from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A measure of weight in Persia, varying in value, in different localities, from about 6 to about 25 pounds.
  • noun Abbreviations of Manitoba.
  • To supply with men; furnish with a sufficient force or complement of men, as for service, defense, or the like.
  • To brace up in a manful way; make manly or courageous: used reflexively.
  • To wait on; attend; escort.
  • To accustom to the presence or company of man; tame, as a hawk or other bird.
  • noun In Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Lonsdale, a cairn or pile of stones marking a summit- or prominent point of a mountain. Compare Low Man, High Man, as local names for particular cairns, also applied to portions of the mountains themselves.
  • noun A loafer who hangs about street-corners.
  • noun In building a camp or barn of logs, one who notches the logs so that they will fit closely and make a square corner.
  • noun One who makes a corner in stocks or commodities.
  • noun A fielder who stands beyond point, but farther from the wicket, and more behind it.
  • noun His position in the field.
  • noun An honest, upright man.
  • noun In zoology, a featherless plantigrade biped mammal of the genus.Homo (which see); H. sapiens, a species of the family Hominidæ or Anthropidæ, order Primates, class Mammalia, of which there are several geographical races or varieties. : ; ; ; ;
  • noun A being, whether super- or infra-natural; a person.
  • noun An individual of the human race; a human being; a person: as, all men are mortal.
  • noun Generically, the human race; mankind; human beings collectively: used without article or plural: as, man is born to trouble; the rights of man.
  • noun Specifically
  • noun A male adult of the human race, as distinguished from a woman or a boy; one who has attained manhood, or who is regarded as of manly estate.
  • noun In an emphatic sense, an adult male possessing manly qualities in an eminent degree; one who has the gifts or virtues of true manhood.
  • noun The qualities which characterize true manhood; manliness.
  • noun An adult male considered as in some sense appertaining to or under the control of another person; a vassal, follower, servant, attendant, or employee; one immediately subject to the will of another: as, the officers and men of an army; a gentleman's man (a valet or body-servant); I am no man's man.
  • noun A husband: as, my man is not at home (said by a wife).
  • noun One subject to a mistress; a lover or suitor.
  • noun A word of familiar address, often implying some degree of disparagement or impatience.
  • noun A piece with which a game, as chess or checkers, is played.
  • noun Nautical, in compounds, a ship or other vessel: as, man-of-war; merchantman, Indiaman, etc.
  • noun plural See dead.
  • noun In some parts of England, a coal-cutting machine.
  • noun A man-at-arms.
  • noun Antichrist.
  • noun An imaginary or an irresponsible person put forward as substitute or surety for another, or for any fraudulent purpose.
  • noun See man-of-war.
  • noun In Scripture, man unregenerate or unrenewed; the old man (see below).
  • noun In Scripture, unregenerate humanity; also, the fallen human nature inherited from Adam and operative in the regenerate, though not in the same manner or degree as in the unregenerate.
  • noun The father of a family; the “governor.”
  • noun The captain or commanding officer, as of troops, a vessel, etc.; the proprietor or employer: so called by his men.
  • noun Theat., an actor who is usually cast for the parts of old men.
  • noun In certain outdoor games, the leader; “it.”

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To supply with men; to furnish with a sufficient force or complement of men, as for management, service, defense, or the like; to guard.
  • transitive verb To furnish with strength for action; to prepare for efficiency; to fortify.
  • transitive verb rare To tame, as a hawk.
  • transitive verb obsolete To furnish with a servant or servants.
  • transitive verb obsolete To wait on as a manservant.
  • transitive verb (Naut.) to send men upon a yard, as for furling or reefing a sail.
  • transitive verb (Naut.) to station men on the yards as a salute or mark of respect.
  • noun A human being; -- opposed to beast.
  • noun An adult male person; a grown-up male person, as distinguished from a woman or a child.
  • noun The human race; mankind.
  • noun The male portion of the human race.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English man, from Old English mann ("human being, person, man"), from Proto-Germanic *mann- (“human being, man”), probably from Proto-Indo-European *man- (“man”) (compare also *men- (“mind”)). Cognate with West Frisian man, Dutch man, German Mann ("man"), Norwegian mann ("man"), Old Swedish maþer ("man"), Swedish man, Russian муж (muž, "male person"), Avestan 𐬨𐬀𐬥𐬱 (manuš), Sanskrit मनु (manu, "human being").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English mannen, from Old English mannian, ġemannian ("to man, supply with men, populate, garrison"), from mann ("human being, man"). Cognate with Dutch mannen ("to man"), German mannen ("to man"), Swedish bemanna ("to man"), Icelandic manna ("to supply with men, man").


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word man.


  • ˜Every man or (a) donkey runs™, that is to say, whether only the term ˜man™ or the whole subject is distributed.

    John Buridan Zupko, Jack 2006

  • Kretzmann and Stump, p. For example, ˜man™ immediately signifies the concept man, but by mediation of the concept it signifies the second substance or form of man.

    Medieval Theories: Properties of Terms Read, Stephen 2006

  • The owner of the Peony had that to his credit at least—no pilferage: an anxious man, a worried man—

    2005 Cherryh, C. J. 2005

  • I have more sympathy with Dante the man than Goethe the man…

    Eliot's English Usage Craft, Robert 1976

  • In the sentence, "The man is happy; _he_ is benevolent; _he_ is useful;" you perceive, that the word _he_ is used instead of the noun _man; _ consequently _he_ must be a _pronoun_.

    English Grammar in Familiar Lectures Samuel Kirkham

  • You observe, too, that, by making use of the pronoun _he_ in this sentence, we avoid the _repetition_ of the _noun_ man, for without the pronoun, the sentence would be rendered thus, "The man is happy; _the man_ is benevolent; _the man_ is useful."

    English Grammar in Familiar Lectures Samuel Kirkham

  • "But ... after you've been up against a proposition like that, and come through, it certainly makes a man feel like a _man_!"

    Where the Sun Swings North Barrett Willoughby

  • In the expressions, The man walks -- The boy plays -- Thunders roll --- Warriors fight -- you perceive that the words _walks, plays, roll_, and _fight_, are _active verbs; _ and you cannot be at a loss to know, that the nouns _man, boy, thunders_, and

    English Grammar in Familiar Lectures Samuel Kirkham

  • This vision of man, the master of his own destinies, the searcher for truth and the shaper of a better life for the only existence that he knows anything about, this reliance of _man upon man_, and without the supposed interference of any god, constitutes atheism in its broadest and true sense.

    The Necessity of Atheism David Marshall Brooks

  • If we may safely apply Trotter's generalization to the present antagonism among groups (within nations, and also national groups) we might say that the rapid differentiation of the human species has had an effect of creating within the species _man_ a large number of types of sub-specific value, and in this respect man differs greatly from any other species.

    The Psychology of Nations A Contribution to the Philosophy of History G.E. Partridge


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Man is an off/on switch...a very SPECIAL off/on switch.

    --Jan Cox

    October 17, 2007

  • If it was a new atlas, I assume it would be 'old man'.

    August 28, 2008

  • The "take charge of a certain job" definition is the most red-flaggingly offensive of the various questionable meanings of WordNet's list above, methinks.

    November 27, 2008

  • I can't imagine how that one might work actually. Can anyone construe a setence using man in the sense of "take charge"?

    November 27, 2008

  • "Would you please man the wheel of the ship whilst I do some yoga?"

    "Would you man the switchboard while I go take a dump?"

    November 27, 2008

  • Well, those are "provide with staff" or "occupy a certain workplace", sure. Man the halyards, etc. I assumed by "take charge" the definition meant "take charge of other people", but I see now that it just means "take charge of a task".

    Personally I'm not offended by that usage, but I can see why others are.

    November 27, 2008

  • Whichbe's right, there are some odd ones up there. 'A male subordinate' is just asking for trouble.

    November 27, 2008

  • Brilliant website!

    July 1, 2009

  • A miserable pile of secrets.

    February 5, 2012

  • Typical of WeirdNet that the number one definition is..."game equipment consisting of an object used in playing certain board games."

    December 22, 2013