what is intended to be, or actually is, expressed or indicated; signification; import:the three meanings of a word.
the end, purpose, or significance of something:What is the meaning of life? What is the meaning of this intrusion?
the nonlinguistic cultural correlate, reference, or denotation of a linguistic form; expression.
linguistic content (opposed to expression).
intentioned (usually used in combination):She's a well-meaning person.
full of significance; expressive:a meaning look.
1250–1300; Middle English (noun, nominal); see mean1, -ing1, -ing2
1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged tenor, gist, drift, trend. Meaning,purport,sense,significance denote that which is expressed or indicated by something. Meaning is the general word denoting that which is intended to be or actually is expressed or indicated:the meaning of a word or glance.Sense may be used to denote a particular meaning (among others) of a word or phrase:The word is frequently used in this sense.Sense may also be used loosely to refer to intelligible meaning:There's no sense in what he says.Significance refers particularly to a meaning that is implied rather than expressed:the significance of her glance; or to a meaning the importance of which may not be easy to perceive immediately:The real significance of his words was not grasped at the time.Purport is mainly limited to the meaning of a formal document, speech, important conversation, etc., and refers to the gist of something fairly complicated:the purport of your letter to the editor.
[not: be + ~-ing] to have as its meaning or its sense; to signify: [~ + object]The word "klock'' in Swedish means "smart; wise.''[~ + (that) clause]That gesture means that the person hates you.
[not: be + ~-ing] to desire to express or indicate; to refer: [~ + object]Which book did you mean?[~ + (that) clause]By "perfect'' I mean there should be no mistakes.
to have in mind as one's purpose or intention; intend: [~ + object]She meant no harm.[ ~ + to + verb]:I've been meaning to call you, but things got too busy.[no object]I'm sure they meant well, but they didn't finish the job.
to be expected to happen in a certain way:[be + meant; not: be + ~ -ing]The couple were meant for each other.
[not: be + ~ -ing] to produce (something) as a result: [~ + object]Further budget cuts will mean more layoffs.[~ + (that) clause]Does this traffic jam mean we'll be late?
[not: be + ~ -ing] to show that something exists as a cause: [~ + object]A grinding noise could mean a damaged disk drive.[~ + (that) clause]A flickering screen could mean that your computer cables are not connected tightly.
to have the value of; to have the importance of:[not: be + ~-ing; ~ + object]Money means everything to them.
mean2/min/USA pronunciationadj.,-er, -est.
having evil or unkind intentions; malicious:a mean, cruel remark.
Usually, means.[plural] an instrument, thing, or method used to achieve something:They have the means, but do they have the will?[countable; singular; used with a singular verb]The quickest means of travel into the jungle is by canoe.[plural; used with a plural verb]The means of winning that election are many: bribery, threats, and smear tactics.
available resources, esp. money:We don't have sufficient means to send our children to college.
considerable financial resources:a person of means.
something located in the middle between two extremes:in the mean.
an average, esp. the arithmetic mean.
adj.[before a noun]
occupying a middle position:the mean amount of rainfall for that region.
Idiomsby all means, certainly:By all means, help yourself, but save some for me.
Idiomsby means of, by the way or method of; by the use of or by using.
Idiomsby no means or not by any means, not at all; definitely not:By no means is he ready to retire. He is not by any means ready to retire.
to have in mind as one's purpose or intention; intend:I meant to compliment you on your work.
to intend for a particular purpose, destination, etc.:They were meant for each other.
to intend to express or indicate:What do you mean by "liberal''?
to have as its sense or signification; signify:The word "freedom'' means many things to many people.
to bring, cause, or produce as a result:This bonus means that we can take a trip to Florida.
to have (certain intentions) toward a person:He didn't mean you any harm.
to have the value of; assume the importance of:Money means everything to them. She means the world to him.
to be minded or disposed; have intentions:Beware, she means ill, despite her solicitous manner.
Idiomsmean well, to have good intentions; try to be kind or helpful:Her constant queries about your health must be tiresome, but I'm sure she means well.
bef. 900; Middle English menen, Old English mǣnan; cognate with German meinen, Dutch meenen
1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged contemplate. See intend.
2.See corresponding entry in Unabridged destine, foreordain.
4.See corresponding entry in Unabridged denote, indicate; import, imply, connote.
mean2(mēn),USA pronunciationadj.,-er, -est.
offensive, selfish, or unaccommodating; nasty; malicious:a mean remark; He gets mean when he doesn't get his way.
small-minded or ignoble:mean motives.
penurious, stingy, or miserly:a person who is mean about money.
inferior in grade, quality, or character:no mean reward.
low in status, rank, or dignity:mean servitors.
of little importance or consequence:mean little details.
unimposing or shabby:a mean abode.
small, humiliated, or ashamed:You should feel mean for being so stingy.
Informal Termsin poor physical condition.
troublesome or vicious; bad-tempered:a mean old horse.
Slang Termsskillful or impressive:He blows a mean trumpet.
bef. 900; Middle English mene, aphetic variant (see y-) of imene, Old English gemǣne; cognate with Dutch gemeen, German gemein common, Gothic gamains in common; compare common
2.See corresponding entry in Unabridged contemptible, despicable. Mean,low,base,sordid, and vile all refer to ignoble characteristics worthy of dislike, contempt, or disgust. Mean suggests pettiness and small-mindedness:to take a mean advantage.Low suggests coarseness and vulgarity:low company.Base suggests selfish cowardice or moral depravity:base motives.Sordid suggests a wretched uncleanness, or sometimes an avariciousness without dignity or moral scruples:a sordid slum; sordid gain.Vile suggests disgusting foulness or repulsiveness:vile insinuation; a vile creature.
3.See corresponding entry in Unabridged niggardly, close, tight, parsimonious, illiberal, ungenerous, selfish. See stingy.
5.See corresponding entry in Unabridged common, humble; undignified, plebeian.
(may take a clause as object or an infinitive) to intend to convey or express
(may take a clause as object or an infinitive) intend: she didn't mean to hurt it
(may take a clause as object) to say or do in all seriousness: the boss means what he says about strikes
(often passive) often followed byfor: to destine or design (for a certain person or purpose): she was meant for greater things
(may take a clause as object) to denote or connote; signify; represent
(may take a clause as object) to produce; cause: the weather will mean long traffic delays
(may take a clause as object) to foretell; portend: those dark clouds mean rain
to have the importance of: money means nothing to him
(intransitive) to have the intention of behaving or acting (esp in the phrases mean wellormean ill)
Etymology: Old English mænan; compare Old Saxon mēnian to intend, Dutch meenen USAGE In standard English, mean should not be followed by for when expressing intention: I didn't mean this to happen (not I didn't mean for this to happen)
chieflyBritmiserly, ungenerous, or petty
despicable, ignoble, or callous: a mean action
poor or shabby: mean clothing, a mean abode
informalashamed: he felt mean about not letting the children go to the zoo
slangexcellent; skilful: he plays a mean trombone
no mean ⇒ of high quality: no mean performer
difficult: no mean feat
Etymology: 12th Century: from Old English gemǣne common; related to Old High German gimeini, Latin communis common, at first with no pejorative sense
the middle point, state, or course between limits or extremes
the second and third terms of a proportion, as b and c in a/b = c/d