mean-spir·​it·​ed ˈmēn-ˈspir-ə-təd How to pronounce mean-spirited (audio)
: exhibiting or characterized by meanness of spirit
mean-spiritedness noun

Examples of mean-spirited in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web While most are supportive, a fair number are critical, even mean-spirited. Barbara Vandenburgh, USA TODAY, 16 June 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mean-spirited.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1694, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of mean-spirited was in 1694

Dictionary Entries Near mean-spirited

Cite this Entry

“Mean-spirited.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


: feeling or showing a cruel desire to cause pain or harm
a mean-spirited person
a mean-spirited remark

More from Merriam-Webster on mean-spirited

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