\ 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)


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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

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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 Shah has been has been Modi’s right-hand man for more than three decades. Anurag Kotoky,, "Amit Shah, Modi’s Closest Aide, Hospitalized Again, IANS Reports," 12 Sep. 2020 Trice is the first Black man to have a stadium named in his honor. Creg Stephenson |, al, "Iowa State-Louisiana live stream (9/12): How to watch college football online, TV, time," 12 Sep. 2020 There will be a new man on the mic at Cardinal Stadium when Louisville takes on Western Kentucky on Saturday. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "Michael Lattin hired as Louisville football's new PA announcer," 11 Sep. 2020 There was a man in a car next to mine, with his windows rolled up. John Kass,, "Column: Years after 9/11, the political use of fear continues on," 11 Sep. 2020 The Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office on Thursday released the name of the man who was fatally shot at a busy Central Business District intersection two days earlier. Ramon Antonio Vargas | Staff Writer,, "Lake Charles man slain in downtown New Orleans shootout is identified," 10 Sep. 2020 Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament founder Joe Hector was a popular man for hanging tough and finding a way to put on the Summer Slam tournament at North Ocean Park in Pompano Beach. Emmett Hall,, "Extreme Kayak Fishing Tournament Summer Slam a welcome reprieve to anglers," 10 Sep. 2020 Alston was tending to another man who had been shot in the head when he was killed, police said. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, "Anchorage homicide rate drops significantly so far this year as police say most types of crime are trending downward," 9 Sep. 2020 The department wrote in a news release that officers were called to the 5200 block of Goodnow Road in Northeast Baltimore at 9:11 p.m. for a report of a shooting and found a man who’d been shot in the head and chest. Phil Davis,, "Baltimore Police: Man killed in Frankford, home invader fatally shot in Waltherson, 6 others hurt in separate shootings," 9 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Air Force officers man the silos around-the-clock in underground capsules with equipment that dates to the Cold War, waiting for an order from the commander in chief to launch the nation’s most dangerous weapons if necessary. Washington Post, "Northrop Grumman wins $13 billion contract to replace U.S. ballistic missiles," 9 Sep. 2020 The Giants have had little consistency in left field since Barry Bonds last played, using 13 different players in Opening Day lineups to man Bonds’ old position. John Shea,, "Giants playoff-bound? Gabe Kapler pressing right buttons, saying right things," 9 Sep. 2020 Senior Nathan White and junior Seth Gerald will man the middle of the defense at linebacker. Jonathan Saxon, The Courier-Journal, "What to know about Moore, Spencer County and Valley high school football teams," 9 Sep. 2020 The Game 5 performance muddied the waters for the Stars coaching staff that now has to decide which goaltender will man the crease with another chance to advance to the Western Conference Finals. Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, "Ben Bishop or Anton Khudobin? Here’s what the Stars have said about who might start Game 6," 1 Sep. 2020 During the war, there were 14,000 posts situated across the U.S., with nearly 1.5 million civilian observers volunteering to man them., "Rosie the Riveter celebrated at event in Hebron," 24 Aug. 2020 Cam Robinson spent most of the 2019 NFL season just trying to make it to the field every Sunday to man left offensive tackle for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Mark Inabinett |, al, "Cam Robinson sees ‘night-and-day’ difference in health," 12 Aug. 2020 That shooting left a woman dead and man with serious injuries at the UMC trauma center. Katelyn Umholtz,, "Second double shooting of the day under investigation, NOPD says," 11 Aug. 2020 Before oil prices collapsed earlier this year to record lows, crushed by an unprecedented and unexpected evaporation in demand, workers were flooding into southeastern New Mexico to man the state's booming oilfields. Alexander Tin, CBS News, "New Mexico oil boom towns hope worst is over - COVID chronicles," 6 Aug. 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.

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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

16 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Man.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2020.

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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

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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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