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Whent to Use Mean and Demean


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Mean and Demean are easily confused words as they look and sound similar, with only 'de' separating the two words. It is best to know the meanings of the two words in order to understand the difference between mean and demean. Then only there will be less confusion in the usage of the two words.

The word mean can be used as a verb, an adjective, and as a noun.
(i) As a verb, the word mean has a variety of meanings:-
(a) It can be used as: denote; signify; indicate; imply; suggest

(b) It can be used as: intend; aim; wish; have in mind; propose

(c) It can be used as: involve; lead to; entail; necessitate

(ii) As an adjective, the word mean has a variety of meanings:-
(a) It can be used as: nasty; unkind; callus; uncaring; cruel
Antonym: compassionate

(b) It can be used as: lowly; miserable; poor; shabby; squalid; wretched
Antonym: comfortable

(iii) Meanings of mean as a noun: average; median; middle; midpoint.
Antonym: extremity

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The word demean is a verb.
Meanings: humiliate; put down; disgrace; degrade; debase
Antonym: uplift


Sample Usage

Examples of Mean:-
(i) (a) The English professor was very good at explaining the meanings of the words in the text.

(b) Jayashree apologized to her friend and said she did not mean to hurt her intentionally.

(c) The break in the dam would mean quick repairs were required in order to prevent flooding of the village.

(ii) (a) Nobody wanted to be friends with Jayant as he was always mean to others.

(b) The businessman fell into excessive debt and ended up leading a mean life.

(iii) The mathematics teacher found it difficult to make the students understand the mean average of the figures which she had written on the blackboard.

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Examples of Demean:
1. It is wrong to demean a new ISC member for initial mistakes, as it takes time for him to understand the rules.

2. It is demeaning to beg on the streets.

3. Terrence was shocked at the way his neighbour adopted a demeaning attitude towards the building’s security personnel.


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