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    #1

    meaner than ever

    - Are the kid getting along alright?
    - Meaner than ever, growing by the minute.

    what does "Meaner than ever" means in this conversation?

  1. probus's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: meaner than ever

    Your question pertains exclusively to AmE. In BrE "mean" means stingy or miserly. But in AmE the adjective "mean" means offensive, selfish, unaccommodating, nasty or malicious. That is the sense in which the speaker indicates that the children are more so than ever.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: meaner than ever

    I'd suggest this is another case of a reversed meaning. The kids are getting along well. Naturally, the context would help.

    "2. "I got this model chick/ She don't cook or clean/But she dress that @ss off/ And her walk is mean..." ~ Jay-Z"
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=mean

  3. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: meaner than ever

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I'd suggest this is another case of a reversed meaning. The kids are getting along well. Naturally, the context would help.

    "2. "I got this model chick/ She don't cook or clean/But she dress that @ss off/ And her walk is mean..." ~ Jay-Z"
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=mean
    That could be, but it is not likely without lots more context and pragmatic information such as who is speaking.
    Bad, wicked, and mean are sometimes positive, but only among Blacks and/or youths.

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: meaner than ever

    "Mean" is definitely used in BrE to denote that someone is unpleasant, offensive, not nice to people. It also has the meaning "miserly" or "stingy" but in BrE, people are frequently mean to each other.

    Your first question should have been "Are the kids​ getting on all right?"
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  5. probus's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: meaner than ever

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    "Mean" is definitely used in BrE to denote that someone is unpleasant, offensive, not nice to people. It also has the meaning "miserly" or "stingy" but in BrE, people are frequently mean to each other.
    I think that is a change since my years in the UK in the sixties and early seventies.

  6. probus's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: meaner than ever

    "I'd suggest this is another case of a reversed meaning. The kids are getting along well. Naturally, the context would help."

    Good idea. Never thought of it.

  7. Raymott's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: meaner than ever

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    That could be, but it is not likely without lots more context and pragmatic information such as who is speaking.
    Bad, wicked, and mean are sometimes positive, but only among Blacks and/or youths.
    Yes, I mentioned the importance of context. You are right, but then I'm not assuming that this wasn't written by a Black or a youth.

  8. Grumpy's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: meaner than ever

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    That could be, but it is not likely without lots more context and pragmatic information such as who is speaking.
    Bad, wicked, and mean are sometimes positive, but only among Blacks and/or youths.
    I am old and white (and grumpy), and my (correspondingly few) friends and colleagues and I have used "mean" for many years to denote something good and admirable, as in "He cooks a mean curry", or "that car is a mean machine". The context always makes it obvious in what sense the word is being used.
    I'm not a teacher of English, but I have spoken it for (almost) all of my life....

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