Word of the Day : May 9, 2014


noun MEEN


1 : air or bearing especially as expressive of attitude or personality : demeanor

2 : appearance, aspect

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.


The minister projected a stern and serious mien from the pulpit, but we found him to be friendly and welcoming when we spoke with him in the social hall after the service.

"Cooking in a Seattle Seahawks cap, McClenahan's mien is methodical, his moves practiced and precise." - From an article by Nancy Leson in the Seattle Times, March 31, 2014

Word Family Quiz

Fill in the blanks to create a relative of "mien" that can mean "willing to agree or to accept something": aal. The answer is …


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