Meaning of “mean” - Learner’s Dictionary


verb [ T ] us uk /miːn/ past tense and past participle meant /ment/

A2 to have a particular meaning:

What does 'perpendicular' mean?
The red light means stop.

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B1 to intend to express a fact or opinion:

I didn't mean that as a criticism.
That's what I meant when I said he's been acting oddly.
What exactly do you mean by 'old-fashioned'?

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mean to do sth

B1 to intend to do something:

I didn't mean to hurt her.

B1 to have a particular result:

These changes will mean better health care for everyone.
[ + (that) ] It doesn't mean that you can stop working.

to be serious about something that you have said:

I'll take that sandwich away if you don't eat it properly - I mean it!

B1 to have an important emotional effect on someone:

You don't know what it means to me to get this letter.
Their support has meant a lot to us.
have been meaning to do sth

B1 to have been wanting and planning to do something:

I've been meaning to call you for weeks.
be meant to do sth

If you are meant to do something, that is what you should do in order to behave correctly:

You're meant to shake the bottle first.
He's not meant to drive any more.
mean well

to intend to behave in a kind way:

I know my parents mean well, but I wish they wouldn't interfere.
I mean

something that people often say before they continue their sentence:

I mean, I don't dislike her.

A2 something that you say in order to correct yourself:

We went there in May - I mean June.

(Definition of “mean verb” from the Cambridge Learner’s Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)