Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Something having a position, quality, or condition midway between extremes; a medium.
  • noun A number that typifies a set of numbers, such as a geometric mean or an arithmetic mean.
  • noun The average value of a set of numbers.
  • noun Logic The middle term in a syllogism.
  • noun A method, a course of action, or an instrument by which an act can be accomplished or an end achieved.
  • noun Money, property, or other wealth.
  • noun Great wealth.
  • adjective Occupying a middle or intermediate position between two extremes.
  • adjective Intermediate in size, extent, quality, time, or degree; medium.
  • idiom (by all means) Without fail; certainly.
  • idiom (by any means) In any way possible; to any extent.
  • idiom (by means of) With the use of; owing to.
  • idiom (by no means) In no sense; certainly not.
  • intransitive verb To be used to convey; denote.
  • intransitive verb To act as a symbol of; signify or represent.
  • intransitive verb To intend to convey or indicate.
  • intransitive verb To have as a purpose or an intention; intend.
  • intransitive verb To design, intend, or destine for a certain purpose or end.
  • intransitive verb To have as a consequence; bring about.
  • intransitive verb To have the importance or value of.
  • intransitive verb To have intentions of a specified kind; be disposed.
  • idiom (mean business) To be in earnest.
  • adjective Lacking in kindness; unkind.
  • adjective Cruel, spiteful, or malicious.
  • adjective Expressing spite or malice.
  • adjective Tending toward or characterized by cruelty or violence.
  • adjective Extremely unpleasant or disagreeable.
  • adjective Ignoble; base: synonym: base.
  • adjective Miserly; stingy.
  • adjective Low in value, rank, or social status.
  • adjective Common or poor in appearance; shabby.
  • adjective Hard to cope with; difficult or troublesome.
  • adjective Excellent; skillful.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To have in mind, view, or contemplation; intend; hence, to purpose or design.
  • To signify, or be intended to signify; indicate; import; denote.
  • To mention; tell; express.
  • To be minded or disposed; have intentions of some kind: usually joined with an adverb: as, he means well.
  • To have thought or ideas; have meaning.
  • To speak; talk.
  • Common; general.
  • Of a common or low origin, grade, quality, etc.; common; humble: as, a man of mean parentage; mean birth or origin; a mean abode.
  • Characteristic of or commonly pertaining to persons or things of low degree; common; inferior; poor; shabby: as, a mean appearance; mean dress.
  • Without dignity of mind; destitute of honor; low-minded; spiritless; base.
  • Niggardly; penurious; miserly; stingy.—

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English mene, middle, from Old French meien, from Latin mediānus, from medius; see medhyo- in Indo-European roots.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English menen, from Old English mǣnan, to tell of; see mei-no- in Indo-European roots.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old English gemǣne, common; see mei- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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, exchange, share”). 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).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.

Examples

Comments

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

  • Something unmeant occurred when the Wiktionary definition was parsed (and number eight is clearly a bug here or a bad edit there), but it comes off vaguely narrative and poetic.

    September 30, 2011

  • too many definitions of this word. ugh.

    January 7, 2016