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mean Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun an average of n numbers computed by adding some function of the numbers and dividing by some function of n
    mean value.
  2. verb mean or intend to express or convey
    • You never understand what I mean!
    • what do his words intend?
  3. verb have as a logical consequence
    imply; entail.
    • The water shortage means that we have to stop taking long showers
  4. verb denote or connote
    signify; intend; stand for.
    • `maison' means `house' in French
    • An example sentence would show what this word means
  5. verb have in mind as a purpose
    intend; think.
    • I mean no harm
    • I only meant to help you
    • She didn't think to harm me
    • We thought to return early that night
  6. verb have a specified degree of importance
    • My ex-husband means nothing to me
    • Happiness means everything
  7. verb intend to refer to
    think of; have in mind.
    • I'm thinking of good food when I talk about France
    • Yes, I meant you when I complained about people who gossip!
  8. verb destine or designate for a certain purpose
    • These flowers were meant for you
  9. adjective satellite approximating the statistical norm or average or expected value
    • the average income in New England is below that of the nation
    • of average height for his age
    • the mean annual rainfall
  10. adjective satellite characterized by malice
    • a hateful thing to do
    • in a mean mood
  11. adjective satellite having or showing an ignoble lack of honor or morality
    base; meanspirited.
    • that liberal obedience without which your army would be a base rabble"- Edmund Burke
    • taking a mean advantage
    • chok'd with ambition of the meaner sort"- Shakespeare
    • something essentially vulgar and meanspirited in politics
  12. adjective satellite excellent
    • famous for a mean backhand
  13. adjective satellite marked by poverty befitting a beggar
    • a beggarly existence in the slums
    • a mean hut
  14. adjective satellite (used of persons or behavior) characterized by or indicative of lack of generosity
    tight; miserly; mingy.
    • a mean person
    • he left a miserly tip
  15. adjective satellite (used of sums of money) so small in amount as to deserve contempt
  16. adjective satellite of no value or worth
    • I was caught in the bastardly traffic

Mean transitive verb
OE. menen, AS. m&aemac;nan to recite, tell, intend, wish; akin to OS. menian to have in mind, mean, D. meenen, G. meinen, OHG. meinan, Icel. meina, Sw. mena, Dan. mene, and to E. mind. . See Mind, and cf. Moan.
imperfect & past participle Meant ; present participle & verbal noun Meaning
  1. To have in the mind, as a purpose, intention, etc.; to intend; to purpose; to design; as, what do you mean to do ?
    What mean ye by this service ? Ex. xii. 26.
    Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good. Gen. 1. 20.
    I am not a Spaniard To say that it is yours and not to mean it. Longfellow.
  2. To signify; to indicate; to import; to denote.
    What mean these seven ewe lambs ? Gen. xxi. 29.
    Go ye, and learn what that meneth. Matt. ix. 13.
Mean intransitive verb
  1. To have a purpose or intention. Rare, except in the phrase to mean well, or ill. Shak.
Mean adjective
OE. mene, AS. mne wicked; akin to man, a., wicked, n., wickedness, OS. mn wickedness, OHG. mein, G. meineid perjury, Icel. mein harm, hurt, and perh. to AS. gemne common, general, D. gemeen, G. gemein, Goth. gamáins, and L. communis. The AS. gemne prob. influenced the meaning.
comparative Meaner ; superlative Meanest
  1. Destitute of distinction or eminence; common; low; vulgar; humble. "Of mean parentage." Sir P. Sidney.
    The mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself. Is. ii. 9.
  2. Wanting dignity of mind; low-minded; base; destitute of honor; spiritless; as, a mean motive.
    Can you imagine I so mean could prove, To save my life by changing of my love ? Dryden.
  3. Of little value or account; worthy of little or no regard; contemptible; despicable.
    The Roman legions and great Cæsar found Our fathers no mean foes. J. Philips.
  4. Of poor quality; as, mean fare.
  5. Penurious; stingy; close-fisted; illiberal; as, mean hospitality. Mean is sometimes used in the formation of compounds, the sense of which is obvious without explanation; as, meanborn, mean-looking, etc. Syn. -- Base; ignoble; abject; beggarly; wretched; degraded; degenerate; vulgar; vile; servile; menial; spiritless; groveling; slavish; dishonorable; disgraceful; shameful; despicable; contemptible; paltry; sordid. See Base.
Mean adjective
OE. mene, OF. meiien, F. moyen, fr. L. medianus that is in the middle, fr. medius; akin to E. mid. See Mid.
  1. Occupying a middle position; middle; being about midway between extremes.
    Being of middle age and a mean stature. Sir. P. Sidney.
  2. Intermediate in excellence of any kind.
    According to the fittest style of lofty, mean, or lowly. Milton.
  3. (Math.) Average; having an intermediate value between two extremes, or between the several successive values of a variable quantity during one cycle of variation; as, mean distance; mean motion; mean solar day.
Mean noun
  1. That which is mean, or intermediate, between two extremes of place, time, or number; the middle point or place; middle rate or degree; mediocrity; medium; absence of extremes or excess; moderation; measure.
    But to speak in a mean, the virtue of prosperity is temperance; the virtue of adversity is fortitude. Bacon.
    There is a mean in all things. Dryden.
    The extremes we have mentioned, between which the wellinstracted Christian holds the mean, are correlatives. I. Taylor.
  2. (Math.) A quantity having an intermediate value between several others, from which it is derived, and of which it expresses the resultant value; usually, unless otherwise specified, it is the simple average, formed by adding the quantities together and dividing by their number, which is called an arithmetical mean. A geometrical mean is the square root of the product of the quantities.
  3. That through which, or by the help of which, an end is attained; something tending to an object desired; intermediate agency or measure; necessary condition or coagent; instrument.
    Their virtuous conversation was a mean to work the conversion of the heathen to Christ. Hooker.
    You may be able, by this mean, to review your own scientific acquirements. Coleridge.
    Philosophical doubt is not an end, but a mean. Sir W. Hamilton.
    ✍ In this sense the word is usually employed in the plural form means, and often with a singular attribute or predicate, as if a singular noun.
    By this means he had them more at vantage. Bacon.
    What other means is left unto us. Shak.
  4. pl. Hence: Resources; property, revenue, or the like, considered as the condition of easy livelihood, or an instrumentality at command for effecting any purpose; disposable force or substance.
    Your means are very slender, and your waste is great. Shak.
  5. (Mus.) A part, whether alto or tenor, intermediate between the soprano and base; a middle part. Obs.
    The mean is drowned with your unruly base. Shak.
  6. Meantime; meanwhile. Obs. Spenser.
  7. A mediator; a go-between. Obs. Piers Plowman.
    He wooeth her by means and by brokage. Chaucer.
    The wine on this side of the lake is by no means so good as that on the other. Addison.

Webster 1913

"Rowling never met an adverb she didn't like."

-Stephen King on J.K Rowling's excessive use of adverbs.

Fear not the Adverb Hell!

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