# mean

## Definitions

### General English

• adjective not liking to spend money or to give people things
• adjective nasty or unpleasant
• verb used when you have not understood something
• verb to show or represent something

### General Science

• verb to result in something

### Computing

• noun the average value of a set of numbers or values

### Economics

• noun an average figure, calculated by adding several figures together and dividing by the number of figures added

### Electronics

• The value obtained by first adding together a set of quantities, and then dividing by the number of quantities in the set. Also called average, average value (1), or arithmetic mean.
• For a product of n factors, the nth root. For instance, the geometric mean of 6 and 216 (a total of two factors) is 36, as the square root of 1,296 is 36. Also called geometric mean.

### Health Economics

• (written as Mean)
A measure of the central tendency of a set of numbers. The average of a set of numbers. The sum of the observations divided by their number. Arithmetic mean = ∑Xi/N, where the Xi are the values of X and N is the total number of observations. The qualifier 'arithmetic' is usually dropped.
• abbreviation forarithmetic mean

### Slang

• adjective wonderful, impressive, excellent. A typical reversal of the standard (American) meaning in black code and later teenage usage, like the more recent bad and wicked.

## Origin & History of “mean”

English has three distinct words mean. The oldest, ‘intend’ (OE), goes back via a prehistoric west Germanic *mainjan to the Indo-European base *men- ‘think’ (source also of English memory, mention, mind, etc).

The adjective ‘petty, stingy’ (12th c.) originally meant ‘common, shared by all’. It comes from a prehistoric Germanic *gamainiz (source also of German gemein ‘common, shared’), which was formed from the collective prefix *ga- and *mainiz. this went back to an Indo-European base *moi-, *mei- ‘change, exchange’, which also lies behind English mad, moult, mutate, mutual, and the second syllable of common. Mean’s semantic history can be traced from ‘common to all’ via ‘inferior’ and ‘low, ignoble’ to ‘petty’.

The adjective ‘intermediate, average’ (14th c.) came via Anglo-Norman meen and Old French meien from Latin mediānus (source of English median), a derivative of medius ‘middle’ (source of English medium). It forms the basis of the plural noun means ‘method’ (14th c.), and of the compound adverb meanwhile (15th c.).
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