meaning(redirected from Meanings)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia.
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."
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.
To be grave and resolute in demeanor. Mom sounded like she means business, so you better clean your room.
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."
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?
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
to be very, very serious. Stop laughing! I mean business. I could tell from the look on her face that she meant business.
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.
take on a new significanceand 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.
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]
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.
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'.
mean businessbe 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.
mean to sayreally 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?
not know the meaning of the wordbehave as if unaware of the concept referred to or implied. informal
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.
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.
mean to ˈsayused 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?
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.
get somebody’s ˈmeaning(informal) understand what somebody is really saying: I get your meaning. You don’t need to say any more.
tv. to be very, very serious. Stop laughing! I mean business.
To be in earnest.