American English

Definition of mean verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they mean
    he / she / it means
    past simple meant
    -ing form meaning
    jump to other results
    have as meaning
  1. 1(not used in the progressive tenses) to have something as a meaning mean something What does this sentence mean? What is meant by“batch processing?” mean something to somebody Does the name “David Berwick”mean anything to you (= do you know who he is)? mean (that)… The flashing light means (that) you must stop.
  2. intend as meaning
  3. 2(not used in the progressive tenses) to intend to say something on a particular occasion mean something What did he mean by that remark? “Maybe we should try another approach.” “What do you mean? (= I don't understand what you are suggesting.) What do you mean, you thought I wouldn't mind? (= of course I mind and I am very angry.) What she means is that there's no point in waiting here. I always found him a little strange,if you know what I mean (= if you understand what I mean by “strange”). I know what you mean (= I understand and feel sympathy). I hated learning to drive too. (informal) It was like—weird.Know what I mean? I see what you mean (= I understand although I may not agree), but I still think it's worth trying. See what I mean (= I was right and this proves it, doesn't it)? She never agrees to anything I suggest. “But Pete doesn't know we're here!” “That's what I mean! (= that's what I have been trying to tell you.) Do you mean Ann Smith or Mary Smith? mean (that)… Did he mean (that) he was dissatisfied with our service? You mean (= are you telling me) we have to start all over again? Language Banki.e.explaining what you mean Some poems are mnemonics (i.e., they are designed to help you remember something). Some poems are mnemonics;that is to say, they are designed to help you remember something. Mnemonic poems –that is, poems designed to help you remember something – are an excellent way to learn lists. A limerick's rhyme scheme is A–A–B–B–A. In other words, the first, second, and fifth lines all rhyme with one another, while the third and fourth lines have their own rhyme. In this exercise, the reader is encouraged to work out the meaning, or rather the range of meanings, of the poem. This is a poem about death, or, more precisely, dying. He says his poems deal with “the big issues,”by which he means love, loss, grief, and death.
  4. have as purpose
  5. 3to have something as a purpose or intention synonym intend mean something What did she mean by leaving so early (= why did she do it)? Don't laugh!I mean it (= I am serious). He means trouble (= intends to cause trouble). mean something as something Don't be upset—I'm sure she meant it as a compliment. mean what… He means what he says (= is not joking, exaggerating, etc.). mean something for somebody/something The chair was clearly meant for a child. Don't be angry. I'm sure she meant it for the best (= intended to be helpful). mean to do something She means to succeed. I'm sorry I hurt you.I didn't mean to. I'm feeling very guilty—I've been meaning to call my parents for days, but still haven't got around to it. mean somebody/something to do something I didn't mean you to read the letter. You're meant to (= you are supposed to) pay before you go in. mean (that)… (formal) I never meant (that) you should come alone.
  6. intend someone to be/do something
  7. 4[often passive] to intend someone to be or do something mean somebody for something/somebody Iwas never meant for the army (= did not have the qualities needed to become a soldier). Philip and Kim were meant for each other (= are very suitable as partners). mean somebody/something to be something His father meant him to be an engineer. She did everything to get the two of them together, but I guess it just wasn't meant to be.
  8. have as result
  9. 5to have something as a result or a likely result synonym entail mean something Spending too much now will mean a shortage of cash next year. mean to be/do something Do you have any idea what it means to be poor? mean (that)… We'll have to be careful with money but that doesn't mean(that) we can't enjoy ourselves. mean doing something This new order will mean working overtime. mean somebody/something doing something The injury could mean him missing next week's game.
  10. be important
  11. 6[no passive] mean something to somebody to be of value or importance to someone Your friendship means a great deal to me. $50 means a lot (= represents a lot of money) when you live on $300 a week. Money means nothing to him. His children mean the world to him.
  12. Idioms
    I mean (informal)
    jump to other results
    used to explain or correct what you have just said It was so boring—I mean, nothing happened for the first hour! She's French—French-Canadian, I mean.
    mean business (informal)
    jump to other results
    to be serious in your intentions He has the look of a man who means business.
    mean (somebody) no harm, not mean (somebody) any harm
    jump to other results
    to not have any intention of hurting someone
    mean to say
    jump to other results
    used to emphasize what you are saying or to ask someone if they really mean what they say I mean to say, you should have known how he would react! Do you mean to say you lost it?
    mean well (usually disapproving)
    jump to other results
    to have good intentions, although their effect may not be good
    this means war! (informal)
    jump to other results
    used to say that you are ready to argue or defend yourself
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: mean