meaning

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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? Ha! 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 business

To be grave and resolute in demeanor. Mom sounded like she means business, so you better clean your room.
See also: business, mean

mean (something) for the best

To intend for one's actions to have a positive outcome. I meant that for the best—I really wasn't trying to hurt your feelings.
See also: mean

get (one's) meaning

To understand the meaning, insinuation, or implication of what someone is saying. All I'm saying is that I won't be very sad if she breaks up with her boyfriend, if you get my meaning. A: "I want him 'taken care of'—he's become too much of a liability." B: "I think I get your meaning."
See also: get, meaning

mean to say

To speak truthfully, correctly, or accurately. Sorry, what I meant to say was that I'll be thirty minutes late, not early. Do you mean to say that we made even less money this quarter?
See also: mean, say

pregnant with (something)

Full of, or fraught with, or having a lot of something. Just before naming the guilty party, he gave a pause that seemed pregnant with meaning, and I wondered whether he was telling me the truth. Her speech was pregnant with emotion, and her eyes brimmed with tears as she spoke.
See also: pregnant

mean business

to be very, very serious. Stop laughing! I mean business. I could tell from the look on her face that she meant business.
See also: business, mean

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

mean business

Be in earnest. For example, He really means business with this deadline. This idiom uses business in the sense of "a serious endeavor." [Mid-1800s]
See also: business, mean

mean business

COMMON If you mean business, you are serious and determined about what you are doing. One of them poked a shotgun at me. I could see he meant business. Now, in the wake of the student-led demonstrations, the party is trying to convince people it means business.
See also: business, mean

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

mean business

be in earnest.
1992 New York Times The protest is a matter of principle…and also a necessary act of assertiveness by the delegates to show they mean business.
See also: business, mean

mean to say

really admit or intend to say.
1977 Jennifer Johnston Shadows on our Skin I mean to say, Joe Logan , where are you if you can't resist putting a small white tube of poison into your mouth every half an hour?
See also: mean, say

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

mean ˈbusiness

(informal) be serious about what you plan to do; be determined: He means business. If we try to escape, he’ll shoot us.I’m not joking. This time I really mean business.
See also: business, mean

mean to ˈsay

used to emphasize what you are saying or to ask somebody if they really mean what they say: I mean to say, you should have known how he would react!Do you mean to say you’ve lost it?
See also: mean, say

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

mean business

tv. to be very, very serious. Stop laughing! I mean business.
See also: business, mean

mean business

Informal
To be in earnest.
See also: business, mean
References in classic literature ?
Images as well as words may be said to have "meaning"; indeed, the meaning of images seems more primitive than the meaning of words.
There is, however, another way of approaching the meaning of images, namely through their causal efficacy.
To arrive at the meaning of the image in such a case, we observe that there are certain respects, notably associations, in which the effects of images resemble those of their prototypes.
We may give somewhat more precision to the above account of the meaning of images, and extend it to meaning in general.
The word is always concrete and sensible, however abstract its meaning may be, and thus by the help of words we are able to dwell on abstractions in a way which would otherwise be impossible.
For instance, digital imaging was once seen primarily as a substitute for film imaging, and it carried similar meanings.
A journey into narrative analysis: A methodology for discovering meanings.
Meanings inform actions as well as construction of "self" and "social reality.
For example, he favors an internalist account of word meaning according to which word meanings are concepts, located in our heads, and he doesn't flinch from the standard worry that such a view poses problems for shared meaning and communication.
It is important to note that the meanings which get expressed in certain interpretations are not already there, merely waiting to be discovered.
Practicing consciousness of abstracting is one way we can broaden our horizons: Recognizing, remembering, and applying the principle that "we don't know all," make it easier for us to remain open to consider the potential merits and usefulness of other ideas, beliefs, standards, values, meanings, opinions, approaches, plans, policies, etc.
The idea that the meanings of the constituents of most idioms are available during processing and contribute to understand idiom meaning, has figured prominently in the study of idiom strings both within linguistics and, particularly, within psychology.
In recent years, scientific research in psychology has struggled to understand and clarify the concept of meaning in life (MIL; Cohen & Kairns, 2012).
Research has identified a variety of sources for deriving meaning in one's