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mean1

[meen] /min/
verb (used with object), meant, meaning.
1.
to have in mind as one's purpose or intention; intend:
I meant to compliment you on your work.
Synonyms: contemplate.
2.
to intend for a particular purpose, destination, etc.:
They were meant for each other.
Synonyms: destine, foreordain.
3.
to intend to express or indicate:
What do you mean by “liberal”?
4.
to have as its sense or signification; signify:
The word “freedom” means many things to many people.
5.
to bring, cause, or produce as a result:
This bonus means that we can take a trip to Florida.
6.
to have (certain intentions) toward a person:
He didn't mean you any harm.
7.
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.
8.
to be minded or disposed; have intentions:
Beware, she means ill, despite her solicitous manner.
Idioms
9.
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.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English menen, Old English mǣnan; cognate with German meinen, Dutch meenen
Synonyms
1. See intend.

mean3

[meen] /min/
noun
1.
Usually, means. (used with a singular or plural verb) an agency, instrument, or method used to attain an end:
The telephone is a means of communication. There are several means of solving the problem.
2.
means.
  1. available resources, especially money:
    They lived beyond their means.
  2. considerable financial resources; riches:
    a man of means.
3.
something that is midway between two extremes; something intermediate:
to seek a mean between cynicism and blind faith.
4.
Mathematics.
  1. a quantity having a value intermediate between the values of other quantities; an average, especially the arithmetic mean.
  2. either the second or third term in a proportion of four terms.
5.
Statistics. expected value.
6.
Logic. the middle term in a syllogism.
adjective
7.
occupying a middle position or an intermediate place, as in kind, quality, degree, or time:
a mean speed; a mean course; the mean annual rainfall.
Idioms
8.
by all means,
  1. (in emphasis) certainly:
    Go, by all means.
  2. at any cost; without fail.
9.
by any means, in any way; at all:
We were not surprised at the news by any means.
10.
by means of, with the help of; by the agency of; through:
We crossed the stream by means of a log.
11.
by no means, in no way; not at all:
The prize is by no means certain.
Origin
1300-50; Middle English mene < Middle French meen, variant of meien < Latin mediānus; see median
Can be confused
mean, median.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for means
  • That's a reason for capital gains taxes to be lower, and lower investment taxes theoretically means more savings and investment.
  • Carr to get his opinion about what this means for teaching and research.
  • The lack of commercial orientation frequently means that too many employees throughout the company are unproductive.
  • Northeast means it's now far cheaper than oil for home heating.
  • Donkeys have been an important means of transportation since biblical times.
  • More shrimp per pound means they are smaller and will cook a little faster.
  • means filed a lawsuit last week, claiming she suffered emotional distress after viewing a videotape of last year's operation.
  • It also means turning away plenty of qualified applicants.
  • Transparency also means linking to sources and data, something the web makes easy.
  • Sometimes survival means lying, stealing, or vanishing in place.
British Dictionary definitions for means

means

/miːnz/
noun
1.
(functioning as singular or pl) the medium, method, or instrument used to obtain a result or achieve an end a means of communication
2.
(functioning as pl) resources or income
3.
(functioning as pl) considerable wealth or income a man of means
4.
by all means, without hesitation or doubt; certainly come with us by all means
5.
by means of, with the use or help of
6.
by no manner of means, definitely not he was by no manner of means a cruel man
7.
by no means, not by any means, on no account; in no way by no means come!

mean1

/miːn/
verb (mainly transitive) 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.
(often passive) often foll by for. 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.
(intransitive) to have the intention of behaving or acting (esp in the phrases mean well or mean ill)
10.
mean business, to be in earnest
Usage note
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)
Word Origin
Old English mænan; compare Old Saxon mēnian to intend, Dutch meenen

mean2

/miːn/
adjective
1.
(mainly 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, mainly US & Canadian) bad-tempered; vicious
6.
(informal) ashamed he felt mean about not letting the children go to the zoo
7.
(informal, mainly US) unwell; in low spirits
8.
(slang) excellent; skilful he plays a mean trombone
9.
no mean
  1. of high quality no mean performer
  2. difficult no mean feat
Derived Forms
meanly, adverb
meanness, noun
Word Origin
C12: from Old English gemǣne common; related to Old High German gimeini, Latin communis common, at first with no pejorative sense

mean3

/miːn/
noun
1.
the middle point, state, or course between limits or extremes
2.
moderation
3.
(maths)
  1. the second and third terms of a proportion, as b and c in a/b = c/d
  2. another name for average (sense 2) 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
adjective
5.
intermediate or medium in size, quantity, etc
6.
occurring halfway between extremes or limits; average
See also means
Word Origin
C14: via Anglo-Norman from Old French moien, from Late Latin mediānusmedian
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for means
n.

"course of action," late 14c., from mean (n.); sense of "wealth" is first recorded c.1600. Cf. French moyens, German Mittel. Phrase by no means attested from late 15c.; means-test is from 1930.

mean

v.

"intend, have in mind," Old English mænan "to mean, intend, signify; tell, say; complain, lament," from West Germanic *mainijan (cf. Old Frisian mena "to signify," Old Saxon menian "to intend, signify, make known," Dutch menen, German meinen "think, suppose, be of the opinion"), from PIE *meino- "opinion, intent" (cf. Old Church Slavonic meniti "to think, have an opinion," Old Irish mian "wish, desire," Welsh mwyn "enjoyment"), perhaps from root *men- "think" (see mind (n.)). Conversational question you know what I mean? attested by 1834.

"calculate an arithemtical mean," 1882, from mean (n.).

adj.

"low-quality," c.1200, "shared by all," from imene, from Old English gemæne "common, public, general, universal, shared by all," from Proto-Germanic *ga-mainiz "possessed jointly" (cf. Old Frisian mene, Old Saxon gimeni, Middle Low German gemeine, Middle Dutch gemene, Dutch gemeen, German gemein, Gothic gamains "common"), from PIE *ko-moin-i- "held in common," a compound adjective formed from collective prefix *ko- "together" (Proto-Germanic *ga-) + *moi-n-, suffixed form of PIE root *mei- "to change, exchange" (see mutable). Cf. second element in common (adj.), a word with a sense evolution parallel to that of this word.

Of things, "inferior, second-rate," from late 14c. (a secondary sense in Old English was "false, wicked"). Notion of "so-so, mediocre" led to confusion with mean (n.). Meaning "inferior in rank or status" (of persons) emerged early 14c.; that of "ordinary" from late 14c.; that of "stingy, nasty" first recorded 1660s; weaker sense of "disobliging, pettily offensive" is from 1839, originally American English slang. Inverted sense of "remarkably good" (i.e. plays a mean saxophone) first recorded c.1900, perhaps from phrase no mean _______ "not inferior" (1590s, also, "not average," reflecting further confusion with mean (n.)).

"occupying a middle or intermediate place," mid-14c., from Anglo-French meines (plural), Old French meien, variant of moiien "mid-, medium, common, middle-class" (12c., Modern French moyen), from Late Latin medianus "of the middle," from Latin medius "in the middle" (see medial (adj.)). Meaning "intermediate in time" is from mid-15c. Mathematical sense is from late 14c.

n.

"that which is halfway between extremes," early 14c., from Old French meien "middle, means, intermediary," noun use of adjective from Latin medianus "of or that is in the middle" (see mean (adj.2)). Oldest sense is musical; mathematical sense is from c.1500. Some senes reflect confusion with mean (adj.1). This is the mean in by no means (late 15c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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means in Medicine

mean (mēn)
n.

  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.

adj.
  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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means in Science
mean
  (mēn)   
  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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means in Culture

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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Slang definitions & phrases for means

mean

adjective

Excellent; wonderful; classy, wicked: This girl has already proved she can play a mean game of tennis/ And Wheelright had a great, mean ear for dialect (1900+ Black)

Related Terms

lean and mean, shake a wicked calf


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with means
, also see under
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for means

mean

in mathematics, a quantity that has a value intermediate between those of the extreme members of some set. Several kinds of mean exist, and the method of calculating a mean depends upon the relationship known or assumed to govern the other members. The arithmetic mean, denoted x, of a set of n numbers x1, x2, , xn is defined as the sum of the numbers divided by n:

Learn more about mean with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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