mean Definition

  • 1intend to convey or refer to (a particular thing); signify
  • 2unkind, spiteful, or unfair
  • 3low in quality or inferior in condition; poor

Using mean: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "mean" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    What do you mean by that?

  • Example

    I didn't mean to hurt your feelings.

  • Example

    That's a mean thing to say.

  • Example

    The mean temperature for the month was 20 degrees Celsius.

mean Synonyms and Antonyms

Antonyms for mean

Phrases with mean

  • mean business

    to be serious about something and intend to take action


    The boss said he means business about finishing the project on time.

  • a tendency to be unkind or cruel


    He has a mean streak and often bullies his classmates.

  • something that is difficult to achieve


    Winning the championship two years in a row is no mean feat.

Origins of mean

from Old English 'mǣnan', meaning 'to mean, signify'


Summary: mean in Brief

The verb 'mean' [miːn] can refer to intending to convey or signify something, as in 'What do you mean by that?' It can also describe someone who is unkind or cruel, as in 'He has a mean streak.' Additionally, it can describe something of low quality or poor condition, as in 'The mean temperature for the month was 20 degrees Celsius.' Phrases like 'mean business' and 'no mean feat' extend the term's usage.

How do native speakers use this expression?