1

mean

verb \ ˈmēn \
Updated on: 13 Oct 2017

Definition of mean

meant play \ˈment\; meaning play \ˈmē-niŋ\
transitive verb
1 a : to have in the mind as a purpose : intend
  • she means to win
sometimes used interjectionally with I, chiefly in informal speech for emphasis
  • he throws, I mean, hard
or to introduce a phrase restating the point of a preceding phrase
  • we try to answer what we can, but I mean we're not God
  • —Bobbie Ann Mason
b : to design for or destine to a specified purpose or future
  • I was meant to teach
2 : to serve or intend to convey, show, or indicate : signify
  • a red sky means rain
3 : to have importance to the degree of
  • health means everything
4 : to direct to a particular individual
  • His criticism was meant for all of us.
intransitive verb
: to have an intended purpose
  • he means well

meaner

play \ˈmē-nər\ noun
mean business
: to be in earnest

Examples of mean in a Sentence

  1. The season of backyard barbecues and lakeside cookouts is at hand, which in most parts of the country means an orgy of grilled steaks, hamburgers and hot dogs lasting until Labor Day and beyond. —R. W. Apple, Jr.New York Times5 June 2002
  2. Even the water in the cave was free from surface contamination … which meant that all the water now in Lechugilla percolated into the cave before the widespread nuclear bomb testing of the 1940s … —Jon KrakauerAir & SpaceOctober/November 1995
  3. Home meant my father, with kind eyes, songs, and tense recitations for my brother and myself. —Gwendolyn BrooksBooklist15 Oct. 1993
  4. The word meant one thing in Shakespeare's day, but it means something else now.

  5. Red means “stop” and green means “go.”

  6. Can you tell me what my dream means?

  7. What was meant by the poet?

  8. Don't distort what she meant by taking her words out of context.

  9. He's very ambitious, and I mean that as a compliment.

  10. It's a very easy question. Anyone, and I mean anyone, should be able to answer it.

  11. She's not getting any thinner, if you know what I mean.

  12. She says she didn't mean anything by what she did.

  13. I don't trust him. He means no good.

Origin and Etymology of mean

Middle English menen, from Old English mǣnan; akin to Old High German meinen to have in mind, Old Church Slavonic měniti to mention


2

mean

adjective \ ˈmēn \

Definition of mean

1 : lacking distinction or eminence : humble
2 : lacking in mental discrimination : dull
3 a : of poor, shabby, or inferior quality or status
  • mean city streets
b : worthy of little regard : contemptible often used in negative constructions as a term of praise
  • no mean feat
4 : lacking dignity or honor : base
  • a mean motive
5 a : penurious, stingy
  • He's very mean with his money.
b : characterized by petty selfishness or malice
  • a mean surly man
c : causing trouble or bother : vexatious
  • a mean soil to work
d : excellent, effective
  • plays a mean trumpet
  • a lean, mean athlete
6 : ashamed 1b
  • His ready cooperation made me feel mean for what I had said.

meanness

play \ˈmēn-nəs\ noun

Examples of mean in a Sentence

  1. For thirty years he had been a ruthless litigator, the meanest, nastiest, and without a doubt one of the most effective courtroom brawlers in Chicago. —John GrishamThe Chamber1995
  2. … the streets of Spanish Harlem are meaner than when he left them, and they're pulling him back in. —Peter TraversRolling Stone9 Dec. 1993
  3. … what you discover is the one with the tail was old mean landlord Mr. prosperous Prospero who wielded without thought of God or man the merry old cat-o'-nine-tails … —Darryl PinckneyTimes Literary Supplement23 Aug. 1991
  4. Creighton Abrams was a tanker, according to George Patton the meanest tanker the Germans had faced in the whole U.S. Third Army, and he had a temper that matched the fearsome machines he loved. —Neil SheehanA Bright Shining Lie1988

Origin and Etymology of mean

Middle English mene, from imene common, shared, from Old English gemǣne; akin to Old High German gimeini common, Latin communis common, munus service, gift, Sanskrit mayate he exchanges

Synonym Discussion of mean

mean, ignoble, abject, sordid mean being below the normal standards of human decency and dignity. mean suggests small-mindedness, ill temper, or cupidity.
    • mean and petty satire
ignoble suggests a loss or lack of some essential high quality of mind or spirit.
    • an ignoble scramble after material possessions
abject may imply degradation, debasement, or servility.
    • abject poverty
sordid is stronger than all of these in stressing physical or spiritual degradation and abjectness.
    • a sordid story of murder and revenge

3

mean

adjective \ ˈmēn \

Definition of mean

1 : occupying a middle position : intermediate in space, order, time, kind, or degree
2 : occupying a position about midway between extremes; especially : being the mean of a set of values : average
  • the mean temperature
3 : serving as a means : intermediary

Origin and Etymology of mean

Middle English mene, from Anglo-French mene, meiene, from Latin medianus — more at median

Synonym Discussion of mean

average, mean, median, norm mean something that represents a middle point. average is the quotient obtained by dividing the sum total of a set of figures by the number of figures.
    • scored an average of 85 on tests
mean may be the simple average or it may represent value midway between two extremes.
    • a high of 70° and a low of 50° give a mean of 60°
median applies to the value that represents the point at which there are as many instances above as there are below.
    • average of a group of persons earning 3, 4, 5, 8, and 10 dollars an hour is 6 dollars, whereas the median is 5 dollars
norm means the average of performance of a significantly large group, class, or grade.
    • scores about the norm for fifth grade arithmetic

4

mean

noun \ ˈmēn \

Definition of mean

1 a (1) : something intervening or intermediate
(2) : a middle point between extremes
b : a value that lies within a range of values and is computed according to a prescribed law: such as
c : either of the middle two terms of a proportion
2 means plural in form but singular or plural in construction : something useful or helpful to a desired end
3 means plural : resources available for disposal; especially : material resources affording a secure life
by all means
: most assuredly : certainly
by means of
: through the use of
by no means
: in no way : not at all

Examples of mean in a Sentence

  1. Take all these temperatures and calculate their mean.

  2. trying to find a golden mean between doing too little and doing too much

Origin and Etymology of mean

see 3mean

mean Synonyms

Synonyms
golden mean, medium, middle, middle ground, midpoint, middle of the road
Related Words
arithmetic mean, average; median, norm, par, standard
Near Antonyms
maximum, utmost; minimum

Financial Definition of MEAN

mean

What It Is

The mean is the average of a series of numbers.

How It Works

The formula for calculating a mean is:

Mean = (X1 + X2 + X3 + ... +XN) / N

where X1, X2, X3, XN are the values of the observations being averaged and N equals the number of observations

Let's assume that you would like to find the mean price of Company XYZ for the last four years. Here are the stock prices for each of the four years:

Year 1: $10

Year 2: $15

Year 3: $20

Year 4: $25

Using this information and the formula above, we can calculate that the mean price of Company XYZ is:

($10 + $15 + $20 + $25) / 4 = $17.50

The mean is always between the smallest and the largest of the numbers in the set.

Why It Matters

The mean allows investors to gain some insight into stock prices, economic data, and a host of other information. For instance, if Company XYZ's stock price is trading above the mean, it could indicate that the stock is overvalued.

It is important to note that means are not very useful if the underlying data is erratic. That's because one "outlier" could artificially increase or decrease a mean to a point where it is no longer reflects the nature of the bulk of the underlying data. This is one reason some analysts prefer to use weighted averages in certain circumstances.


MEAN Defined for English Language Learners

mean

verb

Definition of mean for English Language Learners

  • : to have (a particular meaning)

  • : to want or intend to express (a particular idea or meaning)

  • : to have (something) in your mind as a purpose or goal


mean

noun

Definition of mean for English Language Learners

  • : a middle point between two things


MEAN Defined for Kids

1

mean

verb \ ˈmēn \

Definition of mean for Students

meant \ˈment\; meaning \ˈmē-niŋ\
1 : to represent or have as a definite explanation or idea
  • What does this word mean?
2 : to be an indication of
  • Those clouds mean rain.
3 : to have in mind as a purpose
  • He meant to be funny.
4 : to intend for a particular use
  • It's a book meant for children.
5 : to have importance to
  • His visit meant a lot to me.

2

mean

adjective

Definition of mean for Students

meaner; meanest
1 : deliberately unkind
  • That was a mean trick.
2 : stingy 1
3 : low in quality, worth, or dignity
  • That was no mean achievement.
4 : excellent
  • He plays a mean guitar.

meanly

adverb

meanness

noun

3

mean

adjective

Definition of mean for Students

: occurring or being in a middle position : average
  • The mean temperature for June was 70 degrees.

4

mean

noun

Definition of mean for Students

1 : a middle point or something (as a place, time, number, or rate) that falls at or near a middle point : moderation
3 means plural : something that helps a person to get what he or she wants
  • Use every means you can think of to find it.
4 means plural : wealth 1
  • A person of means doesn't worry about money.
by all means
: certainly 1
by any means
: in any way
  • I was not a good student by any means.
by means of
: through the use of
by no means
: certainly not


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