Definition of

Mean

  1. (noun, cognition) an average of n numbers computed by adding some function of the numbers and dividing by some function of n
  2. (verb, cognition) have in mind as a purpose
    I only meant to help you
    She didn't think to harm me
    We thought to return early that night
  3. (verb, cognition) destine or designate for a certain purpose
  4. (verb, cognition) intend to refer to
    Yes, I meant you when I complained about people who gossip!
  5. (verb, communication) denote or connote
    An example sentence would show what this word means
  6. (verb, communication) mean or intend to express or convey
    what do his words intend?
  7. (verb, stative) have as a logical consequence
  8. (verb, stative) have a specified degree of importance
    Happiness means everything
  9. (adj, all) of no value or worth
  10. (adj, all) (used of sums of money) so small in amount as to deserve contempt
  11. (adj, all) (used of persons or behavior) characterized by or indicative of lack of generosity
    he left a miserly tip
  12. (adj, all) characterized by malice
    in a mean mood
  13. (adj, all) having or showing an ignoble lack of honor or morality
    taking a mean advantage
    chok'd with ambition of the meaner sort
    something essentially vulgar and meanspirited in politics
  14. (adj, all) approximating the statistical norm or average or expected value
    of average height for his age
    the mean annual rainfall
  15. (adj, all) marked by poverty befitting a beggar
    a mean hut
  16. (adj, all) excellent

via WordNet, Princeton University

Origin of the word Mean

  1. O.E. m?nan "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- "… more
  2. "low-quality," O.E. gem?ne "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.… more
  3. "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.). more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

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