Definify.com

Webster 1913 Edition


Mean

Mean

(mēn)
,
Verb.
T.
[
imp. & p. p.
Meant
(mĕnt)
;
p. pr. & vb. n.
Meaning
.]
[OE.
menen
, AS.
mǣnan
to recite, tell, intend, wish; akin to OS.
mēnian
to have in mind, mean, D.
meenen
, G.
meinen
, OHG.
meinan
, Icel.
meina
, Sw.
mena
, Dan.
mene
, and to E.
mind
. √104. See
Mind
, and cf.
Moan
.]
1.
To have in the mind, as a purpose, intention, etc.; to intend; to purpose; to design;
as, what do you
mean
to do?
What
mean
ye by this service ?
Ex. xii. 26.
Ye thought evil against me; but God
meant
it unto good.
Gen. 1. 20.
I am not a Spaniard
To say that it is yours and not to
mean
it.
Longfellow.
2.
To signify; to indicate; to import; to denote.
What
mean
these seven ewe lambs ?
Gen. xxi. 29.
Go ye, and learn what that
meaneth
.
Matt. ix. 13.

Mean

,
Verb.
I.
To have a purpose or intention.
[Rare, except in the phrase to mean well, or ill.]
Shak.

Mean

(mēn)
,
Adj.
[
Com
par.
Meaner
(mēn′ẽr)
;
sup
erl.
Meanest
.]
[OE.
mene
, AS.
mǣne
wicked; akin to
mān
, a., wicked, n., wickedness, OS.
mēn
wickedness, OHG.
mein
, G.
meineid
perjury, Icel.
mein
harm, hurt, and perh. to AS.
gemǣne
common, general, D.
gemeen
, G.
gemein
, Goth.
gamáins
, and L.
communis
. The AS.
gemǣne
prob. influenced the meaning.]
1.
Destitute of distinction or eminence; common; low; vulgar; humble.
“Of mean parentage.”
Sir P. Sidney.
The
mean
man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself.
Is. ii. 9.
2.
Wanting dignity of mind; low-minded; base; destitute of honor; spiritless;
as, a
mean
motive
.
Can you imagine I so
mean
could prove,
To save my life by changing of my love ?
Dryden.
3.
Of little value or account; worthy of little or no regard; contemptible; despicable.
The Roman legions and great Caesar found
Our fathers no
mean
foes.
J. Philips.
4.
Of poor quality;
as,
mean
fare
.
5.
Penurious; stingy; close-fisted; illiberal;
as,
mean
hospitality
.
Mean is sometimes used in the formation of compounds, the sense of which is obvious without explanation; as, meanborn, mean-looking, etc.
Syn. – Base; ignoble; abject; beggarly; wretched; degraded; degenerate; vulgar; vile; servile; menial; spiritless; groveling; slavish; dishonorable; disgraceful; shameful; despicable; contemptible; paltry; sordid. See
Base
.

Mean

,
Adj.
[OE.
mene
, OF.
meiien
, F.
moyen
, fr. L.
medianus
that is in the middle, fr.
medius
; akin to E.
mid
. See
Mid
.]
1.
Occupying a middle position; middle; being about midway between extremes.
Being of middle age and a
mean
stature.
Sir. P. Sidney.
2.
Intermediate in excellence of any kind.
According to the fittest style of lofty,
mean
, or lowly.
Milton.
3.
(Math.)
Average; having an intermediate value between two extremes, or between the several successive values of a variable quantity during one cycle of variation;
as,
mean
distance;
mean
motion;
mean
solar day.
Mean distance
(of a planet from the sun)
(Astron.)
,
the average of the distances throughout one revolution of the planet, equivalent to the semi-major axis of the orbit.
Mean error
(Math. Phys.)
,
the average error of a number of observations found by taking the mean value of the positive and negative errors without regard to sign.
Mean-square error
, or
Error of the mean square
(Math. Phys.)
,
the error the square of which is the mean of the squares of all the errors; – called also,
mean square deviation
,
mean error
.
Mean line
.
(Crystallog.)
Same as
Bisectrix
.
Mean noon
,
noon as determined by mean time.
Mean proportional
(between two numbers)
(Math.)
,
the square root of their product.
Mean sun
,
a fictitious sun supposed to move uniformly in the equator so as to be on the meridian each day at mean noon.
Mean time
,
time as measured by an equable motion, as of a perfect clock, or as reckoned on the supposition that all the days of the year are of a mean or uniform length, in contradistinction from apparent time, or that actually indicated by the sun, and from sidereal time, or that measured by the stars.

Mean

,
Noun.
1.
That which is mean, or intermediate, between two extremes of place, time, or number; the middle point or place; middle rate or degree; mediocrity; medium; absence of extremes or excess; moderation; measure.
But to speak in a
mean
, the virtue of prosperity is temperance; the virtue of adversity is fortitude.
Bacon.
There is a
mean
in all things.
Dryden.
The extremes we have mentioned, between which the wellinstracted Christian holds the
mean
, are correlatives.
I. Taylor.
2.
(Math.)
A quantity having an intermediate value between several others, from which it is derived, and of which it expresses the resultant value; usually, unless otherwise specified, it is the simple average, formed by adding the quantities together and dividing by their number, which is called an
arithmetical mean
. A
geometrical mean
is the nth root of the product of the n quantities being averaged.
3.
That through which, or by the help of which, an end is attained; something tending to an object desired; intermediate agency or measure; necessary condition or coagent; instrument.
Their virtuous conversation was a
mean
to work the conversion of the heathen to Christ.
Hooker.
You may be able, by this
mean
, to review your own scientific acquirements.
Coleridge.
Philosophical doubt is not an end, but a
mean
.
Sir W. Hamilton.
☞ In this sense the word is usually employed in the plural form means, and often with a singular attribute or predicate, as if a singular noun.
By
this means
he had them more at vantage.
Bacon.
What other
means is
left unto us.
Shakespeare
4.
pl.
Hence:
Resources; property, revenue, or the like, considered as the condition of easy livelihood, or an instrumentality at command for effecting any purpose; disposable force or substance.
Your
means
are very slender, and your waste is great.
Shakespeare
5.
(Mus.)
A part, whether alto or tenor, intermediate between the soprano and base; a middle part.
[Obs.]
The
mean
is drowned with your unruly base.
Shakespeare
6.
Meantime; meanwhile.
[Obs.]
Spenser.
7.
A mediator; a go-between.
[Obs.]
Piers Plowman.
He wooeth her by
means
and by brokage.
Chaucer.
By all means
,
certainly; without fail;
as, go,
by all means
.
By any means
,
in any way; possibly; at all.

If
by any means
I might attain to the resurrection of the dead.
Phil. iii. ll.
By no means
, or
By no manner of means
,
not at all; certainly not; not in any degree.
The wine on this side of the lake is
by no means
so good as that on the other.
Addison.

Webster 1828 Edition


Mean

MEAN

,
Adj.
[L. communis, vulgus, minor and minuo.]
1.
Wanting dignity; low in rank or birth; as a man of mean parentage,mean birth or origin.
2.
Wanting dignity of mind; low minded; base; destitute of honor; spiritless.
Can you imagine I so mean could prove,
To save my life by changing of my love?
3.
Contemptible; despicable.
The Roman legions and great Caesar found
Our fathers no mean foes.
4.
Of little value; low in worth or estimation; worthy of little or no regard.
We fast, not to please men, nor to promote any mean worldly interest.
5.
Of little value; humble; poor; as a mean abode; a mean dress.

MEAN

,
Adj.
[L. medium, medius.]
1.
Middle; at an equal distance from the extremes; as the means distance; the mean proportion between quantities; the mean ratio.
According to the fittest style of lofty, mean, or lowly.
2.
Intervening; intermediate; coming between; as in the mean time or while.

MEAN

,
Noun.
The middle point or place; the middle rate or degree; mediocrity; medium. Observe the golden mean.
There is a mean in all things.
But no authority of gods or men
Allow of any mean in poesy.
1.
Intervening time; interval of time; interim; meantime.
And in the mean, vouchsafe her honorable tomb.
Here is an omission of time or while.
2.
Measure; regulation. [Not in use.]
3.
Instrument; that which is used to effect an object; the medium through which something is done.
The virtuous conversation of christians was a mean to work the conversion of the heathen to Christ.
In this sense, means, in the plural,is generally used, and often with a definitive and verb in the singular.
By this means he had them more at vantage.
A good character,when established, should not be rested on as an end, but employed as a means of doing good.
4.
Means, in the plural, income, revenue, resources, substance or estate, considered as the instrument of effecting any purpose. He would have built a house, but he wanted means.
Your means are slender.
5.
Instrument of action or performance.
By all means, without fail. Go, by all means.
By no means, not at all; certainly not; not in any degree.
The wine on this side of the lake is by no means so good as that on the other.
By no manner of means, by no means; not the least.
By any means, possibly; at all.
If by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the dead. Phil.3.
Meantime
Meanwhile, in the intervening time. [In this use of these words there is an omission of in or in the; in the meantime.]

MEAN

,
Verb.
T.
pret. and pp. meant; pronounced ment. [L. mens; Eng.mind; L. intendo, propono.]
1.
To have in the mind, view or contemplation; to intend.
What mean you by this service? Ex.12.
2.
To intend; to purpose; to design, with reference to a future act.
Ye thought evil against me, but God meant it for good. Gen.1.
3.
To signify; to indicate.
What mean these seven ewe lambs? Gen.21.
What meaneth the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews? 1 Sam.4.
Go ye, and learn what that meaneth-- Matt.9.

MEAN

,
Verb.
I.
To have thought or ideas; or to have meaning.

Definition 2022


mean

mean

See also: meán and meán-

English

Verb

mean (third-person singular simple present means, present participle meaning, simple past and past participle meant)

  1. To intend.
    1. (transitive) To intend, to plan (to do); to have as one's intention. [from 8th c.]
      I didn't mean to knock your tooth out.
      I mean to go to Baddeck this summer.
      I meant to take the car in for a smog check, but it slipped my mind.
    2. (intransitive) To have intentions of a given kind. [from 14th c.]
      Don't be angry; she meant well.
    3. (transitive, usually in passive) To intend (something) for a given purpose or fate; to predestine. [from 16th c.]
      Actually this desk was meant for the subeditor.
      Man was not meant to question such things.
  2. To convey meaning.
    1. (transitive) To convey (a given sense); to signify, or indicate (an object or idea). [from 8th c.]
      I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean.
      The sky is red this morningdoes that mean we're in for a storm?
      • 2013 June 1, A better waterworks”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8838, page 5 (Technology Quarterly):
        An artificial kidney these days still means a refrigerator-sized dialysis machine. Such devices mimic the way real kidneys cleanse blood and eject impurities and surplus water as urine.
    2. (transitive) Of a word, symbol etc: to have reference to, to signify. [from 8th c.]
      What does this hieroglyph mean?
      • 2010, Alexander Humez, Nicholas Humez, Rob Flynn, Short Cuts: A Guide to Oaths, Ring Tones, Ransom Notes, Famous Last Words, and Other Forms of Minimalist Communication, Oxford University Press US, ISBN 9780195389135, page 33:
        A term should be included if it's likely that someone would run across it and want to know what it means. This in turn leads to the somewhat more formal guideline of including a term if it is attested and idiomatic.
  3. (transitive) To have conviction in (something said or expressed); to be sincere in (what one says). [from 18th c.]
    Does she really mean what she said to him last night?
    Say what you mean and mean what you say.
  4. (transitive) To result in; to bring about. [from 19th c.]
    One faltering step means certain death.
    • 2012 May 19, Paul fletcher, Blackpool 1-2 West Ham”, in BBC Sport:
      It was a goal that meant West Ham won on their first appearance at Wembley in 31 years, in doing so becoming the first team since Leicester in 1996 to bounce straight back to the Premier League through the play-offs.
    • 2014 June 14, It's a gas”, in The Economist, volume 411, number 8891:
      One of the hidden glories of Victorian engineering is proper drains. [] But out of sight is out of mind. And that, together with the inherent yuckiness of the subject, means that many old sewers have been neglected and are in dire need of repair.
  5. (transitive) To be important (to). [from 19th c.]
    My home life means a lot to me.
Synonyms
  • (convey, signify, indicate): convey, indicate, signify
  • (want or intend to convey): imply, mean to say
  • (intend; plan on doing): intend
  • (have conviction in what one says): be serious
  • (have intentions of a some kind):
  • (result in; bring about): bring about, cause, lead to, result in
Translations

Verb

mean (third-person singular simple present means, present participle meaning, simple past and past participle meaned)

  1. (Ireland, Britain regional) To lament.
    • c. 1385, William Langland, Piers Plowman, III:
      Thanne morned Mede · and mened hire to the kynge / To haue space to speke · spede if she myȝte.
    • 1560 (1677), Spottiswood Hist. Ch. Scot. iii. (1677), page 144:
      They were forced to mean our estate to the Queen of England.
    • 1803, Sir Walter Scott, Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, page 276:
      If you should die for me, sir knight, There's few for you will meane, [...]
    • 1845, Wodrow Society Select Biographies:
      All the tyme of his sickness he never said, "Alace!" or meaned any pain, whilk was marvellous. Never man died in greater peace of mind or body.
Translations

Etymology 2

From Middle English mene, imene, from Old English mǣne, ġemǣne (common, public, general, universal), from Proto-Germanic *gamainiz (common), from Proto-Indo-European *mey- (to change, exchange, share). Cognate with West Frisian mien (general, universal), Dutch gemeen (common, mean), German gemein (common, mean, nasty), Gothic 𐌲𐌰𐌼𐌰𐌹𐌽𐍃 (gamains, common, unclean), Latin commūnis (shared, common, general) (Old Latin comoinem).

Adjective

mean (comparative meaner, superlative meanest)

  1. (obsolete) Common; general.
  2. Of a common or low origin, grade, or quality; common; humble.
    a man of mean parentage / a mean abode
  3. Low in quality or degree; inferior; poor; shabby.
    a mean appearance / mean dress
  4. Without dignity of mind; destitute of honour; low-minded; spiritless; base.
    a mean motive
    • Dryden
      Can you imagine I so mean could prove, / To save my life by changing of my love?
  5. Of little value or account; worthy of little or no regard; contemptible; despicable.
    • J. Philips
      The Roman legions and great Caesar found / Our fathers no mean foes.
  6. Niggardly; penurious; miserly; stingy.
    He's so mean. I've never seen him spend so much as five pounds on presents for his children.
  7. Disobliging; pettily offensive or unaccommodating; small.
  8. Selfish; acting without consideration of others; unkind.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 20, in The China Governess:
      The story struck the depressingly familiar note with which true stories ring in the tried ears of experienced policemen. No one queried it. It was in the classic pattern of human weakness, mean and embarrassing and sad.
    It was mean to steal the girl's piggy bank, but he just had to get uptown and he had no cash of his own.
  9. Causing or intending to cause intentional harm; bearing ill will towards another; cruel; malicious.
    Watch out for her, she's mean. I said good morning to her, and she punched me in the nose.
  10. Powerful; fierce; harsh; damaging.
    It must have been a mean typhoon that levelled this town.
  11. Accomplished with great skill; deft; hard to compete with.
    Your mother can roll a mean cigarette.
    He hits a mean backhand.
  12. (informal, often childish) Difficult, tricky.
    This problem is mean!
Synonyms
Antonyms
Derived terms
Translations

Etymology 3

From Middle English meene, from Old French meien (French moyen), Late Latin mediānus (that is in the middle, middle), from Latin medius (middle). Cognate with mid. For the musical sense, compare the cognate Italian mezzano.

Adjective

mean (not comparable)

  1. Having the mean (see noun below) as its value.
  2. (obsolete) Middling; intermediate; moderately good, tolerable.
    • 1621, Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, II.ii.2:
      I have declared in the causes what harm costiveness hath done in procuring this disease; if it be so noxious, the opposite must needs be good, or mean at least, as indeed it is […].
    • Sir Philip Sidney
      being of middle age and a mean stature
    • Milton
      according to the fittest style of lofty, mean, or lowly
Derived terms
Related terms
Translations

Noun

mean (plural means)

  1. (now chiefly in the plural) A method or course of action used to achieve some result. [from 14th c.]
    • 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays, II.5:
      To say truth, it is a meane full of uncertainty and danger.
    • Coleridge
      You may be able, by this mean, to review your own scientific acquirements.
    • Sir W. Hamilton
      Philosophical doubt is not an end, but a mean.
    • 2011, "Rival visions", The Economist, 14 Apr 2011:
      Mr Obama produced an only slightly less ambitious goal for deficit reduction than the House Republicans, albeit working from a more forgiving baseline: $4 trillion over 12 years compared to $4.4 trillion over 10 years. But the means by which he would achieve it are very different.
  2. (obsolete, in the singular) An intermediate step or intermediate steps.
    • a. 1563, Thomas Harding, "To the Reader", in The Works of John Jewel (1845 ed.)
      Verily in this treatise this hath been mine only purpose; and the mean to bring the same to effect hath been such as whereby I studied to profit wholesomely, not to please delicately.
    • 1606, The Trials of Robert Winter, Thomas Winter, Guy Fawkes, John Grant, Ambrose Rookwood, Rob. Keyes, Thomas Bates, and Sir Everard Digby, at Westminster, for High Treason, being Conspirators in the Gunpowder-Plot
      That it was lawful and meritorious to kill and destroy the king, and all the said hereticks. — The mean to effect it, they concluded to be, that, 1. The king, the queen, the prince, the lords spiritual and temporal, the knights and burgoses of the parliament, should be blown up with powder. 2. That the whole royal issue male should be destroyed. S. That they would lake into their custody Elizabeth and Mary the king's daughters, and proclaim the lady Elizabeth queen. 4. That they should feign a Proclamation in the name of Elizabeth, in which no mention should be made of alteration of religion, nor that they were parties to the treason, until they had raised power to perform the same; and then to proclaim, all grievances in the kingdom should be reformed.
    • a. 1623, John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi
      Apply desperate physic: / We must not now use balsamum, but fire, / The smarting cupping-glass, for that's the mean / To purge infected blood, such blood as hers.
  3. Something which is intermediate or in the middle; an intermediate value or range of values; a medium. [from 14th c.]
    • 1997, John Llewelyn Davies; David J. Vaughan, Republic, translation of original by Plato, page 263:
      Then will not this constitution be a kind of mean between aristocracy and oligarchy?
    • 1996, Harris Rackham, The Nicomachean Ethics, translation of original by Aristotle, page 118:
      as a mean, it implies certain extremes between which it lies, namely the more and the less
    • 1875, William Smith and Samuel Cheetham, editors, A Dictionary of Christian Antiquities, Little, Brown and Company, volume 1, page 10, s.v. Accentus Ecclesiasticus,
      It presents a sort of mean between speech and song, continually inclining towards the latter, never altogether leaving its hold on the former; it is speech, though always attuned speech, in passages of average interest and importance; it is song, though always distinct and articulate song, in passages demanding more fervid utterance.
  4. (music, now historical) The middle part of three-part polyphonic music; now specifically, the alto part in polyphonic music; an alto instrument. [from 15th c.]
    • 1624, John Smith, Generall Historie, in Kupperman 1988, page 147:
      Of these [rattles] they have Base, Tenor, Countertenor, Meane, and Treble.
  5. (statistics) The average of a set of values, calculated by summing them together and dividing by the number of terms; the arithmetic mean. [from 15th c.]
  6. (mathematics) Any function of multiple variables that satisfies certain properties and yields a number representative of its arguments; or, the number so yielded; a measure of central tendency.
    • 1997, Angus Deaton, The Analysis of Household Surveys: A Microeconometric Approach to Development Policy, World Bank Publications, ISBN 9780801852541, page 51:
      Note that (1.41) is simply the probability-weighted mean without any explicit allowance for the stratification; each observation is weighted by its inflation factor and the total divided by the total of the inflation factors for the survey.
    • 2002, Clifford A. Pickover, The Mathematics of Oz: Mental Gymnastics from Beyond the Edge, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521016780, page 246:
      Luckily, even though the arithmetic mean is unusable, both the harmonic and geometric means settle to precise values as the amount of data increases.
    • 2003, P. S. Bullen, Handbook of Means and Their Inequalities, Springer, ISBN 978-1-4020-1522-9, page 251:
      The generalized power means include power means, certain Gini means, in particular the counter-harmonic means.
  7. (mathematics) Either of the two numbers in the middle of a conventionally presented proportion, as 2 and 3 in 1:2=3:6.
    • 1825, John Farrar, translator, An Elementary Treatise on Arithmetic by Silvestre François Lacroix, third edition, page 102,
      ...if four numbers be in proportion, the product of the first and last, or of the two extremes, is equal to the product of the second and third, or of the two means.
    • 1999, Dawn B. Sova, How to Solve Word Problems in Geometry, McGraw-Hill, ISBN 007134652X, page 85,
      Using the means-extremes property of proportions, you know that the product of the extremes equals the product of the means. The ratio t/4 = 5/2 can be rewritten as t:4 = 5:2, in which the extremes are t and 2, and the means are 4 and 5.
    • 2007, Carolyn C. Wheater, Homework Helpers: Geometry, Career Press, ISBN 1564147215, page 99,
      In , the product of the means is , and the product of the extremes is . Both products are 54.
Hypernyms
Coordinate terms
See also
Derived terms
Translations

Statistics

Most common English words before 1923: human · kept · business · #383: mean · manner · following · fell

Anagrams


Manx

Etymology

From Old Irish medón (middle, centre), from Latin mediānus.

Noun

mean m (genitive singular [please provide], plural [please provide])

  1. centre, middle
    Share çhyndaa cabbil ayns mean ny h-aah na goll er vaih. ― Better to change horses in mid ford than to drown.
  2. interior
    Tar stiagh ayns mean y killagh. ― Come into the body of the church.
  3. average
    Trogmayd mean. ― We will strike an average.

Derived terms

  • meanagh (center, central; intermediate; centric, centrical, adj)
  • mean scoill (secondary school, college)

Mutation

Manx mutation
Radical Lenition Eclipsis
mean vean unchanged
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.

Scottish Gaelic

Adjective

mean

  1. little, tiny

Synonyms

Derived terms


Spanish

Verb

mean

  1. Second-person plural (ustedes) present indicative form of mear.
  2. Third-person plural (ellos, ellas, also used with ustedes?) present indicative form of mear.