mean - definition in the American English Dictionary - Cambridge Dictionaries Online

Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “mean”

See all translations

mean

verb  us   /min/ (past tense and past participle meant  /ment/ )

mean verb (EXPRESS)

[T] to represent or express something intended, or to refer to someone or something: "What does ’rough’ mean?" "It means ’not smooth.’" [+ that clause] These figures mean that almost 7% of the population is unemployed. "Do you see that girl over there?" "Do you mean the one with short blond hair?"

mean verb (HAVE RESULT)

[T] to have as a result: Lower costs mean higher profits. [+ (that) clause] If she doesn’t answer the phone, it means (that) she’s out in the garden.

mean verb (HAVE IMPORTANCE)

[T] to have the importance or value of: My grandmother’s ring wasn’t valuable, but it meant a lot to me.

mean verb (INTEND)

[I/T] to say or do something intentionally; intend: [T] I think she meant 8 o’clock, although she said 7 o’clock. [I] I’ve been meaning to call you but I’ve been so busy I never got around to it. [I/T] Mean can also be used to add emphasis to what you are saying: [T] She means what she says.

mean

noun [C]  /min/

mean noun [C] (AVERAGE)

mathematics a number that is the result of adding a group of numbers together and then dividing the result by how many numbers were in the group

mean

adjective [-er/-est only]  us   /min/

mean adjective [-er/-est only] (NOT KIND)

unkind or not caring: I felt a little mean when I said I couldn’t visit her in the hospital until Saturday.

mean adjective [-er/-est only] (GOOD)

slang very good: She plays a mean bass fiddle.
(Definition of mean from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of mean?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “mean” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

force somebody's hand

to make someone do something they do not want to do, or act sooner than they had intended

Word of the Day

They sometimes go here and they never go there: using adverbs of frequency

by Liz Walter,
April 29, 2015
Sometimes, always, often, never: these are some of the most common words in English.  Unfortunately, they are also some of the words that cause the most problems for students. Many of my students put them in the wrong place, often because that’s where they go in their own languages. They say things

Read More 

Evel abbreviation

May 04, 2015
English votes for English laws; the idea that only English (as opposed to Scottish, Welsh or Irish) MPs should be allowed to vote for laws that affect only England Yet these are the two principal constitutional proposals that have come from the Conservative party in its kneejerk response to Ukip’s English nationalism and

Read More