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Definition man

Etymology 1

From Middle English man, from Old English mann m (“human being, person, man”), from Proto-Germanic *mann- m (“human being, man”), probably from Proto-Indo-European *mon- (“man”) (compare also *men- (“mind”)). Cognate with West Frisian man c, Dutch man m, German Mann m (“man”), Norwegian mann (“man”), Old Swedish maþer m (“man”), Swedish man c, Russian муж m anim (muž, “husband, male person”), Avestan ????‎ (manuš), Sanskrit मनु m (manu, “human being”), Urdu مانس‎ m and Hindi मानस m (mānas).


man (plural men)

  1. An adult male human.
  2. (collective) All human males collectively: mankind.
  3. A human, a person of either gender, usually an adult. (See usage notes.)
  4. (collective) All humans collectively: mankind, humankind, humanity. (Sometimes capitalized as Man.)
  5. (anthropology, archaeology, paleontology) A member of the genus Homo, especially of the species Homo sapiens.
  6. (obsolete) A sentient being, whether human or supernatural.
  7. An adult male who has, to an eminent degree, qualities considered masculine, such as strength, integrity, and devotion to family; a mensch.
  8. (uncountable, obsolete, uncommon) Manliness; the quality or state of being manly.
  9. A husband.
  10. A lover; a boyfriend.
  11. A male enthusiast or devotee; a male who is very fond of or devoted to a specified kind of thing. (Used as the last element of a compound.)
  12. A person, usually male, who has duties or skills associated with a specified thing. (Used as the last element of a compound.)
  13. A person, usually male, who can fulfill one's requirements with regard to a specified matter.
  14. A male who belongs to a particular group: an employee, a student or alumnus, a representative, etc.
  15. An adult male servant.
  16. (historical) A vassal. A subject.
  17. A piece or token used in board games such as chess.
  18. (MLE, slang) Used to refer to oneself or one's group: I, we; construed in the third person.
  19. A term of familiar address often implying on the part of the speaker some degree of authority, impatience, or haste.
  20. A friendly term of address usually reserved for other adult males.
  21. (sports) A player on whom another is playing, with the intent of limiting their attacking impact.

man (not comparable)

  1. Only used in man enough


  1. Used to place emphasis upon something or someone; sometimes, but not always, when actually addressing a man.

Etymology 2

From Middle English mannen, from Old English mannian, ġemannian (“to man, supply with men, populate, garrison”), from mann (“human being, man”). Cognate with Dutch bemannen (“to man”), German bemannen (“to man”), Swedish bemanna (“to man”), Icelandic manna (“to supply with men, man”).


man (third-person singular simple present mans, present participle manning, simple past and past participle manned)

  1. (transitive) To supply (something) with staff or crew (of either sex).
  2. (transitive) To take up position in order to operate (something).
  3. (reflexive, possibly dated) To brace (oneself), to fortify or steel (oneself) in a manly way. (Compare man up.)
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To wait on, attend to or escort.
  5. (transitive, obsolete, chiefly falconry) To accustom (a raptor or other type of bird) to the presence of people.

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