\ ˈmēn How to pronounce mien (audio) \

Definition of mien

1 : air (see air entry 1 sense 3c) 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

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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

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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 In the Stranger’s Aria of Act I—the god also goes by this name—the melodic line has the tight grace of a Bernstein song, but the orchestration gives it a sinister mien, with winds executing serpentine solos in vacant space. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, 9 Aug. 2021 The more experienced one, who has the unctuous dirtball mien of a young Steve Buscemi, tries to turn away a Black man in a cutoff T-shirt, tending instead to a rich-looking white woman. New York Times, 4 Aug. 2021 The son, his hair freshly cut, bears a similar mien to the one Rembrandt bore in his own self-portrait at age 34. Brienne Walsh, Forbes, 11 June 2021 Keeping with Finn's own mien, the record's 12 songs are delightful, quirky, cool, and occasionally dark. Katherine Turman, EW.com, 1 June 2021 Like several artists in the Reformatting section, Jesuys Crystiano (around 1950-2015) elaborates photographs with drawing, mostly of fantastical faces and figures of a medieval mien. New York Times, 4 Feb. 2021 The stories Davis and Wiener gather aren’t exactly new, but few historians ever bothered to gather them together — and none had the institutional knowledge and bomb-throwing mien of the authors. Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times, 6 Dec. 2020 The couple’s hands do not quite touch; the woman’s wide-eyed gaze and her companion’s furtive mien avoid each other and offer no resolution. Colin B. Bailey, The New York Review of Books, 17 Nov. 2020 Reed looked sheepishly toward his competition — not his usual mien. Bill Pennington, New York Times, 17 Sep. 2020

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.

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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

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Last Updated

16 Aug 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mien.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mien. Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for mien



English Language Learners Definition of mien

: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on mien

Nglish: Translation of mien for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mien for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about mien


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