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not know the meaning of the word

To be completely without the particular quality, trait, or characteristic that is being described. Integrity? Hah! John doesn't know the meaning of the word! Oh please, Janet, you don't know the meaning of the word poor.
See also: know, meaning, not, of, word

mean well

To have good intentions. The phrase implies that despite such intentions, one is inept, unhelpful, or a nuisance. Gerri means well, but honestly she usually just ends up getting in the way when we're trying to do work.
See also: mean, well

mean well

to intend to be nice, polite, helpful, etc., but fail in the effort. I know you mean well, but your comments are sort of insulting.
See also: mean, well

take on a new significance

 and take on a new meaning
[for an event] to acquire a new interpretation; [for something] to become more meaningful or more significant. All these monuments take on a new meaning when you realize the amount of human artistry and skill it took to design and build them.
See also: new, on, significance, take

not know the meaning of the word

If you mention a word and say that someone doesn't know the meaning of the word, you mean that they do not have a particular quality or have never done or experienced a particular thing. Love? He doesn't know the meaning of the word! Ruthie was an optimist; she didn't even know the meaning of the word depression. Note: Nouns such as phrase and term are sometimes used instead of word. Patrick doesn't know the meaning of the phrase `speed limit'.
See also: know, meaning, not, of, word

not know the meaning of the word

behave as if unaware of the concept referred to or implied. informal
See also: know, meaning, not, of, word

not know the ˈmeaning of the word

(disapproving) not have enough experience of something to understand what it really is; not be capable of really understanding something: Love? He doesn’t know the meaning of the word.They talk about justice, but they don’t know the meaning of the word.
See also: know, meaning, not, of, word

ˈmean well

(usually disapproving) have good intentions, although their effect may not be good: Your father means well, I know, but I wish he’d stop telling us what to do.She’s always suggesting ways I could improve my cooking. I know she means well but it really annoys me. ▶ ˌwell-ˈmeaning adj.: She’s very well-meaning, but she only makes the situation worse.
See also: mean, well

get somebody’s ˈmeaning

(informal) understand what somebody is really saying: I get your meaning. You don’t need to say any more.
See also: get, meaning
References in classic literature ?
At last he again essayed his piteous request in a hoarse, deep voice, but the words issued in so many inarticulate sounds, and once more I failed to divine his meaning.
Now, for the first time, she guessed the meaning of Tarzan's shrill scream--he had summoned Tantor, the elephant, to his rescue
For instance, he disliked the Scots, so for the meaning of Oats he gave, "A grain which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.
We are not therefore justified, in order to take away the appearance of inconsistency, in attributing to him hidden meanings or remote allusions.
How many more meanings of her own Lady Janet might have gone on enumerating, it is not easy to calculate.
The men of the Middle Ages often wrote, as we do, in direct terms and of simple things, but when they wished to rise above the commonplace they turned with a frequency which to-day appears astonishing to the devices of abstract personification and veiled meanings.
How these roots acquired their meanings is not known, but a conventional origin is clearly just as mythical as the social contract by which Hobbes and Rousseau supposed civil government to have been established.
Grose listened with dumb emotion; she forbore to ask me what this meaning might be; so that, presently, to put the thing with some coherence and with the mere aid of her presence to my own mind, I went on: "That he's an injury to the others.
My meaning," answered the man of business, "is, of course, friendly and appreciative, and that it does you the greatest credit, and-- in short, my meaning is everything you could desire.
Meaning nothing but a certain matured frivolity and selfishness, not always inseparable from full-blown years, I think she confirmed him in his fear that he was a constraint upon his young wife, and that there was no congeniality of feeling between them, by so strongly commending his design of lightening the load of her life.
For a moment my meaning was lost on him; then he flushed and smiled, thanked me and was off again, saying that he must find his Shelley, as he wouldn't lose it for the world!
The jury all wrote down on their slates, `SHE doesn't believe there's an atom of meaning in it,' but none of them attempted to explain the paper.
It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body.
Let us endeavor, in the first place, to ascertain his meaning on this point.
There was nothing; and I resumed my seat, again exclaiming, "The boy is a fool, I say; 3^3 can have no meaning in Geometry.