\ˈman, in compounds ˌman or mən\
plural men\ ˈmen , 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 surprise that any black … should take on so about The Man— Peter Goldman

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


abbreviation (1)

Definition of man (Entry 3 of 4)



abbreviation (2)

Definition of Man (Entry 4 of 4)


Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from man


manless \ ˈman-​ləs \ adjective
manlike \ -​ˌlīk \ adjective

Examples of man in a Sentence


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?


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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Mayor Hermione comes to school and bans the game (publicly revealing that Ben and Dilton’s deaths, and Ethel’s near-death, were linked to it) and sets up a 24-hour crisis hotline manned by Kevin, who is actually only there after school. Jessica Macleish, Teen Vogue, "Someone Died in the Riverdale Flashback Episode and I Need to Talk About It ASAP," 8 Nov. 2018 The previous clinic was manned by 2 mid-level nurse practitioners. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Tesla’s on-site health clinic accused of undercounting worker injuries," 6 Nov. 2018 Florida will likely rely on a 39-year-old Roberto Luongo and James Reimer to man the crease this season. Matthew Defranks,, "Panthers can plug secondary needs when NHL free agency opens Sunday," 1 July 2018 To temper the chaos and ensure everyone was able to still have a good time on Saturday, the owners of Native brought in extra servers and security to man the doors. Atreya Verma, azcentral, "Pancho Villa’s Army brings together Mexico fans for Laveen watch party," 23 June 2018 At the base of the run, Foote’s support crew of more than a dozen friends manned a folding table with homemade snacks and an assortment of fluids, like water mixed with Skratch Labs supplements and warm tea. Elliott D. Woods, Outside Online, "How Mike Foote Set an Obscure 24-Hour Skiing Record," 20 Mar. 2018 Access is through checkpoints manned by the army and CJTF, who demand bribes. The Economist, "The fight against Islamic State is moving to Africa," 14 July 2018 The rise of these farms manned by young farmers has fallen in step with a growing number of consumers who are more conscientious about where their food is coming from. Katie Park,, "Like your organic food? Pennsylvania's young farmers are growing it," 11 July 2018 On top of that, Dixon has emerged as a huge recruiting target for Michigan, who has made him their top target at Don Brown's VIPER position currently manned by standout Khaleke Hudson and formerly by Heisman finalist Jabrill Peppers. Steve Lorenz, Detroit Free Press, "West Bloomfield prospect Lance Dixon getting familiar with Michigan," 14 Feb. 2018

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.

See More

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


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


see man entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about man

Dictionary Entries near man






man's best friend

man's man

Statistics for man

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for man

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \
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 \
plural men\ ˈmen \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on man

What made you want to look up man? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!