Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
mean the world to (someone)
1. To be ardently loved by or exceptionally important to someone. My little daughter means the world to me—I would do absolutely anything for her. Our cats mean the world to my boyfriend—he's completely obsessed with them!
2. To be something for which someone is deeply grateful or appreciative. Thank you so much for taking care of my kids when I was in the hospital. It really means the world to me!
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.
be meant to be
1. To be regarded as something in particular (which is stated after "meant to be"). Is this movie meant to be a comedy? I don't think it's funny at all.
2. To be destined to happen. In this usage, "be meant to be" is a set phrase. I'm not surprised to hear that those two are engaged—it was meant to be. I had hoped to win the election, but it just wasn't meant to be.
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
mean (someone) no harm
To have no intention of causing injury, offense, or negative effects (to someone). I'm so sorry that my comments got you fired—I swear, I meant no harm! Please, put down the gun, I mean you no harm.
not mean (someone) any harm
To have no intention of causing injury, offense, or negative effects (to someone). I'm so sorry that my comments got you fired—I swear, I didn't mean any harm! Please, put down the gun, I don't mean you any harm.
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?
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.
meant to be
destined to exist. Our love was meant to be! It was not meant to be.
meant to be something
destined or fated to be something. Jane was meant to be a chemist. I was meant to be rich, but something didn't work right!
No offense meant.
I did not mean to offend [you]. (See also No offense taken.) Mary: Excuse that last remark. No offense meant. Susan: It's okay. I was not offended.
supposed toand someone or something is supposed to
Someone or something is meant to do something. (Frequently, in speech, supposed is reduced to s'posed. The words someone or something can be replaced with nouns or pronouns, or used themselves.) Mary: They didn't deliver the flowers we ordered. Sue: Supposed to. Give them a call. Sally: This screw doesn't fit into hole number seven in the way the instructions say it should. Bill: It's supposed to. Something's wrong.
See also: supposed
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]
1. Intended to; also, believed to, expected to. For example, This pill is supposed to relieve your pain, or You're supposed to be my partner. [Early 1300s]
2. Required to, as in He is supposed to call home. [Mid-1800s]
3. not supposed to. Not permitted to, as in You're not supposed to smoke in here.
See also: supposed
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.
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?
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.
be meant to be somethingbe generally considered to be something: This restaurant is meant to be excellent.
tv. to be very, very serious. Stop laughing! I mean business.
To be in earnest.