\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)


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Other Words from man


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

Synonyms for man

Synonyms: Noun

bastard, bloke [chiefly British], buck, cat, chap [chiefly British], chappie [British], dude, fella, fellow, galoot [slang], gent, gentleman, guy, hombre, jack, joe, joker, lad, male

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In Spain, the trade union organization CCOO told the Associated Press that 90 percent of workers at a warehouse near Madrid staged a walkout on Friday and Saturday, leaving only two people to man the loading dock. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "Amazon workers in Italy, Germany, Spain, and the UK staged mass walkouts, protesting poor conditions and low wages.," 27 Nov. 2018 The midshipmen were graduating in January instead of the spring, according to a Washington Post report, to man the warships their commander in chief was building. Washington Post Staff, Washington Post, "Trump’s speech to Naval Academy graduates: A presidential tradition with deep roots," 25 May 2018 Though 2016 was a thinner draft, Detroit chose Henry Ellenson at No. 16, a player who has yet to man out. Jeremy Woo,, "Stan Van Gundy and the Death of Dual-Leadership Structures," 7 May 2018 Representatives of the organization will be in the store starting at 11 a.m. to man the kiosk and answer questions, the Facebook post said. Jeff Weiner,, "Pulse foundation to hold fundraiser at Millenia Bloomingdale's today," 25 Apr. 2018 Danny Valencia will likely continue to man third base in the absence of Schoop and Beckham, with Luis Sardiñas or possibly Vielma starting at second base until Peterson arrives Wednesday. Eduardo A. Encina,, "Orioles claim Jace Peterson to supplement injury-riddled infield," 24 Apr. 2018 Whether the Colts have the athleticism on their roster to man those spots is debatable, at best. Stephen Holder, Indianapolis Star, "Colts don't have a coach, but they do have a brand new defense," 9 Feb. 2018 As a student loan servicing company, Navient has one primary operating cost: its employees, including the hundreds of customer-service agents who man Navient’s telephones every day. Ken Sweet, The Seattle Times, "AP Exclusive: Gov’t questions unfair student loan practices," 21 Nov. 2018 The starters, evidenced thus far by OTA workouts: Al Woods will man the nose tackle spot, and new signee Denico Autry looks to be the (early) man to beat at defensive tackle. Zak Keefer, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Two under-the-radar additions hope to find new life on Colts defensive line," 4 June 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.

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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


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

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Dictionary Entries near man






man's best friend

man's man

Statistics for man

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Time Traveler for man

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

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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 \
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on man

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with man

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


a nest or breeding place

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