Mean a. [Compar. Meaner superl. Meanest.]
1. Destitute of distinction or eminence; common; low; vulgar; humble. “Of mean parentage.”
The mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself. --Is. ii. 9.
2. Wanting dignity of mind; low-minded; base; destitute of honor; spiritless; as, a mean motive.
Can you imagine I so mean could prove,
To save my life by changing of my love ? --Dryden.
3. Of little value or account; worthy of little or no regard; contemptible; despicable.
The Roman legions and great Caesar found
Our fathers no mean foes. --J. Philips.
4. Of poor quality; as, mean fare.
5. Penurious; stingy; close-fisted; illiberal; as, mean hospitality.
Note: ☞ Mean is sometimes used in the formation of compounds, the sense of which is obvious without explanation; as, meanborn, mean-looking, etc.
Syn: -- Base; ignoble; abject; beggarly; wretched; degraded; degenerate; vulgar; vile; servile; menial; spiritless; groveling; slavish; dishonorable; disgraceful; shameful; despicable; contemptible; paltry; sordid. See Base.