Wiktionary:Formatting Policy Proposal/layout 2

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[See this in use at forte, mean, and sake]



mean (1)[edit]

transitive verb

From Old English mænan, "to mean", "to allude to". Confer Durch meenen, German meinen. Cognate with "mind" and German Minne, "love".

Transitive verb[edit]

to mean (meant, meant)

  1. To convey, signify, or indicate.
    • What does this hieroglyph mean?
    • The sky is red this morning—does that mean we're in for a storm?
  2. To want or intend to convey.
    • I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean.
    • Say what you mean and mean what you say.
  3. To intend; to plan on doing.
    • I didn't mean to knock your tooth out.
    • I mean to go to Baddeck this summer.
    • I meant to take the car in for a smog check, but it slipped my mind.
  4. To have conviction in what one says.
    • Does she really mean what she said to him last night?
    • Say what you mean and mean what you say.
  5. To have intentions of a some kind.
    • Don't be angry; she meant well.
    • Someone's coming up. He means business.
  6. To result in; to bring about.
    • One faltering step means certain death.


mean (2)[edit]

From Old English gemæne. Confer Dutch gemeen, German gemein, Gothic gamains. Cognate with Latin communis.


mean (meaner, meanest)

  1. Causing or intending to cause intentional harm; bearing ill will towards another; cruel; malicious.
    • Watch out for her, she's mean. I said good morning to her, and she punched me in the nose.
  2. Selfish; acting without consideration of others; unkind.
    • It was mean to steal the girl's piggy bank, but he just had to get uptown and he had no cash of his own.
  3. Powerful; fierce; harsh; damaging.
    • It must have been a mean typhoon that levelled this town.
  4. Accomplished with great skill; deft; hard to compete with.
    • Your mother can roll a mean cigarette.
    • He hits a mean backhand.
  5. Low in quality; inferior.

Related terms[edit]


mean (3)[edit]

From Old French meien (French moyen), Late Latin medianus, from medius. Cognate with "mid".



  1. Having an intermediate value; based on an average; as, mean distance, mean time, mean solar time, mean sun.


mean (plural: means)

  1. (statistics) An intermediate value based on some measure of central tendency, often an average or the arithmetic mean. (See the related Wikipedia article)
  2. See the noun means
See also[edit]