mean Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary
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Meaning of “mean” in the English Dictionary

"mean" in British English

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meanverb

uk   us   /miːn/ (meant, meant)

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 thatalmost six ​percent of the ​workingpopulation is ​unemployed. What do you mean by that ​remark? She's ​kind of ​strange though. Do you ​know what I mean? "They all ​showed up." "You mean the ​entirefamily?" [T] used to ​addemphasis to what you are saying: I ​want you ​home by ​midnight. And I mean ​midnight. Give it back now! I mean it.
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mean verb (HAVE RESULT)

B1 [T] to have a ​particularresult: Lower ​costs mean ​lowerprices. [+ 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.
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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 ​largeprint are meant forpartiallysightedreaders. [+ to infinitive] I've been meaning tocall you all ​week. Do you ​think she meant to say 9 a.m. ​instead of 9 p.m.? They didn't mean for her toread 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 ​affectedarea, not ​swallow it.
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  • I didn't mean to be ​rude - it just came out like that.
  • He doesn't really mean it - he's just being ​contrary.
  • He's always making ​flatteringremarks, but he doesn't really mean them.
  • I didn't mean to ​upset her - it was just a ​bit of ​fun.
  • He didn't mean it - he said it in the ​heat of the ​moment.

mean verb (HAVE IMPORTANCE)

B1 [T] to have an ​importantemotionaleffect on someone: It wasn't a ​valuablepicture but it meant a lot to me. Possessions mean nothing to him.
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  • Her ​children mean all the ​world to her.
  • Gerald means nothing to me now.
  • Her ​career means everything to her.
  • Nothing means more to me than my children's ​happiness.
  • Her ​approval meant a lot to me.

meanadjective

uk   us   /miːn/

mean adjective (NOT GENEROUS)

B2 mainly UK not ​willing to give or ​share things, ​especiallymoney: 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.
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mean adjective (NOT KIND)

B2 unkind or ​unpleasant: Stop being so mean to me! She just said it to be mean.
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  • He's as mean as they come.
  • You shouldn't have been so mean to ​yourmother - she ​deservesbetter.
  • And she didn't ​invite him? That was a ​bit mean!
  • Stop being so mean to ​yourbrother!
  • It was mean of him to make her ​stay late.

mean adjective (VIOLENT)

mainly US frightening and ​likely to ​becomeviolent: a mean and ​angrymob a mean-looking ​youth

mean adjective (GOOD)

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

mean adjective (BAD QUALITY)

[before noun] informal poor, ​dirty, and of ​badquality: He was ​born in the mean ​streets of Detroit in 1945.

mean adjective (MATHEMATICS)

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

meannoun [S]

uk   us   /miːn/

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.
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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 betweentestquestions that are too ​difficult and those that are too ​easy.
(Definition of mean from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"mean" in American English

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meanverb

 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 ​shortblondhair?"

mean verb (HAVE RESULT)

[T] to have as a ​result: Lower ​costs mean ​higherprofits. [+ (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 ​addemphasis to what you are saying: [T] She means what she says.

meannoun [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

meanadjective [-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 ​bassfiddle.
(Definition of mean from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"mean" in Business English

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meannoun [S]

uk   us   /miːn/
(also arithmetic mean) MEASURES 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.
a ​quality or way of doing something that is in the middle of two completely different ​qualities or ways of doing something: a mean between sth and sth This description doesn't give enough ​information, and this one is too ​long – we need to find a mean between the two.

meanverb [T]

uk   us   /miːn/ (present participle meant, past tense and past participle meant)
to ​express or ​represent something such as an ​idea, ​thought, or fact: What does this word mean?mean sth by sth What do you mean by 'rightsizing the ​department'?
to have a particular ​result: Lower ​costs mean ​lowerprices.mean (that) Advances in ​electronics mean that the ​technology is already ​available.mean doing sth If we ​increased our ​workforce, that would mean ​finding larger ​premises.

meanadjective

uk   us   /miːn/
MEASURES a mean ​number is the ​result you get by ​adding two or more ​amounts together and ​dividing the ​total by the ​number of ​amounts: The mean ​weight of the ​crates is 76.4 ​kilos. The ​table above ​shows the mean ​priceperdozen of large ​grade A eggs.
unkind: be mean to sb If she's ever mean to ​staff, she always apologizes afterwards.
not generous: be mean with sth My ​boss is well known for being mean with ​money.
(Definition of mean from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“mean” in Business English

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