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


Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from man


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

Synonyms for man

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Portland Trail Blazers big man already had to wait more than a year to make his return from a compound leg fracture that kept him out since March 2019. oregonlive, "The coronavirus pandemic gave Trail Blazers’ Jusuf Nurkic extra time to rehab. Now he’s back, with no minutes restrictions," 3 July 2020 Skeptics have largely dismissed fears over man’s impact on global warming, saying climate change has been going on since the beginning of time. Fox News, "Global warming over past 150 years has wiped out 6,500 years of cooling, study says," 3 July 2020 Schools would be required to play eight-man for a two-year enrollment cycle. Kyle Neddenriep, The Indianapolis Star, "New state finals schedule coming for Indiana high school football, eight-man up for vote," 3 July 2020 Jonathan Irons, 40, walked out of the Jefferson City Correctional Center a free man Wednesday -- four months after a judge overturned his conviction on burglary and assault charges from an incident that took place in 1998. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, "WNBA star Maya Moore shares video of wrongly convicted Missouri man's release from prison," 3 July 2020 Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, clocks in at 28 miles per hour. Lesley Kennedy, CNN Underscored, "The best blenders of 2020," 3 July 2020 On Wednesday, after spending 23 years behind bars, Irons walked out of the Jefferson City Correctional Center a free man. Ann Killion,, "Maya Moore and Kylin Hill are 2 reasons to never say ‘shut up and dribble’," 2 July 2020 Police were talking to that man, and additional details will be made available later Thursday, Sternbeck said. Peter Hermann, Washington Post, "D.C. police officer stabbed while responding to call in downtown Washington," 2 July 2020 And on Wednesday, Irons, now 40, walked out of the maximum security prison a free man. Taiia Smart Young, Essence, "WNBA Star Maya Moore Helped Jonathan Irons Win His Freedom After Being Wrongfully Convicted," 2 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Top 100 wide receivers Mookie Cooper and Jaxon Smith-Njigba will have a college year under their belt and can man that spot if needed. Stephen Means, cleveland, "Garrett Wilson is another example of how Ohio State football uses wide receivers: Buckeye Take," 3 July 2020 Shure Vocal Master, an old P.A. system and man the spring reverb on that thing are absolutely crazy. Matt Wake |, al, "Alabama producer talks J. Cole hit, work with Whitney, Tarantino, Erykah Badu," 1 July 2020 Currently, some 5,000 troops man the southern border, roughly evenly split at 2,600 active duty and 2,400 National Guard. Jamie Mcintyre, Washington Examiner, "After virtual NATO ministerial, US defense secretary makes personal appearance in Brussels to reassure nervous allies," 26 June 2020 In Nebraska, the National Guard was called out in May to help man short staffed polls. Pat Beall And John Moritz, USA TODAY, "COVID endangers the volunteers who make your vote count," 19 June 2020 Such was the chaos outside many of the outlets that many of these locations had to be manned by the police to ensure a measure of normalcy and, more importantly, social distancing, given that India is still battling the deadly virus. Harish Pullanoor, Quartz India, "In photos: What happened when India’s liquor shops reopened after 40 days of lockdown," 4 May 2020 As of last weekend, three cruise ships empty of passengers but manned by crews remained in Australian ports and had not made plans to depart, the spokesman for the Australian Department of Home Affairs added. Dalton Bennett, Anchorage Daily News, "Cruise crew members are stuck at sea with paydays dwindling, searching for a way home," 14 Apr. 2020 The checkpoints, manned by Security Forces troops who review all IDs before allowing people on the base, are one of the more likely areas where contagious drivers or passengers will likely interact with the guards. Sig Christenson,, "Air Force cancels San Antonio basic training graduation parade," 11 Mar. 2020 For suffering hospitality workers who once manned the hotels and bars throughout the city, the economic reopening of the state cannot come soon enough. Fox News, "For hospitality workers affected by coronavirus pandemic, economic reopening can’t come soon enough," 13 May 2020

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

Noun and Verb

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about man

Time Traveler for man

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for man

Last Updated

6 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Man.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for man


How to pronounce Man (audio)

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 men (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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on man

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for man

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with man

Spanish Central: Translation of man

Nglish: Translation of man for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of man for Arabic Speakers

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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!