Basic+ Word of the Day: mean

Children can be mean.

We use the word mean to talk about how we should understand something.

  • The word "enormous" means very big.
  • This sign means you can't smoke here.

We can also use mean to talk about what we wanted someone to understand when we said something.

  • I didn't mean that you should leave.

If you mean to do something, you are saying that you want to do it.

  • He didn't mean to make you sad.

A mean person is someone who isn’t nice to others.

  • There's a very mean boy in my class.

Common uses

If we make a mistake when we are speaking, we often say “I mean…” before we correct the mistake. For example, “Jack is a very good girl. I mean, boy!”

In pop culture

Do you know the Taylor Swift song “Mean”? It is about being strong when someone is mean to you. She feels better because she will have a good life but the mean person will always be mean; listen to her say, “All you’re ever gonna be is mean.”

There are other meanings of mean.

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Word of the Day is released Monday through Friday.

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