Sense: 1-5, 7
|Origin:||Old English gemæne|
|Origin:||meien, from Latin medianus; MEDIAN2|
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.
Don't be so mean to her!
not wanting to spend money, or not wanting to use much of something [= stingy; = cheap AmE]
not generousBritish English
He's too mean to buy a present for his wife.
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.
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.
to be very good at doing something:
Kinnock is no mean performer on the rugby field.
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.
average[only before noun] technicalHM
The study involved 60 patients with a mean age of 58.2 years.
The mean annual rainfall was 852 mm.
poor or looking poor:
poor[only before noun] literary
She walked briskly through the mean and dirty streets.
—meanness noun [uncountable]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 horribleWORD FOCUS: unkind
similar words: nasty, cruel, mean, inconsiderate, thoughtless, insensitive, unsympathetic, hard-hearted
➔ See also unkind