English

Definition of man noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

      

    man

     noun
    noun
    BrE BrE//mæn//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//mæn//
     
    (pl. men
    BrE BrE//men//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//men//
     
    )
    Middle age, Brave
     
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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 See related entries: Middle age
  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, in both British English and North American English. When talking about jobs that are traditionally done by the other sex, some people say: a male secretary/nurse/model (NOT man) or a woman/female doctor/barrister/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 woman doctor.They have a male nanny for their kids.a female racing driverPronouns 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 everybody, everyone, anybody, anyone, somebody, someone, 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’.) 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 say Babies 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[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, in both British English and North American English. When talking about jobs that are traditionally done by the other sex, some people say: a male secretary/nurse/model (NOT man) or a woman/female doctor/barrister/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 woman doctor.They have a male nanny for their kids.a female racing driverPronouns 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 everybody, everyone, anybody, anyone, somebody, someone, 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’.) 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 say Babies 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. the BBC’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 man's coming to repair the TV today.
  12. form of address
  13. 9[singular] (informal, especially North American English) 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 See related entries: Brave
  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. Word Origin Old English man(n), (plural) menn (noun), mannian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch man, German Mann, and Sanskrit manu ‘mankind’.Extra examples George Clooney’s first role as leading man He found success hard to come by after losing his right-hand man. He walked out of court a free man. He was a lucky man to have found such a partner. He was a self-made man who raised himself from poverty to success. He’s a family man who rarely goes out with his friends. How could a human torture his fellow man? I was helped by two burly men with tattoos. I’ve never been a gambling man. In man the brain is highly developed. It’s a powerful indictment of the horrors of war and man’s inhumanity to man. Several people made speeches in honour of the great man. Vincente is a wanted man back in his own country. What a horrible man! a little old man a middle-aged, balding man the most poisonous substance known to man He’s a good-looking young man. I now pronounce you man and wife. Many burials of Neanderthal man have been excavated in Europe. Many people are worried about the damage caused by man to the environment. Over 150 men, women and children were killed. They uncovered tools used by prehistoric man. What’s her new man like?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
    to be the best or most suitable person to do a particular job, etc. For a superb 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.
    to act or think independently, not following others or being ordered Working for himself meant that he could be his own man. (saying) people must take care of themselves and not give or expect any help In business, it's every man for himself.
    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 somebody 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 man who frequently goes to fashionable parties, clubs, theatres, etc. In his new suit, he looked quite 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
    from when somebody was young to when they were old or older He's been doing the same job for 50 years—man and boy.
    the man (and/or woman) in 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 in the street.
    (old-fashioned, formal) a religious man, especially a priest or a clergyman (British English, sport) the member of a team who plays the best in a particular game Rooney was named man of the match.
    a man/woman of (many) parts
     
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    a person with many skills
    (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
     
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    (formal) 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
    a way of describing a dog
    a man’s home is his castle (US English) (British English an Englishman’s home is his castle)
     
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    (saying) a person’s home is a place where they can be private and safe and do as they like
    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 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.
    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
     
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    (saying) 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/sort out the men from the boys
     
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    to show or prove who is brave, skilful, 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
     
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    (saying) a person who is determined or wants something very much will succeed
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: man