mean - definition in the American English Dictionary - Cambridge Dictionaries Online (US)

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

paradox

a situation or statement that seems impossible or is difficult to understand because it contains two opposite facts or characteristics

Word of the Day

What’s All The Commotion About? (Words to describe sounds)

by Kate Woodford,
May 20, 2015
​​​ In this post we look at a range of words and phrases that we use to describe noise and the absence of noise. Starting with complete quiet, we sometimes use the noun hush to describe silence: A hush fell over the room as the bride walked in./There was a deathly hush (=complete

Read More 

plyscraper noun

May 18, 2015
a skyscraper made mainly from wood The development of engineered timber could herald a new era of eco-friendly ‘plyscrapers’. Christchurch welcomed its first multistorey timber structure this year, there are plans for Vancouver, and the talk is China could follow

Read More