Middle English Dictionary Entry

man n.
Quotations: Show all Hide all

Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

1a.
(a) A person, a man or woman; (b) erest men, the first men, Adam and Eve; cristen ~, ded ~, fals ~, god ~, haveles ~, hethen ~, ivel ~, povre ~, riche ~, rightwis ~, unilered ~, wintered ~, wis ~, etc.; (c) half ~, half in human form; (d) mannes sight, a person's range of vision; to the men nose, to the man's nose; mannes bodi (eie, her, herte, honde, lichame, soule, tonge, wit); (e) mannes lond, a person's land; mennes kin, men's cattle; men(ne hegges, men's hedges; manne fod (god, orf), men's food (goods, cattle); mennes hegges, mennes woninge, etc.
1b.
In phrases, etc.: (a) al livinge men, livinge ~, all people; as on ~, unanimously; fro ~ to ~, to each one separately; in mannes sight, in sight of men, in the sight of man (men), openly; also, in the opinion of people; ~ alive, living man; to any living man, to anyone; ~ upon (on, of) molde, man on earth; to mannes sight, to man's sight, in appearance; (b) manna (mannen) bern, mannes (mennes) sones, the children (sons) of men, people; manne iliknesse, the likeness of men, human form; mannen frovre, help or comfort of men; mannes sone, man, a man; mennes nacioun, race of men, mankind; sone of ~, a man; also, mankind; (c) beren (iberen, strenen) to ~, beren to mannes frame, to give birth to (sb.); nimen to ~, create (sb.) as a person; worken (maken) to ~, create (sb.); bicomen ~, ben made ~, comen to ~, ben boren to ~, ben to ~ strened, be born; (d) of Christ: ben ~, ben made ~, bicomen (to) ~, comen to ~, maken (worthen) ~, to be incarnated; (e) theol. the humanity of Christ (as opposed to the divine side of his nature); god and ~; old ~, fallen man, sinful man, the condition of man since the fall; neue ~, the redeemed man, the reformed condition of man under the new dispensation; innere ~, the spiritual man; outere ~, the outer, physical, or mundane man.
2a.
(a) Man in general, mankind; (b) beste of ~, a domesticated animal; comen to ~, to occur, be; folk of ~, a race of mankind; ~ and beste, man and beast, all living creatures; ~ ne neten, man nor beast, no living creature; fro ~ unto beste, all living creatures; god and ~, ~ and aungel; (c) mannes sone, sone of ~, the Son of Man, Christ.
2b.
In phrases: (a) mannes, of ~, of man, human; flesh of ~, human flesh; mannes creature, human creature, man, person; mannes dai, a human court; mannes drem, human joy or merriment; mannes mete, human food; in mannes state, in human condition, behaving like a man; etc.; (b) mannes i)kinde, mennes kinde, kinde of ~, man's nature, human nature; over mannes kinde, beyond human power; (c) mannes kinde (kin), the human race, mankind, people.
2c.
Human nature; deth-shildiȝ ~, mortality.
3a.
(a) An adult male of the human species; (b) from ~ to other, from one man to another; host of men, a host or company of men; thre mennes lengthe, the length of three men; thre mennes song, a three-part song for male voices; mennes (mennene) drede, terror of men, terror to men; monnene strengest, strongest of men.
3b.
With emphasis on adulthood: (a) girle (child) and ~, child and man; ~ womman and child; etc.; (b) mannes age (stat), man's estate, adulthood; at mannes might, at adult strength, fully developed; fulli ~, a full-grown man; (c) ben made ~, coment to ~, waxen ~, to grow to manhood; ben ~, grow up to be a valiant man; bringen to ~, maken ~, rear (a boy) to manhood; worthen to god ~, grow up to be a good man.
3c.
With emphasis on maleness: (a) ~ and womman (wif), man and woman; ~ other (or) womman, ~ ne wif, maid (maiden) and ~; mannes work, intercourse of a man with a woman; (b) mannes kinde, man's sperm; also, sexual intercourse with a man or men; mannes sed (nature), man's sperm; mannes mon (strene), intercourse with a man; mannes wif (imene), a man's wife (mate); mannes sone, a man's son; a)n mannes barn-tem, one man's progeny; (c) kinde (sed) of ~, the sperm; dede (mon) of ~, intercourse with a man; vertu of ~, male force or principle, fertilization from the male; gon to ~, to have intercourse with a man; redi to ~, ripe for intercourse with men; withouten ~, without intercourse with a man; (d) as (like) a ~, in a manly fashion; as i am treue ~, as surely as I am a real man; ben ~, to be a man, be manly; ben ~ for the, behave like a man [cp. OSwed. vera maþer for sik, Dan. være mand for sig]; for a ~ iholden, esteemed to be a man; ~ of arrai, full-grown man; ~ of weld, a strong man.
3d.
4.
(a) A male child; litel ~, a young boy; (b) a male plant.
5.
(a) A fighting man, soldier, knight; (b) ~ bi ~, man beside man, in a row; ~ for ~, man against man, one against one; ~ and hors, hors and ~, horse and rider; ~ of fot, goinge ~, a foot soldier; mannes bodi, a soldier; maken ~, to become a soldier or knight; (c) ~ of (in) armes, ~ of werre, a soldier; (d) ~ of dede (might), a strong fighter; ~ of honour, an honorable knight.
6.
A man of a specified profession, occupation, or condition: (a) ~ of blood, a shedder of human blood; ~ of counseil, ~ of (o) laue, a lawyer; also fig.; ~ of court [see court 8. (e)]; ~ of craft (mister), craftes ~, a craftsman, worker at a skilled trade; ~ of dignete (office), a man of high rank; ~ of music, a musician; ~ of scole, a scholar; ~ of travail, a laborer; (b) ~ of habit, ~ of (holi) chirche, ~ of religioun, a priest, monk, or friar; ~ of the world, a layman; also, a man with worldly knowledge or experience, man of the world, worldes ~, layman.
7.
(a) A native of a place or country, one who belongs to a nation or tribe; ~ of rome, a Roman citizen [quot.: WB(2) Deeds]; [see also Duche ~, English ~, etc.]; (b) with genitive: (one's) countryman.
8a.
(a) A king's vassal or retainer; pl. vassals, retainers, retinue; (b) bicomen ~, to become (a king's) vassal; also, swear fealty (to the pope); maken ~, make (sb.) one's retainer; (c) a feudal tenant; bicomen ~.
8b.
(a) A manservant; his ~, mi ~, thi ~, one's manservant; (b) mannes ~, a servant's servant; servaunt (servinge) ~, a manservant; hired ~, q.v.; (c) a servant of God, Christ, the Devil, Lady Meed, etc.; develes ~, goddes ~; bicomen ~; (d) a workman; esp. another workman's helper.
8c.
(a) A woman's lover; hire ~, thi ~, your ~; bicomen ~; (b) a friend; bicomen ~.
9.
Miscel.:(a) ?pl. a race of people; (b) a chessman; (c) the man in the moon; (d) the word man, men; (e) alch. a 'male' ingredient or product.
10.
Vocative uses (in various senses): (a) with qualifying adj. or phr.; (b) without qualifier.
11.
12.
In cpds. & combs.: (a) ~ age (stat), manhood, maturity; ~ drem [OE man-drēam], human joys, merriment of men; ~ lich [cp. OE man-līca image of a man], human form, human body; ~ sight, men's sight; ~ soule, human soul; ~ theues [OE man-þēaw], customs of men, proper human behavior; mans-bond [cp. OI manns-barn, -bani, -kona, etc.], thralls of men, slaves, rabble; men-teth, human teeth; (b) ~ ferde, an army; ~ wered [OE man-weorod], an army; also, a crowd of people; (c) ~ beter, a man beater, brawler; ~ bote [OE], fine paid to the lord of a slain man; ~ fishere, a fisher of men; ~ hate, a hater of people; ~ killer, a man killer, homicide; (d) ~ child, a male child, male infant; ~ servaunt, a manservant; men kin, male kinsmen; (e) ~ fightere, a warrior; ~ liere, a liar; ~ mortherere [OE man-myrþra], a murderer, a homicide; men tenauntes, tenants; men werrioures, warriors; (f) in plant names: ~ luviende [OE men-lufiende], the common burdock (Arctium lappa); mannes-moder-wort, prob. the red lamium (L. purpureum).
13.
(a) In surnames; (b) in place names [see Smith PNElem. 2.35]; (c) in names:?a conical pillar of stones, ?a mountain top.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • a1121 Peterb.Chron.(LdMisc 636)an.1070 : He læi seoc in þa secræ man in.
  • Note: New spelling (error for pl.gen.)--per REL

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • a1500 Whanne marye was greet (Fil) 52/54 : We leryd That God with man had couenaunt made: A serpent in desert was reryd, So schal Godys sone in manbrotherhade.
  • Note: New phrase, sense 1b.
    Note: Editor's gloss: 'brotherhood with man(kind)'.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

Note: For combination ~ devourer, see devourer n.