\ ˈman How to pronounce man (audio) , in compounds ˌman or mən \
plural men\ ˈmen How to pronounce man (audio) , in compounds  ˌmen or  mən \

Definition of man

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a(1) : an individual human especially : an adult male human
(2) : a man belonging to a particular category (as by birth, residence, membership, or occupation) usually used in combination councilman
(3) : husband I now pronounce you man and wife.
(4) : lover He was her man.
b : the human race : humankind the history of man
c : a bipedal primate mammal (Homo sapiens) that is anatomically related to the great apes but distinguished especially by notable development of the brain with a resultant capacity for articulate (see articulate entry 1 sense 1a) speech and abstract reasoning, and is the sole living representative of the hominid family broadly : any living or extinct hominid
d(1) : one possessing in high degree the qualities considered distinctive of manhood (such as courage, strength, and vigor)
(2) obsolete : the quality or state of being manly : manliness
e : fellow, chap used as mode of familiar address
f used interjectionally to express intensity of feeling man, what a game
2a : individual, person a man could get killed there
b : the individual who can fulfill or who has been chosen to fulfill one's requirements she's your man
3a : a feudal tenant : vassal
b : an adult male servant
c men plural : the working force as distinguished from the employer and usually the management The men have been on strike for several weeks.
4a : one of the distinctive objects moved by each player in various board games
b : one of the players on a team nine men on each side
5 : an alumnus of or student at a college or university a Bowdoin man
6 Christian Science : the compound idea of infinite Spirit : the spiritual image and likeness of God : the full representation of Mind
7 often capitalized : police when I heard the siren, I knew it was the ManAmer. Speech
8 often capitalized : the white establishment : white society We should control anything that affects black people. Why should The Man control us?— Jimmy Denham
9 : one extremely fond of or devoted to something specified strictly a vanilla ice cream man
as one man
: with the agreement and consent of all : unanimously The council voted as one man.
one's own man
: free from interference or control He left home and moved to the city to become his own man.
to a man
: without exception His friends, to a man, supported him.


manned; manning

Definition of man (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to supply with people (as for service) man a fleet
b : to station members of a ship's crew at man the capstan
c : to serve in the force or complement of man the ticket booth
2 : to accustom (a bird, such as a hawk) to humans and the human environment
3 : to furnish with strength or powers of resistance : brace My hair bristled and my knees shook. I manned myself, however, and determined to return to my quarters.— Sir Walter Scott

Definition of man (Entry 3 of 4)


Definition of Man (Entry 4 of 4)


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Other Words from man


manless \ ˈman-​ləs How to pronounce Man (audio) \ adjective
manlike \ ˈman-​ˌlīk How to pronounce Man (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for man

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of man in a Sentence

Noun He was a shy boy, but he grew to be a strong and confident man. He's a grown man now. The movie is popular with men and women. Are you man enough to meet the challenge? Verb He stocked shelves while I manned the cash register. We'll need someone to man the phones this evening. No one was manning the front desk.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Chicago police have opened a death investigation after a CTA employee discovered an unidentified man unresponsive in a stairway heading to the Blue Line train platform in the Loop neighborhood, officials said. Deanese Williams-harris,, 29 May 2021 The Whiplash star, 34, was punched in the face outside the restroom of the restaurant Monkeypod Kitchen in Maui on Wednesday night by an unknown man, TMZ previously reported. Ally Mauch,, 29 May 2021 Court records show Grimmett pleaded guilty in 2017 to shooting another man with a shotgun. Carol Robinson |, al, 29 May 2021 Cora, recognizing that the game was being played with an emptying hourglass, summoned primary setup man Ottavino for the sixth, the righthander’s earliest entry into a game this year., 29 May 2021 On this possession, the Clippers flirt with a George screen on Leonard’s man, but quickly slip out of it. Shane Young, Forbes, 29 May 2021 That man has called Avila personally several times since then. Michael Ruiz, Fox News, 29 May 2021 Filming had to be stopped, and while LeBlanc was getting his arm put in a sling, the writers hastily devised an alternate storyline in which his man-child character got hurt offscreen, jumping on a bed. Kyle Smith, National Review, 29 May 2021 As a certain chief executive once memorably said: C’mon, man. Ben Yagoda, WSJ, 28 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In Jamaica Plain, Francesco Cupolo, an educator, mushroom forager, and man yearning for kale and community, has taken to cruising the neighborhood with his dog, trying to score advice from people who already have garden plots., 25 Apr. 2021 John Penisini, a rookie sixth-round pick, outplayed Shelton at nose tackle and should man the position this fall. Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press, 16 Mar. 2021 The respected leader of a smokejumping team, she's been reassigned to man a lonesome watchtower following a tragic incident a year prior (seen in flashbacks) involving three kids and mission mismanagement that still haunts her. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 12 May 2021 The trio will be joined by longtime Genesis sideman Daryl Stuermer on guitar and bass, while Nic Collins — son of Phil — will man his dad's old seat at the drums., 3 May 2021 The trio will be joined by longtime Genesis sideman Daryl Stuermer on guitar and bass, while Nic Collins — son of Phil — will man his dad's old seat at the drums. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, 29 Apr. 2021 Since opening in late February, Jones has settled into a routine of getting to the shop around 6:30 a.m., making a run for any supplies that may be low, and then settling in to man the register. Caroline Spivack, Curbed, 7 Apr. 2021 This past year, former defensive coordinator Brandon Staley slid Hill inside to man the slot. Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, 20 Mar. 2021 School system leaders later clarified that principals will have the ability to hire and pay a lead teacher to man the program in their stead on Saturdays. Lillian Reed,, 12 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'man.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of man


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for man

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Old English man, mon human being, male human; akin to Old High German man human being, Sanskrit manu

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Time Traveler for man

Time Traveler

The first known use of man was before the 12th century

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Statistics for man

Last Updated

1 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Man.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for man



English Language Learners Definition of man

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an adult male human being
: a man or boy who shows the qualities (such as strength and courage) that men are traditionally supposed to have
: a woman's husband or boyfriend



English Language Learners Definition of man (Entry 2 of 2)

: to be the person who controls or is in charge of (something)
: to place people at or on (something) to do work


\ ˈman How to pronounce man (audio) \
plural men\ ˈmen \

Kids Definition of man

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : an adult male human being
2 : a human being : person
3 : the human race : mankind
4 : husband entry 1 I now pronounce you man and wife.
5 : an adult male servant or employee
6 : one of the pieces with which various games (as chess and checkers) are played
7 : a member of the group to which human beings belong including both modern humans and extinct related forms


manned; manning

Kids Definition of man (Entry 2 of 3)

: to work at or do the work of operating We rode while students manned the oars.

Kids Definition of Man.



\ ˈman How to pronounce man (audio) \
plural men\ ˈmen How to pronounce man (audio) \

Medical Definition of man

: a bipedal primate mammal of the genus Homo (H. sapiens) that is anatomically related to the great apes (family Pongidae) but is distinguished by greater development of the brain with resulting capacity for articulate speech and abstract reasoning, by marked erectness of body carriage with corresponding alteration of muscular balance and loss of prehensile powers of the foot, and by shortening of the arm with accompanying increase in thumb size and ability to place the thumb next to each of the fingers, that is usually considered to occur in a variable number of freely interbreeding races, and that is the sole living representative of the family Hominidae broadly : any living or extinct member of the family Hominidae

More from Merriam-Webster on man

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for man

Nglish: Translation of man for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of man for Arabic Speakers


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