What Does Mean In A Sentence

Updated Mar 28, 2023

What Does "Mean" Mean in a Sentence?

Have you ever come across the word "mean" while reading a sentence and found yourself unsure about its meaning in that context? Don't worry; you're not alone! The English language is full of words that can have multiple meanings depending on the context in which they are used. In this article, we will explore the various meanings of the word "mean" in a sentence and shed light on its different uses.

1. Definition of "Mean"

The word "mean" is a verb that can have several meanings. Let's start by looking at its primary definitions:

  1. To signify or indicate: In this sense, "mean" is used to express that something signifies or indicates a particular idea or concept. For example, in the sentence "The red traffic light means you must stop," the word "means" is used to convey that the red light indicates the requirement to halt.

  2. To intend: "Mean" can also be used to express intent or purpose. For instance, in the sentence "I mean to finish this project by the end of the day," the word "mean" is used to convey the speaker's intention or plan.

  3. To have as a consequence: Another meaning of "mean" is to have something as a consequence or result. For example, in the sentence "Skipping breakfast can mean feeling hungry later," the word "mean" indicates that not having breakfast can lead to hunger later in the day.

2. Additional Meanings of "Mean"

Apart from its primary definitions, the word "mean" can also have secondary or specialized meanings. Let's explore a few of these:

  1. To be unkind or malicious: "Mean" can be used to describe someone who is unkind, cruel, or malicious in their actions or words. For example, in the sentence "She was being mean to her classmates," the word "mean" suggests that the person was intentionally causing harm or distress.

  2. To have a specific mathematical value: In the realm of mathematics, "mean" refers to the average value of a set of numbers. It is calculated by adding up all the numbers in the set and then dividing the sum by the total count.

  3. To be miserly or stingy: When someone is described as "mean" in the context of money or possessions, it means they are unwilling to share or spend their resources. For instance, in the sentence "He is too mean to buy his friends a round of drinks," the word "mean" implies that the person is unwilling to spend money on others.

3. Understanding the Context

As with many words in the English language, the meaning of "mean" depends on the context in which it is used. To comprehend its intended sense, it is crucial to consider the surrounding words, the overall message of the sentence, and the specific domain or subject being discussed.

By grasping the various meanings of "mean" and analyzing the context, you can better interpret sentences and avoid any confusion or ambiguity that may arise.

In conclusion, the word "mean" is a versatile term with multiple meanings, including signifying, intending, having consequences, being unkind, denoting mathematical averages, or describing someone as miserly. Understanding its diverse applications allows for a clearer comprehension of sentences and enhances overall communication skills.

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