mean

If you got a fortune cookie with the message "Your future will contain many bananas," you might ask, "What on earth does that mean?" In other words, you wonder what the intention or meaning of the fortune might be.

Mean is one of those ordinary, everyday words with lots of different meanings. The adjective mean can describe someone who's stingy or ungenerous, but it also means "unkind or unfair," which is what a little kid intends to convey when she yells at her mother, "You're mean!" In the sentence, "She lived in a mean little house," mean has yet another meaning, this time being "shabby or poor."

Primary Meanings of mean

1.
v
denote or connote
2.
v
have in mind as a purpose
3.
v
have as a logical consequence
4.
nadj
an average of n numbers computed by adding some function of the numbers and dividing by some function of n
approximating the statistical norm or average or expected value
5.
adj
(used of persons or behavior) characterized by or indicative of lack of generosity
6.
adj
characterized by malice
7.
adj
excellent
Full Definitions of mean
1

v denote or connote

“`maison' means `house' in French”
“An example sentence would show what this word means
Synonyms:
intend, signify, stand for
signify
convey or express a meaning
Types:
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denote, refer
have as a meaning
convolute, pervert, sophisticate, twist, twist around
practice sophistry; change the meaning of or be vague about in order to mislead or deceive
euphemise, euphemize
refer to something with a euphemism
come back, hark back, recall, return
go back to something earlier
identify, name
give the name or identifying characteristics of; refer to by name or some other identifying characteristic property
apply
refer (a word or name) to a person or thing
slur
speak disparagingly of; e.g., make a racial slur
express, state
indicate through a symbol, formula, etc.
2

v have in mind as a purpose

“I mean no harm”
“I only meant to help you”
Synonyms:
intend, think
Types:
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design
intend or have as a purpose
be after, plan
have the will and intention to carry out some action
aim, propose, purport, purpose
propose or intend
think out
consider carefully and rationally
aim, aspire, draw a bead on, shoot for
have an ambitious plan or a lofty goal
go for, hope
intend with some possibility of fulfilment

v destine or designate for a certain purpose

“These flowers were meant for you”
Type of:
designate, destine, intend, specify
design or destine

v mean or intend to express or convey

“You never understand what I mean!”
Synonyms:
intend
Types:
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represent, stand for, symbolise, symbolize, typify
express indirectly by an image, form, or model; be a symbol
signify
convey or express a meaning
import, spell
indicate or signify
aim
direct (a remark) toward an intended goal
aim, drive, get
move into a desired direction of discourse
be, embody, personify
represent, as of a character on stage
epitomise, epitomize, typify
embody the essential characteristics of or be a typical example of
Type of:
convey
make known; pass on, of information

v intend to refer to

“Yes, I meant you when I complained about people who gossip!”
Synonyms:
have in mind, think of
Types:
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advert, bring up, cite, mention, name, refer
make reference to
commend, remember
mention as by way of greeting or to indicate friendship
speak of the devil
mention someone's name who just then appears
remember
mention favorably, as in prayer
cite, quote
refer to for illustration or proof
touch on
refer to or discuss briefly
appeal, invoke
cite as an authority; resort to
namedrop
refer to people that one assumes one's interlocutors admire in order to try to impress them
bring up, raise
put forward for consideration or discussion
drag up, dredge up
mention something unpleasant from the past
cross-refer
refer from one entry to another, as in catalogues, books, and lists
Type of:
associate, colligate, connect, link, link up, relate, tie in
make a logical or causal connection
3

v have as a logical consequence

“The water shortage means that we have to stop taking long showers”
Synonyms:
entail, imply
Type of:
necessitate
cause to be a concomitant

v have a specified degree of importance

“My ex-husband means nothing to me”
“Happiness means everything”
4

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

Synonyms:
mean value
Types:
arithmetic mean, expectation, expected value, first moment
the sum of the values of a random variable divided by the number of values
geometric mean
the mean of n numbers expressed as the n-th root of their product
harmonic mean
the mean of n numbers expressed as the reciprocal of the arithmetic mean of the reciprocals of the numbers
Type of:
average, norm
a statistic describing the location of a distribution

adj approximating the statistical norm or average or expected value

“the mean annual rainfall”
Synonyms:
average
normal
conforming with or constituting a norm or standard or level or type or social norm; not abnormal
5

adj (used of persons or behavior) characterized by or indicative of lack of generosity

“a mean person”
Synonyms:
mingy, miserly, tight
stingy, ungenerous
unwilling to spend

adj (used of sums of money) so small in amount as to deserve contempt

Synonyms:
beggarly
stingy, ungenerous
unwilling to spend

adj of no value or worth

Synonyms:
bastardly
contemptible
deserving of contempt or scorn

adj marked by poverty befitting a beggar

“a mean hut”
Synonyms:
beggarly
poor
characterized by or indicating poverty
6

adj characterized by malice

“in a mean mood”
Synonyms:
hateful
awful, nasty
offensive or even (of persons) malicious

adj having or showing an ignoble lack of honor or morality

“taking a mean advantage”
“"chok'd with ambition of the meaner sort"- Shakespeare”
Synonyms:
base, meanspirited
ignoble
completely lacking nobility in character or quality or purpose
7

adj excellent

“famous for a mean backhand”
Synonyms:
skilled
having or showing or requiring special skill

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