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Usage statistics for the verb mean:

spoken English84.5%written English15.5% conversational speech56.47%task-oriented speech43.53% imaginative writing64.36%informational writing35.64%
View more statistics!

The word mean is considered to be an easy one, according to the Dale-Chall word list, which includes 3000 words that all fourth-grade American students should know and understand.

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Definition of the adjective mean

What does mean mean as an attribute of a noun?

Mean is one of the top 1000 most common adjectives in the English language.

adjective - degrees: meaner | meanest

  1. approximating the statistical norm or average or expected value
    • example: the mean annual rainfall
    • adjective position: attributive adjective (it occurs before the noun)
    • domain: statistics
    • synonym of mean: average
    • similar: normal
  2. characterized by malice
  3. having or showing an ignoble lack of honor or morality
    • examples: taking a mean advantage | chok'd with ambition of the meaner sort
    • synonyms of mean: base / meanspirited
    • similar: ignoble
  4. excellent
  5. marked by poverty befitting a beggar
  6. (used of persons or behavior) characterized by or indicative of lack of generosity
  7. (used of sums of money) so small in amount as to deserve contempt
  8. of no value or worth

Alternative definition of the adjective mean


  1. Causing or intending to cause intentional harm; bearing ill will towards another; cruel; malicious.
  2. Miserly; stingy.
  3. Selfish; acting without consideration of others; unkind.
  4. Powerful; fierce; harsh; damaging.
  5. Accomplished with great skill; deft; hard to compete with.
  6. Low in quality; inferior.
  7. Having the mean (see noun below) as its value.
  8. [obsolete] Middling in quality or excellence; moderately good, tolerable.

Definition of the noun mean

What does mean mean as a name of something?

noun - plural: means

  1. an average of n numbers computed by adding some function of the numbers and dividing by some function of n

Alternative definition of the noun mean


  1. [obsolete, in singular] An intermediate step or intermediate steps.
  2. [context: now chiefly in plural] A method or course of action used to achieve some result. [definition from 14th c.]
  3. Something which is intermediate or in the middle; an intermediate value or range of values; a medium. [definition from 14th c.]
  4. [context: music, now historical] The middle part of three-part polyphonic music; now specifically, the alto part in polyphonic music; an alto instrument. [definition from 15th c.]
  5. [statistics] The average of a set of values, calculated by summing them together and dividing by the number of terms; the arithmetic mean. [definition 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.
  7. [mathematics] Either of the two numbers in the middle of a conventionally presented proportion, as 2 and 3 in 1:2=3:6.

Definition of the verb mean

What does mean mean as a doing word?

Mean is one of the top 50 most common verbs. It is used mostly in speech, being the 10th most common verb in spoken English.View more statistics!

verb - inflections:

simple pastpast participlepresent participlethird-person singular

  1. mean or intend to express or convey
  2. have as a logical consequence
    • example: The water shortage means that we have to stop taking long showers
    • lexical domain: Stative - verbs of being, having, spatial relations
    • synonyms of mean: entail / imply
    • more generic word: necessitate = cause to be a concomitant
  3. denote or connote
    • examples: `maison' means `house' in French | An example sentence would show what this word means
    • lexical domain: Communication - verbs of telling, asking, ordering, singing
    • synonyms of mean: intend / signify / stand for
    • more specific words: denote / refer = have as a meaning
  4. have in mind as a purpose
    • examples: I mean no harm | They mean to move
    • syntax:
      Syntactic formulaExample for the syntactic formulaVerbs with the same syntax
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme] to be [Predicate]He felt the choice to be a bad oneVerbs with Predicative Complements: allow, believe, conjecture, deny, doubt, expect, feel, foreknow, foresee, foretell, guess, hold, infer, know, presume, prophesy, realize, recognize, repute, speculate, surmise, suspect, swear, trust, vaticinate
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme, that-complement clause]The populace feel that the RIAA has too much power
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme, not sentential clause]He denied the horrid woman's statement
      [Experiencer - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme, for-complement clause]I wished for her to do itWish Verbs: aim, dream, expect, hope, imagine, intend, plan, propose, think, wish, yen
      [Experiencer - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme, noun phrase with past participle]I wished the children found
      [Experiencer - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme, subject control with infinitive]He wished to come
      [Experiencer - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme, that-complement clause]He wished that she would come immediately
      [Experiencer - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme, to be]I wished him to be nice
      [Experiencer - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme, not sentential clause]I wished it
    • lexical domain: Cognition - verbs of thinking, judging, analyzing, doubting
    • synonyms of mean: intend / think
    • more specific terms:
  5. have a specified degree of importance
    • examples: My ex-husband means nothing to me | Happiness means everything
    • lexical domain: Stative - verbs of being, having, spatial relations
  6. intend to refer to
  7. destine or designate for a certain purpose

Alternative definition of the verb mean


  1. To intend.
  2. [transitive] To intend, to plan (to do); to have as one's intention. [definition from 8th c.]
  3. [intransitive] To have intentions of a given kind. [definition from 14th c.]
  4. [transitive, usually in passive] To intend (something) for a given purpose or fate; to predestine. [definition from 16th c.]
  5. To convey meaning.
  6. [transitive] To convey (a given sense); to signify, or indicate (an object or idea). [definition from 8th c.]
  7. [transitive] Of a word, symbol etc: to have reference to, to signify. [definition from 8th c.]
  8. [transitive] To have conviction in (something said or expressed); to be sincere in (what one says). [definition from 18th c.]
  9. [transitive] To result in; to bring about. [definition from 19th c.]
  10. [transitive] To be important (to). [definition from 19th c.]
  11. [context: now Ireland, UK regional] To complain, lament.
  12. [context: now Ireland, UK regional] To pity; to comfort.


Mean is a record label.


Mean is a fictional character from the 2011 film The Road to Freedom.


  1. "Mean" is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift for her third studio album, Speak Now. It was written by Swift, who produced the song alongside Nathan Chapman. The song was sent to country radio in the United States on March 13, 2011, as the third single from Speak Now. "Mean" garnered mixed to positive reviews from critics for its lyrical detail and profound country sound. The song received commercial success in the United States and Canada, debuting at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number ten on the Canadian Hot 100. The song also appeared on the Australian Singles Chart at number 45.
    • music and lyrics by Taylor Swift
    • award:
      • Grammy Award for Best Country Song nomination for Taylor Swift
      • Country Music Association Award for Song of the Year nomination for Taylor Swift
      • Teen Choice Award for Choice Country Song nomination for Taylor Swift
      • Grammy Award for Best Country Song, received by Taylor Swift
      • Teen Choice Award for Choice Country Song, received by Taylor Swift
  2. "Mean" is the fifth and final album by the band Montrose. It has much more of a glam metal sound than previous Montrose albums.
  3. "Mean" is a 2010 single by Taylor Swift.
    • released on (5 years ago)
  4. Mean: The music video of the "Mean" song by Taylor Swift.
  5. "Mean" is a musical single of Glee Cast.
    • released on
  6. "Mean" is a musical album of Filthy Christians.
    • released in (26 years ago)
  7. "Mean" is a cataloged instance, composition.
  8. "Mean" is a musical album of American Dog.
    • released on (5 years ago)
  9. "Mean" is a musical album of Idols Are Dead.
    • released on (7 years ago)
  10. "Mean" is a composition.
  11. "Mean" is a composition.


  1. "Mean" is a book by Ken Babstock.
  2. "Mean" is a book by Colette LaBouff Atkinson.


  1. Mean: In mathematics, mean has several different definitions depending on the context.
    • also known as Μέση, Rerata, Rataan, Srednja vrednost, Sredina, Prosjek, Prosječna vrijednost, 平均数
  2. MEAN refers to first letters of the four components of a free and open-source solution stack for building dynamic web sites. MEAN is a full-stack JavaScript platform designed for web applications.
    • genre: Free and open-source software
  3. Mean is an American bi-monthly magazine that covers a wide spectrum of pop culture, focusing on trailblazers in the fields of fashion, art, and cinema. It began as a popular music zine in 1997 and continued in that format through 2001, before being re-launched as a national lifestyle publication in 2004. Mean is published by Kashy Khaledi Media and distributed by Curtis Circulation. Mainly appealing to urban trendsetters between the ages of 21 and 46, Mean has featured a broad assortment of personalities on its cover. Recent covers have included Adrien Brody, Emily Blunt, Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci, Emile Hirsch, Javier Bardem, and Ewan McGregor portraying Woody Allen.

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for Mean

Click on a title to look inside that book (if available):

Google previewThe Concise Encyclopedia of Statistics (2008)

by Yadolah Dodge

HISTORY The arithmetic mean is one of the oldest methods used to combine observations in order to give a unique approximate value. It appears to have ...

Google previewFuldstaendigt Dansk og Engelsk haand-lexicon (1824)

udarbeidet efter de bedste og nyeste ordbøger by Christian Friderich Bay

Middelmaadig, of the middling Sort, middle Seize or Quality, moderate, passable, tolerable, indifferent, mean, ordinary. [ly, passably. Middelmaadigen, indifferentMiddelmaadighed, Mediocrity, Moderatenels, Meanness, Indifferency.

Google previewA Dictionary (1841)

English and Burmese by Charles Lane

Mean, a. of low rank or birth, ao£s& cooo despicable, oo$aq<S&5pocp$ cooo bw in worth, дааф«о§а5сос>0 middle, moderate,

Mean, *. middle rate, cooo<5 :c(go<S: interval, o<Sgo:«>3$ instrument, that which is used in order to any end, ...

Google previewEncyclopaedia Perthensis, Or, Universal Dictionary of the Arts, Sciences, Literature, Etc. : Intended to Supersede the Use of Other Books of Reference (1816)

Oft 'tis seen - Our mean secur'ties, and our mere defects, Prove our commodities, ** Shak. Temperance with golden square, Petwixt them both can measure out a mean. - - . Shak. —There is a mean in all things, and a certain meafure wherein ...

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for Mean

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Usage statistics about mean

The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English from the later part of the 20th century, both spoken and written.

Usage statistics for the verb mean:

spoken English84.5%written English15.5% conversational speech56.47%task-oriented speech43.53% imaginative writing64.36%informational writing35.64%

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the adjective mean:


Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the verb mean:


Photos about Mean

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Video language resources about Mean

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View more videos about The Mean, Mean Girls, and Arithmetic mean.

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Sign language

Mean Men - B & M sign language

Quotes about Mean

Mean, mean
She was mighty mean.
She promised she would marry me.
But then I heard her scream
'I'll not marry that son of a gun.
I caught him cheatin'
out on the run.
So who's the mean one now? (Edwina Reizer)
more quotes about mean...

Scrabble value of M3E1A1N1

The value of this 4-letter word is 6 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

Anagrams of MEAN

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See also the blanagrams of Mean!

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