General Science

  • noun all human beings considered in contrast to other animals


  • noun a male worker, especially a manual worker without special skills or qualifications


  • noun
    (written as MAN)
    a network extending over a limited geographical area, normally a city.
  • acronym forLAN
    (written as MAN)
  • acronym forWAN
    (written as MAN)


  • noun a member of the armed forces
  • verb to provide personnel to make something work

Cars & Driving

  • abbreviation formanual gearbox
  • noun a set of movable gears permitting the speed ratio between input and output shafts to be changed manually and at will.

Origin & History of “man”

Man is a widespread Germanic word (with relatives in German mann ‘man’ and mensch ‘person’, Dutch and Swedish man ‘man’, Danish mand ‘man’, and Swedish menniska ‘person’), and connections have even been found outside Germanic (Sanskrit, for instance, had mánu- ‘man’). But no decisive evidence has been found for an ultimate Indo-European source. among the suggestions put forward have been links with a base *men- ‘think’ or ‘breathe’, or with Latin manus ‘hand’.

The etymologically primary sense of the word is ‘human being, person’, and that is what it generally meant in Old English: the sexes were generally distinguished by wer ‘man’ (which survives probably in werewolf and is related to world) and wīf (source of modern English wife) or cwene ‘woman’. But during the middle English and early modern English periods ‘male person’ gradually came to the fore, and today ‘person’ is decidedly on the decline (helped on its way by those who feel that the usage discriminates against women). Woman originated in Old English as a compound of wīf ‘woman, female’ and man ‘person’.

Manikin (17th c.) was borrowed from Dutch manneken, a diminutive form of man ‘man’; and mannequin (18th c.) is the same word acquired via French.