Meaning of Mean


If you got a fortune cookie with the message “Your future will contain many bananas,” you might ask, “What on earth does that mean?” In other words, you wonder what the intention or meaning of the fortune might be.

Mean is one of those ordinary, everyday words with lots of different meanings. The adjective mean can describe someone who’s stingy or ungenerous, but it also means “unkind or unfair,” which is what a little kid intends to convey when she yells at her mother, “You’re mean!” In the sentence, “She lived in a mean little house,” mean has yet another meaning, this time being “shabby or poor.”

Definitions of mean
  1. verb

    denote or connote

    means `house’ in French”
    “An example sentence would show what this word

    intend, signify, stand for


    convey or express a meaning
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    denote, refer

    have as a meaning
    convolute, pervert, sophisticate, twist, twist around

    practice sophistry; change the meaning of or be vague about in order to mislead or deceive
    euphemise, euphemize

    refer to something with a euphemism
    come back, hark back, recall, return

    go back to something earlier
    identify, name

    give the name or identifying characteristics of; refer to by name or some other identifying characteristic property

    refer (a word or name) to a person or thing

    speak disparagingly of; e.g., make a racial slur
    express, state

    indicate through a symbol, formula, etc.
  2. verb

    have in mind as a purpose

    mean no harm”
    “I only
    meant to help you”

    intend, think

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    intend or have as a purpose
    be after, plan

    have the will and intention to carry out some action
    aim, propose, purport, purpose

    propose or intend
    think out

    consider carefully and rationally
    aim, aspire, draw a bead on, shoot for

    have an ambitious plan or a lofty goal
    go for, hope

    intend with some possibility of fulfilment
  3. verb

    destine or designate for a certain purpose

    “These flowers were
    meant for you”
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    type of:

    designate, destine, intend, specify

    design or destine
  4. verb

    mean or intend to express or convey

    “You never understand what I


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    represent, stand for, symbolise, symbolize, typify

    express indirectly by an image, form, or model; be a symbol

    convey or express a meaning
    import, spell

    indicate or signify

    direct (a remark) toward an intended goal
    aim, drive, get

    move into a desired direction of discourse
    be, embody, personify

    represent, as of a character on stage
    epitomise, epitomize, typify

    embody the essential characteristics of or be a typical example of
    type of:


    make known; pass on, of information
  5. verb

    intend to refer to

    “Yes, I
    meant you when I complained about people who gossip!”

    have in mind, think of

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    advert, bring up, cite, mention, name, refer

    make reference to
    commend, remember

    mention as by way of greeting or to indicate friendship
    speak of the devil

    mention someone’s name who just then appears

    mention favorably, as in prayer
    cite, quote

    refer to for illustration or proof
    touch on

    refer to or discuss briefly
    appeal, invoke

    cite as an authority; resort to

    refer to people that one assumes one’s interlocutors admire in order to try to impress them
    bring up, raise

    put forward for consideration or discussion
    drag up, dredge up

    mention something unpleasant from the past

    refer from one entry to another, as in catalogues, books, and lists
    type of:

    associate, colligate, connect, link, link up, relate, tie in

    make a logical or causal connection
  6. verb

    have as a logical consequence

    “The water shortage
    means that we have to stop taking long showers”

    entail, imply

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    type of:


    cause to be a concomitant
  7. verb

    have a specified degree of importance

    “My ex-husband
    means nothing to me”
    means everything”
  8. noun

    an average of n numbers computed by adding some function of the numbers and dividing by some function of n


    mean value

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    arithmetic mean, expectation, expected value, first moment

    the sum of the values of a random variable divided by the number of values
    geometric mean

    the mean of n numbers expressed as the n-th root of their product
    harmonic mean

    the mean of n numbers expressed as the reciprocal of the arithmetic mean of the reciprocals of the numbers
    type of:

    average, norm

    a statistic describing the location of a distribution
  9. adjective

    approximating the statistical norm or average or expected value

    mean annual rainfall”



    conforming with or constituting a norm or standard or level or type or social norm; not abnormal
  10. adjective

    (used of persons or behavior) characterized by or indicative of lack of generosity

    mean person”

    mingy, miserly, tight

    stingy, ungenerous

    unwilling to spend
  11. adjective

    (used of sums of money) so small in amount as to deserve contempt



    stingy, ungenerous

    unwilling to spend
  12. adjective

    of no value or worth




    deserving of contempt or scorn
  13. adjective

    marked by poverty befitting a beggar

    mean hut”



    characterized by or indicating poverty
  14. adjective

    characterized by malice

    “in a
    mean mood”


    awful, nasty

    offensive or even (of persons) malicious
  15. adjective

    having or showing an ignoble lack of honor or morality

    “taking a
    mean advantage”
    “”chok’d with ambition of the
    meaner sort”- Shakespeare”

    base, meanspirited


    completely lacking nobility in character or quality or purpose
  16. adjective


    “famous for a
    mean backhand”


    having or showing or requiring special skill
Word Family

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