mean Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “mean” in the English Dictionary

"mean" in British English

See all translations

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.

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

  • 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.

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

  • 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.

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

  • 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.

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

  • 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.

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

  • mean adjective (NOT KIND)

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

expend iconexpend iconMore examples

  • 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 (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.
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 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

See all translations

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/
unkind or not ​caring: I ​felt a little mean when I said I couldn’t ​visit her in the ​hospital until ​Saturday.
slang very good: She ​plays a mean ​bassfiddle.
(Definition of mean from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"mean" in Business English

See all translations

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)
What is the pronunciation of mean?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

“mean” in Business English

Word of the Day

carnival

(a special occasion or period of) public enjoyment and entertainment involving wearing unusual clothes, dancing, and eating and drinking, usually held in the streets of a city

Word of the Day

Chest pains and palpitations: talking about illness (2)
Chest pains and palpitations: talking about illness (2)
by Liz Walter,
February 03, 2016
My previous post (My leg hurts: Talking about illness (1)) presented some general vocabulary to use at the doctor’s. This one looks at some more specific areas of illness and explains some useful words and phrases that you may need to use or understand on a visit to the doctor’s. There are several

Read More 

farecasting noun
farecasting noun
February 08, 2016
predicting the optimum date to buy a plane ticket, especially on a website or using an app A handful of new and updated websites and apps are trying to perfect the art of what’s known as farecasting – predicting the best date to buy a ticket.

Read More