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mean 1

v. meant (mĕnt), mean·ing, means
a. To be used to convey; denote: "'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things'" (Lewis Carroll).
b. To act as a symbol of; signify or represent: In this poem, the budding flower means youth.
2. To intend to convey or indicate: "No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous" (Henry Adams).
3. To have as a purpose or an intention; intend: I meant to go running this morning, but I overslept.
4. To design, intend, or destine for a certain purpose or end: a building that was meant for storage; a student who was meant to be a scientist.
5. To have as a consequence; bring about: Friction means heat.
6. To have the importance or value of: The opinions of the critics meant nothing to him. She meant so much to me.
To have intentions of a specified kind; be disposed: They mean well but lack tact.
mean business Informal
To be in earnest.

[Middle English menen, from Old English mǣnan, to tell of; see mei-no- in Indo-European roots.]

mean 2

adj. mean·er, mean·est
a. Lacking in kindness; unkind: The teacher was not being mean in asking you to be quiet.
b. Cruel, spiteful, or malicious: a mean boy who liked to make fun of others.
c. Expressing spite or malice: gave me a mean look.
d. Tending toward or characterized by cruelty or violence: mean streets.
e. Extremely unpleasant or disagreeable: the meanest storm in years.
2. Ignoble; base: a mean motive. See Synonyms at base2.
3. Miserly; stingy: mean with money.
a. Low in value, rank, or social status: "I preferred the condition of the meanest reptile to my own" (Frederick Douglass).
b. Common or poor in appearance; shabby: "The rowhouses had been darkened by the rain and looked meaner and grimmer than ever" (Anne Tyler).
5. Slang
a. Hard to cope with; difficult or troublesome: He throws a mean fast ball.
b. Excellent; skillful: She plays a mean game of bridge.

[Middle English, from Old English gemǣne, common; see mei- in Indo-European roots.]

mean′ness n.

mean 3

1. Something having a position, quality, or condition midway between extremes; a medium.
2. Mathematics
a. A number that typifies a set of numbers, such as a geometric mean or an arithmetic mean.
b. The average value of a set of numbers.
3. Logic The middle term in a syllogism.
4. means(used with a sing. or pl. verb) A method, a course of action, or an instrument by which an act can be accomplished or an end achieved.
5. means(used with a pl. verb)
a. Money, property, or other wealth: You ought to live within your means.
b. Great wealth: a woman of means.
1. Occupying a middle or intermediate position between two extremes.
2. Intermediate in size, extent, quality, time, or degree; medium.
by all means
Without fail; certainly.
by any means
In any way possible; to any extent: not by any means an easy opponent.
by means of
With the use of; owing to: They succeeded by means of patience and sacrifice.
by no means
In no sense; certainly not: This remark by no means should be taken lightly.

[Middle English mene, middle, from Old French meien, from Latin mediānus, from medius; see medhyo- in Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: In the sense of "financial resources" means takes a plural verb: His means are more than adequate. In the sense of "a way to an end," means may be treated as a singular or plural. It is singular when referring to a particular strategy or method: The best means of securing the cooperation of the builders is to appeal to their self-interest. It is plural when it refers to a group of strategies or methods: The most effective means for dealing with the drug problem have often been those suggested by the affected communities. · Means is most often followed by of: a means of noise reduction. But for, to, and toward are also used: a means for transmitting sound; a means to an end; a means toward achieving equality.


The following adjectives can also be used in both British and American English to describe someone who does not spend much money:

1. neutral words

Economical and frugal are neutral words.

Spaghetti, ravioli, and noodles have for years been the staple dishes of economical Italian countryfolk.
Make some stringent economies, be as frugal as a monk.
2. 'thrifty'

Thrifty is a complimentary word.

The people were industrious and very thrifty.
3. words shoing disapproval

Miserly, parsimonious, penny-pinching, stingy, tight, and tight-fisted are used to show disapproval. Parsimonious is a formal word.

He was a bit showy with money and overtipped for fear of being thought stingy.
At home he was churlish, parsimonious, and unloving to his daughters.

Penny-pinching is used mainly by journalists and public speakers.

He said the Government's penny-pinching policies were causing loss of life.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.meanness - the quality of being deliberately meanmeanness - the quality of being deliberately mean
malevolency, malice, malevolence - the quality of threatening evil
2.meanness - extreme stinginessmeanness - extreme stinginess      
stinginess - a lack of generosity; a general unwillingness to part with money
littleness, pettiness, smallness - lack of generosity in trifling matters
miserliness - total lack of generosity with money


1. miserliness, parsimony, stinginess, tight-fistedness, niggardliness, selfishness, minginess (Brit. informal), penuriousness This careful attitude to money can border on meanness.
4. shabbiness, squalor, insignificance, pettiness, wretchedness, seediness, tawdriness, sordidness, scruffiness, humbleness, poorness, paltriness, beggarliness, contemptibleness the meanness of our surroundings
"Do not spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar"


دَناءَه، حَقارَه


[ˈmiːnnɪs] N
1. (= stinginess) → tacañería f, mezquindad f
2. (= nastiness) → maldad f, vileza f
3. (= humbleness) → humildad f


[ˈmiːnnɪs] n
(= stinginess) → avarice f
(= nastiness) → méchanceté f
(literary) (= poverty) → dénuement m


(esp Brit: = miserliness) → Geiz m, → Knauserigkeit f
(= unkindness, spite)Gemeinheit f
(= baseness: of birth, motives) → Niedrigkeit f
(= shabbiness)Schäbigkeit f, → Armseligkeit f
(= viciousness)Bösartigkeit f; (of look)Gehässigkeit f, → Hinterhältigkeit f; (of criminal)Niedertracht f


[ˈmiːnnɪs] n (see adj) → avarizia, spilorceria, meschinità f inv, cattiveria, perfidia


(miːn) adjective
1. not generous (with money etc). He's very mean (with his money / over pay).
2. likely or intending to cause harm or annoyance. It is mean to tell lies.
3. (especially American) bad-tempered, vicious or cruel. a mean mood.
4. (of a house etc) of poor quality; humble. a mean dwelling.
ˈmeanly adverb
ˈmeanness noun
meanie noun
(also meany) (slang) a mean, bad and selfish person.
References in classic literature ?
Therefore, a prince, not being able to exercise this virtue of liberality in such a way that it is recognized, except to his cost, if he is wise he ought not to fear the reputation of being mean, for in time he will come to be more considered than if liberal, seeing that with his economy his revenues are enough, that he can defend himself against all attacks, and is able to engage in enterprises without burdening his people; thus it comes to pass that he exercises liberality towards all from whom he does not take, who are numberless, and meanness towards those to whom he does not give, who are few.
Not to give a slave enough to eat, is regarded as the most aggravated development of meanness even among slaveholders.
I greatly fear he has declined -- in which case I can lay my hand on my heart, and solemnly declare that his meanness revolts me.
Many Theresas have been born who found for themselves no epic life wherein there was a constant unfolding of far-resonant action; perhaps only a life of mistakes, the offspring of a certain spiritual grandeur ill-matched with the meanness of opportunity; perhaps a tragic failure which found no sacred poet and sank unwept into oblivion.
Next day, I had the meanness to feign that I was under a binding promise to go down to Joe; but I was capable of almost any meanness towards Joe or his name.
The meanness of betraying the confidence which Geoffrey had reposed in him would be doubled meanness if he proved false to his trust after Geoffrey had personally insulted him.
As he did not, however, outwardly express any such disgust, it would be an ill office in us to pay a visit to the inmost recesses of his mind, as some scandalous people search into the most secret affairs of their friends, and often pry into their closets and cupboards, only to discover their poverty and meanness to the world.
Now the power of election and censure are of the utmost consequence, and this, as has been said, in some states they entrust to the people; for the general assembly is the supreme court of all, and they have a voice in this, and deliberate in all public affairs, and try all causes, without any objection to the meanness of their circumstances, and at any age: but their treasurers, generals, and other great officers of state are taken from men of great fortune and worth.
None of the tricks that he was ever eager to do for Steward, would Michael do for Kwaque, despite the fact that Kwaque had no touch of meanness or viciousness in him.
John, in the midst of this disorderly competition of poverty and meanness, sat stunned, contemplating the mountain bulk of his misfortunes.
His heart warms to him when he can bring forward some example of cruelty or meanness, and he exults like an inquisitor at the
I exulted to have Thackeray attack the aristocrats, and expose their wicked pride and meanness, and I never noticed that he did not propose to do away with aristocracy, which is and must always be just what it has been, and which cannot be changed while it exists at all.