meanmean2 ●●● S3 adjective (comparative meaner, superlative meanest) 1 UNKINDcruel cruel or not kind That was a mean thing to do. I felt a bit mean asking him to help. It’s a mean trick to play on someone. It was mean of him not to invite her.mean to Don’t be so mean to her!► see thesaurus at unkind2 not generous British EnglishGENEROUS not wanting to spend money, or not wanting to use much of something syn stingy, cheap American English He’s too mean to buy a present for his wife.mean with He’s always been mean with his money. It was supposed to be garlic bread, but they’d been a bit mean with the garlic.3 → no mean feat/achievement/task etc4 → be no mean performer/player etc5 → a mean something6 average [only before noun] technicalHM average The study involved 60 patients with a mean age of 58.2 years. The mean annual rainfall was 852 mm.7 poor [only before noun] literaryPOOR poor or looking poor She walked briskly through the mean and dirty streets. —meanly adverb —meanness noun [uncountable]
Examples from the Corpusmean• There's no reason to be mean.• We soon found out that our new teacher could be real mean.• Now with Sam gone Helen will get meaner and meaner to me like always.• Rick's so mean he never even buys his wife a birthday present.• He's so mean, he won't even buy his wife a birthday present.• The mean labelling indices did not change significantly over time regardless of whether or not there were recurrences.• The mean length of stay in the hospital is 11 days.• The disparity between solar noon and mean noon widens and narrows as the seasons change, on a sliding scale.• It was mean of you to disturb her when she was having a rest.• My father was a mean old man who resented every penny he spent on us.• In the garden grey airs blow moist, but the mean sky holds on to its water.• I never thought he was capable of doing such a mean thing to his brother.• Sharon and the others were really mean to me at school today.• He was mean to those who worked for him and generous to those who he hardly knew.• That was a mean trick.• She hated him for being so mean. Why was he stopping her from seeing her friends?• Marsha has always been mean with her money.mean to• Mom, Laverne is being mean to me.