bef. 900; (noun, nominal) Middle English; Old English man(n); cognate with German Mann, Dutch man, Old Norse mathr, Gothic manna; (verb, verbal) Middle English mannen, Old English mannian to garrison
Man,male,gentleman are nouns referring to adult human beings who are biologically male; that is, physiologically equipped to initiate conception but not to bear children. Man is the most general and most commonly used of the three; it can be neutral, lacking either favorable or unfavorable implication:a wealthy man; a man of strong character, of unbridled appetites.It can also signify possession of the most typical or desirable masculine qualities:to take one's punishment like a man.Male emphasizes the physical or sexual characteristics of a man; it may also refer to an animal or plant:a male in his prime; two males and three females in the pack; a male of the genusIlex. In scientific and statistical use, male is the neutral contrastive term to female:104 females to every 100 males; Among birds, the male is often more colorful than the female.Gentleman, once used only of men of high social rank, now also specifies a man of courtesy and consideration:a real gentleman; to behave like a gentleman.Gentleman is also used as a polite term of reference (This gentleman is waiting for a table) or, only in the plural, of address (Are we ready to begin, gentlemen?). See also manly, male.
The use of man1 to mean "human being,'' both alone and in compounds such as mankind, has met with objection in recent years, and the use is declining. The objection is based on the idea that man is most commonly used as an exclusive, sex-marked noun meaning "male human being.'' Critics of the use of man as a generic maintain that it is sometimes ambiguous when the wider sense is intended (Man has built magnificent civilizations in the desert), but more often flatly discriminatory in that it slights or ignores the membership of women in the human race:The man in the street wants peace, not war.Although some editors and writers reject or disregard these objections to man as a generic, many now choose instead to use such terms as human being(s), human race, humankind, people, or, when called for by style or context, women and men or men and women. See also -man, -person, -woman.
man2(män, man; unstressed mən),USA pronunciationauxiliary v. Scot.
Place NamesIsle of, an island of the British Isles, in the Irish Sea. 58,773; 227 sq. mi. (588 sq. km). Cap.: Douglas.
a combining form of man:layman; postman.
The use of -man as the last element in compounds referring to a person of either sex who performs some function (anchorman; chairman; spokesman) has declined a great deal in recent years. Only if the reference is to a specific male person are such compounds still widely used:Roy Johnston, Channel 83 news anchorman.Sometimes the sex-neutral -person is substituted for -man when the sex of the individual involved is unknown or irrelevant:anchorperson; chairperson; spokesperson.Often when a specific woman is involved, the suffix -woman is used:Doris Powell, Channel 83 news anchorwoman.And sometimes, when possible, a form with no suffix at all is used:Roy Johnston, Channel 83 news anchor.All terms historically ending in -man that designate specific occupations (foreman; mailman; policeman; repairman; etc.) were dropped in favor of sex-neutral terms in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT), published by the U.S. Dept. of Labor in 1977. DOT terms for the occupations listed above are supervisor,mail or letter carrier, police officer (or just officer), repairer (as in radio repairer). Many industries and business firms have adopted similar sex-neutral occupational titles.One -man compound, freshman, is still the term generally used in high schools and colleges and in Congress, and it is applied to both sexes. As a modifier, the singular form freshman is used with both singular and plural nouns:a freshman athlete; freshman legislators.See also chairperson, man, -person, -woman.
an adult male human being, as distinguished from a woman
(modifier) male; masculine: a man child
archaica human being regardless of sex or age, considered as a representative of mankind; a person
(sometimes capital) human beings collectively; mankind: the development of man
Also called:modern mana member of any of the living races of Homo sapiens, characterized by erect bipedal posture, a highly developed brain, and powers of articulate speech, abstract reasoning, and imagination
any extinct member of the species Homo sapiens, such as Cro-Magnon man
a member of any of the extinct species of the genus Homo, such as Java man, Heidelberg man, and Solo man
an adult male human being with qualities associated with the male, such as courage or virility: be a man
manly qualities or virtues: the man in him was outraged
a subordinate, servant, or employee contrasted with an employer or manager
(in combination): the number of man-days required to complete a job
(usually plural) a member of the armed forces who does not hold commissioned, warrant, or noncommissioned rank (as in the phrase officers and men)
a member of a group, team, etc
a husband, boyfriend, etc
an expression used parenthetically to indicate an informal relationship between speaker and hearer
a movable piece in various games, such as draughts
South Africanslangany person: used as a term of address
a vassal of a feudal lord
as one man ⇒ with unanimous action or response
be one's own man ⇒ to be independent or free
he's your man ⇒ he's the person needed (for a particular task, role, job, etc)
man and boy ⇒ from childhood
sort out the men from the boys, separate the men from the boys ⇒ to separate the experienced from the inexperienced
to a man ⇒ without exception
informalan exclamation or expletive, often indicating surprise or pleasure
vb (mans, manning, manned)(transitive)
to provide with sufficient people for operation, defence, etc
to take one's place at or near in readiness for action
to induce (a hawk or falcon) to endure the presence of and handling by man, esp strangers
Etymology: Old English mann; related to Old Frisian man, Old High German man, Dutch man, Icelandic mathr USAGE The use of man to mean human beings in general is often considered sexist. Gender-neutral alternatives include human beings, people and humankind. The verb to man can also often be replaced by to staff, to operate and related words
Black slanga White man or White men collectively, esp when in authority, in the police, or held in contempt
slanga drug peddler
Isle of Man ⇒ an island in the British Isles, in the Irish Sea between Cumbria and Northern Ireland: a UK Crown Dependency (but not part of the United Kingdom), with its own ancient parliament, the Court of Tynwald; a dependency of Norway until 1266, when for a time it came under Scottish rule; its own language, Manx, became extinct in the 19th century but has been revived to some extent. Capital: Douglas. Pop: 75 000 (2003 est). Area: 588 sq km (227 sq miles)
indicating a person who has a role, works in a place, or operates equipment as specified: salesman, barman, cameraman
The use of words ending in -man is avoided as implying a male in job advertisements, where sexual discrimination is illegal, and in many other contexts where a term that is not gender-specific is available, such as salesperson, barperson, camera operator