Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Topic: MEASUREMENT

Sense: 1-5, 7
Origin: Old English gemæne
Sense: 6
Date: 1300-1400
Language: Old French
Origin: meien, from Latin medianus; MEDIAN2

mean

2 adjective
     
mean2 comparative meaner, superlative meanest
1

cruel

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!
2

not generous

British English not wanting to spend money, or not wanting to use much of something [= stingy; = cheap AmE]
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 etc

something that is very difficult to do, so that someone who does it deserves to be admired:
They sold 1 million cards in the first year of business - no mean feat, given the problems many businesses are facing.
4

be no mean performer/player etc

to be very good at doing something:
Kinnock is no mean performer on the rugby field.
5

a mean something

informal used to say that something is very good or that someone is very good at doing something:
He plays a mean game of poker.
They serve a mean Sunday brunch at the restaurant on Fourth Street.
6

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] literary poor or looking poor:
She walked briskly through the mean and dirty streets.
meanly adverb
meanness noun [uncountable]
WORD FOCUS: horrible WORD FOCUS: horrible
taste or smell: nasty, not very nice, revolting, disgusting, foul, unpleasant, gross informal

experience, situation, or feeling: nasty, not very nice, terrible, unpleasant

person: nasty, not very nice, obnoxious, mean American English, unpleasant, objectionable


See also
horrible
WORD FOCUS: unkind WORD FOCUS: unkind
similar words: nasty, cruel, mean, inconsiderate, thoughtless, insensitive, unsympathetic, hard-hearted


See also
unkind
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