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English definition of “mean”

mean

verb uk   /miːn/ (meant, meant) us  

mean verb (EXPRESS)

A2 [T] to express or represent something such as an idea, thought, or fact: What does this word mean? [+ that] These figures mean that almost six percent of the working population is unemployed. What do you mean by that remark? She's quite odd though. Do you know what I mean? [T] used to add emphasis to what you are saying: I want you home by midnight. And I mean midnight. Give it back now! I mean it.

mean verb (HAVE RESULT)

B1 [T] to have a particular result: Lower costs mean lower prices. [+ that] Advances in electronics mean that the technology is already available. [+ -ing verb] If we want to catch the 7.30 train, that will mean leaving the house at 6.00.

mean verb (INTEND)

B1 [I or T] to intend: I'm sorry if I offended you - I didn't mean any harm. The books with large print are meant for our partially sighted readers. [+ to infinitive] I've been meaning to phone you all week. Do you think she meant to say 9 a.m. instead of 9 p.m.? They didn't mean for her to read the letter. be meant to do sth to be intended to: These batteries are meant to last for a year. This exercise isn't meant to be difficult. We were meant to have gone away this week, but Debbie's ill so we couldn't go. You are meant to rub the medicine on the affected area, not swallow it.

mean verb (HAVE IMPORTANCE)

B1 [T] to have an important emotional effect on someone: It wasn't a valuable picture but it meant a lot to me. Possessions mean nothing to him.

mean

adjective uk   /miːn/ us  

mean adjective (NOT GENEROUS)

B2 mainly UK not willing to give or share things, especially money: He's too mean to buy her a ring. My landlord's very mean with the heating - it's only on for two hours each day.

mean adjective (NOT KIND)

B2 unkind or unpleasant: Stop being so mean to me! She just said it to be mean.

mean adjective (VIOLENT)

mainly US frightening and likely to become violent: a mean and angry mob a mean-looking youth

mean adjective (GOOD)

[before noun] informal very good: She's a mean piano player. She plays a mean piano (= she plays very well).

mean adjective (MATHEMATICS)

C2 [before noun] specialized mathematics a mean number is an average number: a mean value Their mean weight was 76.4 kilos.

mean

noun [S] uk   /miːn/ us  

mean noun [S] (MATHEMATICS)

specialized (also the arithmetic mean) mathematics the result you get by adding two or more amounts together and dividing the total by the number of amounts: The mean of 5, 4, 10, and 15 is 8.5.
Compare

mean noun [S] (METHOD)

formal a quality or way of doing something that is in the middle of two completely different qualities or ways of doing something: We need to find a mean between exam questions that are too difficult and those that are too easy.
(Definition of mean from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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