thanne morned Mede · and mened hire to the kynge / To haue space to speke · spede if she myȝte.
• 1560 (1677), Spottiswood Hist. Ch. Scot. iii. (1677), page 144:
They were forced to mean our estate to the Queen of England.
• 1845, Wodrow Society Select Biographies:
All the tyme of his sickness he never said, "Alace!" or meaned any pain, whilk was marvellous. Never man died in greater peace of mind or body.
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mean (comparative meaner, superlative meanest)

1. (obsolete) Common; general.
2. Of a common or low origin, grade, or quality; common; humble.
a man of mean parentage / a mean abode
3. Low in quality or degree; inferior; poor; shabby.
a mean appearance / mean dress
4. Without dignity of mind; destitute of honour; low-minded; spiritless; base.
• [https://web.archive.org/web/20180821143336/https://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/movie_script.php?movie=ivanhoe Ivanhoe (1952 film)]
Prince John: "Your foe has bloodied you, sir knight. Will you concede defeat? You fight too well to die so mean a death. Will you not throw in your lot with me instead?
Ivanhoe: "That would be an even meaner death, Your Grace."
a mean motive
• Can you imagine I so mean could prove, / To save my life by changing of my love?
5. Of little value or account; worthy of little or no regard; contemptible; despicable.
• 1708, John Philips, Cyder
The Roman legions and great Caesar found / Our fathers no mean foes.
6. (chiefly, UK) Ungenerous; stingy; tight-fisted.
He's so mean. I've never seen him spend so much as five pounds on presents for his children.
7. Disobliging; pettily offensive or unaccommodating; small.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. Powerful; fierce; harsh; damaging.
It must have been a mean typhoon that levelled this town.
11. Accomplished with great skill; deft; hard to compete with.
Your mother can roll a mean cigarette.
He hits a mean backhand.
12. (informal, often, childish) Difficult, tricky.
This problem is mean!
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mean (not comparable)

1. Having the mean (see noun below) as its value.
2. (obsolete) Middling; intermediate; moderately good, tolerable.
• 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy: […], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 54573970 ↗:
, 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 […].
• being of middle age and a mean stature
• [1644], [John Milton], Of Education. To Master Samuel Hartlib, [London: Printed for Thomas Underhill and/or for Thomas Johnson], OCLC 946735316 ↗:
according to the fittest style of lofty, mean, or lowly
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Noun

mean (plural means)

1. (now, chiefly, in the plural) A method or course of action used to achieve some result. [from 14th c.]
• 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays, II.5:
To say truth, it is a meane full of uncertainty and danger.
• You may be able, by this mean, to review your own scientific acquirements.
• Philosophical doubt is not an end, but a mean.
• 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. (obsolete, in the singular) An intermediate step or intermediate steps.
• a. 1563, Thomas Harding, "To the Reader", in The Works of John Jewel (1845 ed.)
Verily in this treatise this hath been mine only purpose; and the mean to bring the same to effect hath been such as whereby I studied to profit wholesomely, not to please delicately.
• 1606, The Trials of Robert Winter, Thomas Winter, Guy Fawkes, John Grant, Ambrose Rookwood, Rob. Keyes, Thomas Bates, and Sir Everard Digby, at Westminster, for High Treason, being Conspirators in the Gunpowder-Plot
That it was lawful and meritorious to kill and destroy the king, and all the said hereticks. — The mean to effect it, they concluded to be, that, 1. The king, the queen, the prince, the lords spiritual and temporal, the knights and burgoses of the parliament, should be blown up with powder. 2. That the whole royal issue male should be destroyed. S. That they would lake into their custody Elizabeth and Mary the king's daughters, and proclaim the lady Elizabeth queen. 4. That they should feign a Proclamation in the name of Elizabeth, in which no mention should be made of alteration of religion, nor that they were parties to the treason, until they had raised power to perform the same; and then to proclaim, all grievances in the kingdom should be reformed.
• a. 1623, John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi
Apply desperate physic: / We must not now use balsamum, but fire, / The smarting cupping-glass, for that's the mean / To purge infected blood, such blood as hers.
3. Something which is intermediate or in the middle; an intermediate value or range of values; a medium. [from 14th c.]
• 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.
4. (music, now, historical) The middle part of three-part polyphonic music; now specifically, the alto part in polyphonic music; an alto instrument. [from 15th c.]
• 1624, John Smith, Generall Historie, in Kupperman 1988, page 147:
Of these [rattles] they have Base, Tenor, Countertenor, Meane, and Treble.
5. (statistics) The average of a set of values, calculated by summing them together and dividing by the number of terms; the arithmetic mean. [from 15th c.]
6. (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,[http://books.google.com/books?id=5Lp_p6bLD2IC ] 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,[http://books.google.com/books?id=4qA2qZhVb9AC ] 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,[http://books.google.com/books?id=GybdNuNsarIC ] 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.
7. (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 \frac{18}{27}=\frac23, the product of the means is 2\cdot27, and the product of the extremes is 18\cdot3. Both products are 54.
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MEAN
Proper noun
1. (computing) Initialism of MongoDB, Express.js, AngularJS, Node.js: a software stack for developing web sites with both client-side and server-side use of JavaScript.

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