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    #1

    What does mean mean in the sentence?

    HI teachers,

    I wonder if a word like "mean" (adj.), which has positive and negative meanings, how we understand what people mean.

    Situation:
    John is a mean boss.

    Whether John is good and skillful boss, or he is a unkind boss.

    Can we determine without more context

    Do you encounter this problem in life?

    Thanks a lot.

  1. Hedwig's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: What does mean mean in the sentence?

    Hullo, ysc1230. Here are some links you might want to explore.

    www.dictionary.com
    www.thefreedictionary.com
    www.dictionary.cambridge.org
    www.merriam-webster.com

    Enjoy!

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    #3

    Re: What does mean mean in the sentence?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hedwig View Post
    Hullo, ysc1230. Here are some links you might want to explore.

    www.dictionary.com
    www.thefreedictionary.com
    www.dictionary.cambridge.org
    www.merriam-webster.com

    Enjoy!
    I did have check the dictionaries.

    However, "mean" has 2 sides of meanings.

    so it is very difficult to understand when people use "mean" to describe someone's personality.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: What does mean mean in the sentence?

    As you suggested yourself, ysc, it is not possible to say exactly what is meant without more context.

  3. BobK's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: What does mean mean in the sentence?

    More context is of course necessary, but in most work contexts 'John is a mean boss' has a negative implication. In 'Jimi Hendrix plays a mean guitar solo' it's positive. There's no big problem here; words used with a strong sense of approval often start life as pejorative: mean, wicked, bad, sick... It's not difficult to work out - just look at the situation (looking at a book will only get you so far...)

    b

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