Essential Meaning of mean
1 : to have (a particular meaning) What does this word mean in English? = What is meant in English by this word? The word meant one thing in Shakespeare's day, but it means something else now. See More ExamplesThe abbreviation "U.S." means [=stands for] "United States." Red means "stop" and green means "go." Can you tell me what my dream means? "Bonjour" is a French word meaning "hello." = "Bonjour" is a French word that means "hello."
2 : to want or intend to express (a particular idea or meaning) I meant what I said. [=I was sincere when I said it] What was meant by the poet? See More ExamplesDon't distort what she meant by taking her words out of context. When she says the play was "interesting," she means (that) it wasn't very good. He's very ambitious, and I mean that as a compliment. It's a very easy question. Anyone, and I mean anyone, should be able to answer it. You hold it like this. (Do you ) See what I mean? [=do you understand what I'm showing you?] She's not getting any thinner, if you know/get what I mean. "He can be a little difficult. (Do you ) Know what I mean?" "He can be a little difficult." "What/How do you mean?" = "Meaning? " [=what exactly do you mean when you say that?] "He can be a little difficult." "I know what you mean." [=I agree] "He can be a little difficult." "What's that supposed to mean?" [=I am surprised that you would say that; I don't agree with what you are saying]
3 : to have (something) in your mind as a purpose or goal Just what do you mean (by) coming into my room without knocking? [=what is your reason for coming into my room without knocking?] She says she didn't mean anything by what she did. See More ExamplesShe didn't mean (you) any harm. = She meant no harm (to you). [=she did not intend to cause any harm (to you)] I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings. I meant (you) no offense/disrespect. I don't trust him. He means no good.
Full Definition of mean
(Entry 1 of 4)
1a : to have in the mind as a purpose : intend she means to win —sometimes used interjectionally with I, chiefly in informal speech for emphasis he throws, I mean, hard or to introduce a phrase restating the point of a preceding phrase we try to answer what we can, but I mean we're not God— Bobbie Ann Mason
b : to design for or destine to a specified purpose or future I was meant to teach
3 : to have importance to the degree of health means everything
4 : to direct to a particular individual His criticism was meant for all of us.
: to have an intended purpose he means well
: to be in earnest
Definition of mean (Entry 2 of 4)
3a : of poor, shabby, or inferior quality or status mean city streets
b : worthy of little regard : contemptible —often used in negative constructions as a term of praise no mean feat
4 : lacking dignity or honor : base a mean motive
b : characterized by petty selfishness or malice a mean surly man
c : causing trouble or bother : vexatious a mean soil to work
6 : ashamed sense 1b His ready cooperation made me feel mean for what I had said.
Definition of mean (Entry 3 of 4)
Definition of mean (Entry 4 of 4)
1a(1) : something intervening or intermediate
(2) : a middle point between extremes
c : either of the middle two terms of a proportion
2 means plural in form but singular or plural in construction : something useful or helpful to a desired end
3 means plural : resources available for disposal especially : material resources affording a secure life
Love words? Need even more definitions?Merriam-Webster unabridged
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