\ 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)


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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In the book, our man Fletch is engaged to an heiress from Italy. Nina Metz, Chicago Tribune, 15 Sep. 2022 Penn State’s rushing defense is a question mark, but the Lions are going to load the box and play man and dare Auburn quarterback TJ Finley to throw. Joseph Goodman |, al, 15 Sep. 2022 His hit on Rutgers return man Aron Cruickshank last season forced a fumble. Mark Stewart, Journal Sentinel, 15 Sep. 2022 What, other than the man himself and the story of his remarkable and unlikely journey to the White House, bound them together? Michael Sokolove, The New Republic, 15 Sep. 2022 One man exited and was detained, according to police. Jen Guadarrama, The Indianapolis Star, 15 Sep. 2022 Finally, with the blessings of his equally wealthy and famous sons, the famous, wealthy man reconnects with the dowdy girl and asks her to marry him. Monica Hesse, Washington Post, 15 Sep. 2022 One man was shot on Neal Street in a residential area one block north of Kathryn Johnston Memorial Park, Brown said. Chelsea Prince, ajc, 15 Sep. 2022 Scott drove his man back several yards out of the way, clearing a wide hole through which Henderson broke away for a 23-yard touchdown run. Nathan Baird, cleveland, 15 Sep. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb At the start of the 2013 season, Chicago Cubs prospect Daniel Vogelbach was stuck behind first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who was expected to man the position for years. Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune, 2 Sep. 2022 Andrew Vorhees, Brett Neilon and Justin Dedich have remained locked in on the interior, while Jonah Monheim has continued to man the right tackle spot. Los Angeles Times, 20 Aug. 2022 There are reports that some states have the equipment in place, but may not have the staff to man the lines. Scott D. Pierce, The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 July 2022 Consider Hill was brought here specifically to man the slot, a specialty of his, while Newsome was a rookie who, according to PFF’s 2021 draft guide, played 18 snaps in the slot in three seasons at Northwestern. Dan Labbe, cleveland, 13 July 2022 The group needs someone to man the phone at all hours, as more and more requests are coming in. Judith Magyar, Forbes, 17 Aug. 2022 Now, the question is which writers will man up and write about how wrong this is. Terry Pluto, cleveland, 1 Aug. 2022 The great utility revolution is crying out for people to man it and see it through. Llewellyn King, Forbes, 21 June 2022 On Wednesday, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing announced that the 24-year-old driver will man the No. 45 Honda for the team's final three races of the season in IndyCar's closing West Coast swing. Nathan Brown, The Indianapolis Star, 1 Sep. 2021 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near man




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Statistics for man

Last Updated

17 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Man.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for man


\ 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

Nglish: Translation of man for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of man for Arabic Speakers


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