\ ˈmēn How to pronounce mien (audio) \

Definition of mien

1 : air (see air entry 1 sense 4c) or bearing especially as expressive of attitude or personality : demeanor of aristocratic mien of somber mien the mien of a choirboy
2 : appearance, aspect dresses of formal mien

Keep scrolling for more

Choose the Right Synonym for mien

bearing, deportment, demeanor, mien, manner, carriage mean the outward manifestation of personality or attitude. bearing is the most general of these words but now usually implies characteristic posture. a woman of regal bearing deportment suggests actions or behavior as formed by breeding or training. your deportment was atrocious demeanor suggests one's attitude toward others as expressed in outward behavior. the haughty demeanor of the headwaiter mien is a literary term referring both to bearing and demeanor. a mien of supreme self-satisfaction manner implies characteristic or customary way of moving and gesturing and addressing others. the imperious manner of a man used to giving orders carriage applies chiefly to habitual posture in standing or walking. the kind of carriage learned at boarding school

Did You Know?

Like its synonyms bearing and demeanor, mien means the outward manifestation of personality or attitude. Bearing is the most general, but now usually implies characteristic posture, as in "a woman of regal bearing." Demeanor suggests attitude expressed through outward behavior in the presence of others; for example, "the manager's professional demeanor." Mien is a somewhat literary term referring to both bearing and demeanor. "A mien of supreme self-satisfaction" is a typical use. Mien and demeanor are also linked through etymology. Mien arose through the shortening and alteration of the verb demean, which comes from Latin mener ("to lead") and is also the root of demeanor. In this case, demean means "to conduct or behave (oneself) usually in a proper manner," not "to degrade." That other demean is a distinct word with a different etymology.

Examples of mien in a Sentence

He has the mien of an ancient warrior. the stern mien of the librarian suggested that she was not one to put up with any nonsense

Recent Examples on the Web

His younger, thinner brother, David, had a more serious mien and spoke less. Lou Weiss, WSJ, "Amalek Comes to Pittsburgh," 28 Oct. 2018 Reed affects a deliciously innocent mien after Deirdre’s jabs — as if her character hadn’t planned exactly which nerve to hit. Lily Janiak, San Francisco Chronicle, "Family is a miracle in SHN’s ‘The Humans’," 7 June 2018 And yet the key takeaway from New England’s dominant run is not Brady’s greatness, or Belichick’s grouchy mien, but this: everyone is replaceable. Jason Gay, WSJ, "Shock Claim: Bill Belichick Not Barrel of Laughs," 3 June 2018 Alex Page, salon owner and paralegal and recreational slayer of lionfish, sits on the midships gear locker with the peaceful mien of a man on his third morning at the spa. Ben Lowy, Smithsonian, "The Lionfish Have Invaded, But a Ragtag Army of Divers and Chefs Are Fighting Back," 23 May 2018 That approach yields eminently appealing sports cars, but the same treatment can leave models with a more luxurious mien feeling imbalanced. Steve Siler, Car and Driver, "2017 Porsche Panamera 4S," 16 Mar. 2018 Bolton has a famously hawkish mien, and a very dim and oft-stated view of the North Koreans’ honesty and the prospects for peace. Abigail Tracy, The Hive, "“A Dog Whistle to the North Koreans”: Will Trump’s Ignorance (and Bolton’s Impetuousness) Doom the North Korea Summit?," 4 May 2018 Trager’s Preysing shows us the glowering man of appetites suppressed beneath the successful-man-of-business mien. Kerry Reid, chicagotribune.com, "Kokandy stages a jazzy, grand musical farewell in the Berlin-set 'Grand Hotel'," 24 Apr. 2018 View 19 Photos This might matter less if the TourX had a decidedly sportier mien. James Lipman, Car and Driver, "2018 Buick Regal TourX," 19 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mien.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of mien

circa 1522, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for mien

by shortening & alteration from demean entry 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about mien

Listen to Our Podcast about mien

Statistics for mien

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for mien

The first known use of mien was circa 1522

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for mien



English Language Learners Definition of mien

old-fashioned + literary : a person's appearance or facial expression


\ ˈmēn How to pronounce mien (audio) \

Kids Definition of mien

: a person's appearance or way of acting that shows mood or personality

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on mien

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mien

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mien

Spanish Central: Translation of mien

Nglish: Translation of mien for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mien for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about mien

Comments on mien

What made you want to look up mien? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a strong desire or propensity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!