Mean, v. i. To have a purpose or intention. [Rare, except in the phrase to mean well, or ill.]
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.
Mean v. t. [imp. & p. p. Meant p. pr. & vb. n. Meaning.]
1. To have in the mind, as a purpose, intention, etc.; to intend; to purpose; to design; as, what do you mean to do?
What mean ye by this service ? --Ex. xii. 26.
Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good. --Gen. 1. 20.
I am not a Spaniard
To say that it is yours and not to mean it. --Longfellow.
2. To signify; to indicate; to import; to denote.
What mean these seven ewe lambs ? --Gen. xxi. 29.
Go ye, and learn what that meaneth. --Matt. ix. 13.
1. Occupying a middle position; middle; being about midway between extremes.
Being of middle age and a mean stature. --Sir. P. Sidney.
2. Intermediate in excellence of any kind.
According to the fittest style of lofty, mean, or lowly. --Milton.
3. Math. Average; having an intermediate value between two extremes, or between the several successive values of a variable quantity during one cycle of variation; as, mean distance; mean motion; mean solar day.
Mean distance (of a planet from the sun) Astron., the average of the distances throughout one revolution of the planet, equivalent to the semi-major axis of the orbit.
Mean error Math. Phys., the average error of a number of observations found by taking the mean value of the positive and negative errors without regard to sign.
Mean-square error, or Error of the mean square Math. Phys., the error the square of which is the mean of the squares of all the errors; -- called also, mean square deviation, mean error.
Mean line. Crystallog. Same as Bisectrix.
Mean noon, noon as determined by mean time.
Mean proportional (between two numbers) Math., the square root of their product.
Mean sun, a fictitious sun supposed to move uniformly in the equator so as to be on the meridian each day at mean noon.
Mean time, time as measured by an equable motion, as of a perfect clock, or as reckoned on the supposition that all the days of the year are of a mean or uniform length, in contradistinction from apparent time, or that actually indicated by the sun, and from sidereal time, or that measured by the stars.
1. That which is mean, or intermediate, between two extremes of place, time, or number; the middle point or place; middle rate or degree; mediocrity; medium; absence of extremes or excess; moderation; measure.
But to speak in a mean, the virtue of prosperity is temperance; the virtue of adversity is fortitude. --Bacon.
There is a mean in all things. --Dryden.
The extremes we have mentioned, between which the wellinstracted Christian holds the mean, are correlatives. --I. Taylor.
2. Math. A quantity having an intermediate value between several others, from which it is derived, and of which it expresses the resultant value; usually, unless otherwise specified, it is the simple average, formed by adding the quantities together and dividing by their number, which is called an arithmetical mean. A geometrical mean is the nth root of the product of the n quantities being averaged.
3. That through which, or by the help of which, an end is attained; something tending to an object desired; intermediate agency or measure; necessary condition or coagent; instrument.
Their virtuous conversation was a mean to work the conversion of the heathen to Christ. --Hooker.
You may be able, by this mean, to review your own scientific acquirements. --Coleridge.
Philosophical doubt is not an end, but a mean. --Sir W. Hamilton.
Note: ☞ In this sense the word is usually employed in the plural form means, and often with a singular attribute or predicate, as if a singular noun.
By this means he had them more at vantage. --Bacon.
What other means is left unto us. --Shak.
4. pl. Hence: Resources; property, revenue, or the like, considered as the condition of easy livelihood, or an instrumentality at command for effecting any purpose; disposable force or substance.
Your means are very slender, and your waste is great. --Shak.
5. Mus. A part, whether alto or tenor, intermediate between the soprano and base; a middle part. [Obs.]
The mean is drowned with your unruly base. --Shak.
6. Meantime; meanwhile. [Obs.]
7. A mediator; a go-between. [Obs.]
He wooeth her by means and by brokage. --Chaucer.
By all means, certainly; without fail; as, go, by all means.
By any means, in any way; possibly; at all.
If by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the dead. --Phil. iii. ll.
-- By no means, or By no manner of means, not at all; certainly not; not in any degree.
The wine on this side of the lake is by no means so good as that on the other. --Addison.
adj 1: approximating the statistical norm or average or expected
value; "the average income in New England is below
that of the nation"; "of average height for his age";
"the mean annual rainfall" [syn: average, mean(a)]
2: characterized by malice; "a hateful thing to do"; "in a mean
mood" [syn: hateful]
3: having or showing an ignoble lack of honor or morality;
"that liberal obedience without which your army would be a
base rabble"- Edmund Burke; "taking a mean advantage";
"chok'd with ambition of the meaner sort"- Shakespeare;
"something essentially vulgar and meanspirited in
politics" [syn: base, meanspirited]
4: excellent; "famous for a mean backhand"
5: marked by poverty befitting a beggar; "a beggarly existence
in the slums"; "a mean hut" [syn: beggarly]
6: used of persons or behavior; characterized by or indicative
of lack of generosity; "a mean person"; "he left a miserly
tip" [syn: mingy, miserly, tight]
7: used of sums of money; so small in amount as to deserve
contempt [syn: beggarly]
n : an average of n numbers computed by adding some function of
the numbers and dividing by some function of n [syn: mean
v 1: mean or intend to express or convey; "You never understand
what I mean!"; "what do his words intend?" [syn: intend]
2: have as a logical consequence; "The water shortage means
that we have to stop taking long showers" [syn: entail,
3: denote or connote; "`maison' means `house' in French"; "An
example sentence would show what this word means" [syn: intend,
signify, stand for]
4: have in mind as a purpose; "I mean no harm"; "I only meant
to help you"; "She didn't think to harm me"; "We thought
to return early that night" [syn: intend, think]
5: have a specified degree of importance; "My ex-husband means
nothing to me"; "Happiness means everything"
6: intend to refer to; "I'm thinking of good food when I talk
about France"; "Yes, I meant you when I complained about
people who gossip!" [syn: think of, have in mind]
7: destine or designate for a certain purpose; "These flowers
were meant for you"