American English

Definition of man noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary

      

    man

     noun
    noun
    NAmE//mæn//
     
    (pl. men
    NAmE//mɛn//
     
    )
     
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    male person
  1. 1 [countable] an adult male human a good-looking young man the relationships between men and women see also dirty old man, ladies' man, men's room
  2. humans
  3. 2[uncountable] humans as a group or from a particular period of history the damage caused by man to the environment early/modern/Prehistoric man More Aboutgenderways of talking about men and women When you are writing or speaking English, it is important to use language that includes both men and women equally. Some people may be very offended if you do not.the human race Man and mankind have traditionally been used to mean “all men and women.” Many people now prefer to use humanity, the human race, human beings, or people.jobs The suffix -ess in names of occupations such as actress, hostess, and waitress shows that the person doing the job is a woman. Many people now avoid these. Instead, you can use actor or host, (although actress and hostess are still very common) or a neutral word, such as server for waiter and waitress. Neutral words like assistant, worker, person, or officer are now often used instead of -man or -woman in the names of jobs. For example, you can use police officer instead of policeman or policewoman, and spokesperson instead of spokesman or spokeswoman. Neutral words are very common in newspapers, on television and radio, and in official writing. When talking about jobs that are traditionally done by the other sex, some people say:a male secretary/nurse/model or a femaledoctor/scientist/driver. However, this is now not usually used unless you need to emphasize which sex the person is or it is still unusual for the job to be done by a man/woman:My daughter prefers to see a female doctor. They have a male nanny for their sons.pronouns He used to be considered to cover both men and women:Everyone needs to feel he is loved. This is not now acceptable. Instead, after everyone, everybody, anyone, anybody, someone, somebody, etc. one of the plural pronouns they, them, and their is often used:Does everybody know what they want? Somebody’s left their coat here. I hope nobody’s forgotten to bring their passport with them. Some people prefer to use he or she, his or her, or him or her in speech and writing:Everyone knows what’s best for him or herself.He/she or (s)he can also be used in writing:If in doubt, ask your doctor. He/she can give you more information.(You may find that some writers just use “she” or alternate between “he” and “she.”) These uses can seem awkward when they are used a lot. It is better to try to change the sentence, using a plural noun. Instead of saying:A baby cries when he or she is tired, you can sayBabies cry when they are tired.
  4. 3[countable] (literary or old-fashioned) a person, either male or female All men must die.
  5. particular type of man
  6. 4
    NAmE//mæn//
     
    , NAmE//mən//
     
    [countable] (in compounds) a man who comes from the place mentioned or whose job or interest is connected with the thing mentioned a Frenchman a businessman a medical man a sportsman More Aboutgenderways of talking about men and women When you are writing or speaking English, it is important to use language that includes both men and women equally. Some people may be very offended if you do not.the human race Man and mankind have traditionally been used to mean “all men and women.” Many people now prefer to use humanity, the human race, human beings, or people.jobs The suffix -ess in names of occupations such as actress, hostess, and waitress shows that the person doing the job is a woman. Many people now avoid these. Instead, you can use actor or host, (although actress and hostess are still very common) or a neutral word, such as server for waiter and waitress. Neutral words like assistant, worker, person, or officer are now often used instead of -man or -woman in the names of jobs. For example, you can use police officer instead of policeman or policewoman, and spokesperson instead of spokesman or spokeswoman. Neutral words are very common in newspapers, on television and radio, and in official writing. When talking about jobs that are traditionally done by the other sex, some people say:a male secretary/nurse/model or a femaledoctor/scientist/driver. However, this is now not usually used unless you need to emphasize which sex the person is or it is still unusual for the job to be done by a man/woman:My daughter prefers to see a female doctor. They have a male nanny for their sons.pronouns He used to be considered to cover both men and women:Everyone needs to feel he is loved. This is not now acceptable. Instead, after everyone, everybody, anyone, anybody, someone, somebody, etc. one of the plural pronouns they, them, and their is often used:Does everybody know what they want? Somebody’s left their coat here. I hope nobody’s forgotten to bring their passport with them. Some people prefer to use he or she, his or her, or him or her in speech and writing:Everyone knows what’s best for him or herself.He/she or (s)he can also be used in writing:If in doubt, ask your doctor. He/she can give you more information.(You may find that some writers just use “she” or alternate between “he” and “she.”) These uses can seem awkward when they are used a lot. It is better to try to change the sentence, using a plural noun. Instead of saying:A baby cries when he or she is tired, you can sayBabies cry when they are tired.
  7. 5[countable] a man who likes or who does the thing mentioned a betting/drinking/fighting man I think he's a beer man (= he drinks beer). see also family man
  8. 6 [countable] a man who works for or supports a particular organization, comes from a particular town, etc. CNN's man in Moscow (= the man who reports on news from Moscow) a loyal Republican Party man see also right-hand man, yes-man
  9. soldier/worker
  10. 7[countable, usually plural] a soldier or a male worker who obeys the instructions of a person of higher rank The officer refused to let his men take part in the operation. The conditions in which the men were working were terrible.
  11. 8[countable] a man who comes to your house to do a job the gas man The cable man's coming to fix the TV today.
  12. form of address
  13. 9 [singular] (informal) used for addressing a male person Nice shirt, man! Hey man. Back off!
  14. 10[singular] (old-fashioned) used for addressing a male person in an angry or impatient way Don't just stand there, man—get a doctor!
  15. husband/boyfriend
  16. 11[countable] (sometimes disapproving) a husband or sexual partner What's her new man like? I now pronounce you man and wife (= you are now officially married). see also old man
  17. strong/brave person
  18. 12[countable] a person who is strong and brave or has other qualities that some people think are particularly male Come on, now—be a man. She's more of a man than he is. see also he-man, muscleman, superman
  19. servant
  20. 13[singular] (old-fashioned) (formal) a male servant My man will drive you home.
  21. in chess
  22. 14[countable] one of the figures or objects that you play with in a game such as chess see also chessman
  23. Idioms with everyone doing or thinking the same thing at the same time; in agreement The crowd rose to their feet as one man. The staff speak as one man on this issue.
      be all things to all men/people
       
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    1. 1(of people) to please everyone by changing your attitudes or opinions to suit different people
    2. 2(of things) to be understood or used in different ways by different people
    be somebody's man
     
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    to be the best or most suitable person to do a particular job, etc. For a fabulous haircut, David's your man.
    be man enough (to do something/for something)
     
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    to be strong or brave enough He was not man enough to face up to his responsibility.
    be your own man/woman
     
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    to act or think independently, not following others or being ordered Working for himself meant that he could be his own man.
    every man for himself (saying)
     
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    people must take care of themselves and not give or expect any help In business, it's every man for himself.
    a gentleman/lady/man/woman of leisure (humorous)
     
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    a man/woman who does not have to work
    a/the grand old man (of something)
     
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    a man who is respected in a particular profession that he has been involved in for a long time James Lovelock, the grand old man of environmental science
    (not) in so/as many words
     
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    (not) in exactly the same words as someone says were used “Did she say she was sorry?” “Not in so many words.” He didn't approve of the plan and said so in as many words.
    like a man/woman possessed, like one possessed
     
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    with a lot of force or energy He flew out of the room like a man possessed.
    make a man (out) of somebody
     
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    to make a young man develop and become more adult They thought the army would make a man of him.
    a/the man about town
     
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    a man who frequently goes to fashionable parties, clubs, theaters, etc. In his new suit, he looked like the man about town.
    a man/woman after your own heart
     
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    a man/woman who likes the same things or has the same opinions as you
    a man of God/the cloth (old-fashioned) (formal)
     
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    a religious man, especially a priest or a minister
    a man/woman of (many) parts
     
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    a person with many skills
    a man of the people
     
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    (especially of a politician) a man who understands and is sympathetic to ordinary people He is not only a statesman, but also a man of the people.
    a man/woman of substance (formal)
     
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    a rich and powerful man or woman
    a man/woman of the world
     
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    a person with a lot of experience of life, who is not easily surprised or shocked
    the man (and/or woman) on the street
     
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    an average or ordinary person, either male or female Politicians often don't understand the views of the man on the street.
    man's best friend
     
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    a way of describing a dog
    a man's home is his castle (saying)
     
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    a person's home is a place where they can be private and safe and do as they like
    a man's man
     
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    a man who is more popular with men than with women
    between two men who are treating each other honestly and equally I'm telling you all this man to man. a man-to-man talk
    a marked man/woman
     
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    a person who is in danger because their enemies want to harm them He has been a marked man since he decided to cooperate with the police.
    the next man, woman, person, etc.
     
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    the average person I can enjoy a joke as well as the next man, but this is going too far.
    the odd man/one out
     
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    a person or thing that is different from others or does not fit easily into a group or set At school he was always the odd man out. Dog, cat, horse, shoe—which is the odd one out?
    one man's meat is another man's poison (saying)
     
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    used to say that different people like different things; what one person likes very much, another person does not like at all
    the poor man's somebody/something
     
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    a person or thing that is similar, to but of a lower quality than, a particular famous person or thing Sparkling white wine is the poor man's champagne.
    separate the men from the boys
     
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    to show or prove who is brave, skillful, etc. and who is not
    to a man, to the last man
     
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    used to emphasize that something is true of all the people being described They answered “Yes,” to a man. They were all destroyed, to the last man.
    you can't keep a good man down (saying)
     
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    a person who is determined or wants something very much will succeed
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: man