what is intended to be, or actually is, expressed or indicated; signification; import: the three meanings of a word.
the end, purpose, or significance of something: What is the meaning of life? What is the meaning of this intrusion?
the nonlinguistic cultural correlate, reference, or denotation of a linguistic form; expression.
linguistic content (opposed to expression ).
intentioned (usually used in combination): She's a well-meaning person.
full of significance; expressive: a meaning look.

1250–1300; Middle English (noun); see mean1, -ing1, -ing2

meaningly, adverb
meaningness, noun
submeaning, noun
undermeaning, noun

1. tenor, gist, drift, trend. Meaning, purport, sense, significance denote that which is expressed or indicated by something. Meaning is the general word denoting that which is intended to be or actually is expressed or indicated: the meaning of a word or glance. Sense may be used to denote a particular meaning (among others) of a word or phrase: The word is frequently used in this sense. Sense may also be used loosely to refer to intelligible meaning: There's no sense in what he says. Significance refers particularly to a meaning that is implied rather than expressed: the significance of her glance; or to a meaning the importance of which may not be easy to perceive immediately: The real significance of his words was not grasped at the time. Purport is mainly limited to the meaning of a formal document, speech, important conversation, etc., and refers to the gist of something fairly complicated: the purport of your letter to the editor. Unabridged


1 [meen]
verb (used with object), meant, meaning.
to have in mind as one's purpose or intention; intend: I meant to compliment you on your work. contemplate.
to intend for a particular purpose, destination, etc.: They were meant for each other. destine, foreordain.
to intend to express or indicate: What do you mean by “liberal”?
to have as its sense or signification; signify: The word “freedom” means many things to many people. denote, indicate; import, imply, connote.
to bring, cause, or produce as a result: This bonus means that we can take a trip to Florida.
to have (certain intentions) toward a person: He didn't mean you any harm.
to have the value of; assume the importance of: Money means everything to them. She means the world to him.
verb (used without object), meant, meaning.
to be minded or disposed; have intentions: Beware, she means ill, despite her solicitous manner.
mean well, to have good intentions; try to be kind or helpful: Her constant queries about your health must be tiresome, but I'm sure she means well.

before 900; Middle English menen, Old English mǣnan; cognate with German meinen, Dutch meenen

1. See intend. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
mean1 (miːn)
vb (often foll by for) , means, meaning, meant
1.  (may take a clause as object or an infinitive) to intend to convey or express
2.  (may take a clause as object or an infinitive) intend: she didn't mean to hurt it
3.  (may take a clause as object) to say or do in all seriousness: the boss means what he says about strikes
4.  to destine or design (for a certain person or purpose): she was meant for greater things
5.  (may take a clause as object) to denote or connote; signify; represent: examples help show exactly what a word means
6.  (may take a clause as object) to produce; cause: the weather will mean long traffic delays
7.  (may take a clause as object) to foretell; portend: those dark clouds mean rain
8.  to have the importance of: money means nothing to him
9.  (intr) to have the intention of behaving or acting (esp in the phrases mean wellormean ill)
10.  mean business to be in earnest
usage  In standard English, mean should not be followed by for when expressing intention: I didn't mean this to happen (not I didn't mean for this to happen)

mean2 (miːn)
1.  chiefly (Brit) miserly, ungenerous, or petty
2.  humble, obscure, or lowly: he rose from mean origins to high office
3.  despicable, ignoble, or callous: a mean action
4.  poor or shabby: mean clothing; a mean abode
5.  informal chiefly (US), (Canadian) bad-tempered; vicious
6.  informal ashamed: he felt mean about not letting the children go to the zoo
7.  informal chiefly (US) unwell; in low spirits
8.  slang excellent; skilful: he plays a mean trombone
9.  no mean
 a.  of high quality: no mean performer
 b.  difficult: no mean feat
[C12: from Old English gemǣne common; related to Old High German gimeini, Latin communis common, at first with no pejorative sense]

mean3 (miːn)
1.  the middle point, state, or course between limits or extremes
2.  moderation
3.  maths
 a.  the second and third terms of a proportion, as b and c in a/b = c/d
 b.  another name for average See also geometric mean
4.  statistics a statistic obtained by multiplying each possible value of a variable by its probability and then taking the sum or integral over the range of the variable
5.  intermediate or medium in size, quantity, etc
6.  occurring halfway between extremes or limits; average
[C14: via Anglo-Norman from Old French moien, from Late Latin mediānusmedian]

meaning (ˈmiːnɪŋ)
1.  the sense or significance of a word, sentence, symbol, etc; import; semantic or lexical content
2.  the purpose underlying or intended by speech, action, etc
3.  the inner, symbolic, or true interpretation, value, or message: the meaning of a dream
4.  valid content; efficacy: a law with little or no meaning
5.  philosophy
 a.  the sense of an expression; its connotation
 b.  See also sense the reference of an expression; its denotation. In recent philosophical writings meaning can be used in both the above senses
6.  expressive of some sense, intention, criticism, etc: a meaning look

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. mænan "to mean, tell, say, complain," from W.Gmc. *mainijanan (cf. O.Fris. mena, Du. menen, Ger. meinen to think, suppose, be of the opinion"), from PIE *meino- "opinion, intent" (cf. O.C.S. meniti "to think, have an opinion," O.Ir. mian "wish, desire," Welsh mwyn "enjoyment"), probably from
base *men- "think."

"low-quality," O.E. gemæne "common, public, general, universal, shared by all," from P.Gmc. *ga-mainiz "possessed jointly" (cf. O.Fris. mene, M.L.G. gemeine, Du. gemeen, Ger. gemein, Goth. gamains "common"), from PIE *ko-moin-i- "held in common," a compound adjective formed from collective prefix
*ko- "together" (P.Gmc. *ga-) + *moi-n-, suffixed form of PIE base *mei- "to change, exchange" (see mutable); cf. second element in common, a word whose sense evolution parallels that of mean (adj.). Sense influenced by mean (n.). Meaning "inferior, poor" emerged c.1300; that of "stingy, nasty" first recorded 1660s; weaker sense of "disobliging, pettily offensive" is from 1839, originally Amer.Eng. slang. Inverted sense of "remarkably good" (i.e. plays a mean saxophone) first recorded c.1900, also in phrase no mean _______ "not inferior" (1590s, also, "not average," reflecting further confusion with mean (n.)).

"that which is halfway between extremes," early 14c., from O.Fr. meien, from L. medianus "of or that is in the middle" (see median). Oldest sense is musical. Sense of "so-so, mediocre" led to confusion with mean (adj.). This is the mean in meantime, meanwhile, and by no means (late 15c.).

c.1300, from mean (v.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

mean (mēn)

  1. Something having a position, quality, or condition midway between extremes; a medium.

  2. A number that typifies a set of numbers, such as a geometric mean or an arithmetic mean.

  3. The average value of a set of numbers.

  1. Occupying a middle or intermediate position between two extremes.

  2. Intermediate in size, extent, quality, time, or degree; medium.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
mean   (mēn)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. A number or quantity having a value that is intermediate between other numbers or quantities, especially an arithmetic mean or average. See more at arithmetic mean.

  2. Either the second or third term of a proportion of four terms. In the proportion 2/3 = 4/6 , the means are 3 and 4. Compare extreme.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

mean definition

An average in statistics. (See under “Physical Sciences and Mathematics.”)

mean definition

In statistics, an average of a group of numbers or data points. With a group of numbers, the mean is obtained by adding them and dividing by the number of numbers in the group. Thus the mean of five, seven, and twelve is eight (twenty-four divided by three). (Compare median and mode.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
When enough redundant words are added, the meaning of the message becomes
These movements take on different meanings in different contexts.
The meaning has changed dramatically over time.
But there's also meaning in the sheer artistry of the place.
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