"What Does 'mean' Mean" Definition Essay

1336 words - 5 pages

The word mean is common, but is used incorrectly on a daily basis by most people. It"s hard to believe that such an easy, short word that many consider to be in the vocabulary of a four year-old is improperly used at such a high rate. But it is true. There are meanings of this word that no one seems to see. Others do not even know the definition of this word. The definition of this word is, for lack of a better word, abstract. Many people dish out this word in the incorrect way. Some characteristics and terms apply, while others do not even come close. Then there are those in the gray zone that could go either way. This is truly one of the most fascinating words in the English language.A person that insults another person is considered mean. This is just one of many terms that can pertain to mean. Actions that make someone fall under the category of mean include talking behind someone"s back, taking someone"s money, hitting someone for no reason, and not helping someone who is clearly in need of help. These actions can, and are, perceived as mean. Certain situations can make a person seem mean too. For example, a bully at school pushes down another boy and takes his money or simply continues to hit him for no other reason than that it amuses him. The bully is mean. Another perfect example that is actually quite common involves broken down cars on the freeway. Everyday thousands of cars probably break down in the middle of the freeway. Millions of people take the freeway, and many of them have the time and resources to help the fallen victim. Despite this, most choose to speed by without so much as a look. Shah 2 Mix in this scenario with a cold, winter night and the person with a broken down car is thinking, "What has this world come to? Everybody is so mean nowadays." The phrase "kids can be cruel" plays a perfect role in explaining the word "mean." Kids can play mean games, say mean things, and spread rumors. An example is playing keep away with someone else"s lunchbox. Everyone has seen this mean "game" being played out at least once and many have had the cruel misfortune of being the victims of such a "game." The kids that play keep away are thought of as mean by both the victim and passerby. Another fascinating property of this word is its many uses. Many words change in meaning over time, and mean is certainly no exception. Just decades ago, the word meant, along with unkind, "cool." In the context of "Whoa! That"s a mean jacket man!" the word is not an insult. In fact, using this statement as an insult would be grammatically incorrect since a jacket cannot actually be unkind. Over time, words change. One can call the word mean an "adjective of the ages" because it never seems to hold only one meaning at a time. There are, however, terms that do not apply to this word.When the word nice is thrown around, many people consider it the opposite of being mean. In almost every aspect, nice is the antonym of mean. Other characteristics of people...

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