Middle English Dictionary Entry

mēne n.(3)
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

(a) A course of action, method, way; a means of attaining an end; (b) bi ~ of, with menes of; bi no (manere of) ~; bi al menes; bi god menes, with great skill; menes and weies; weies and menes, q.v.; (c) a trick, contrivance; a present, bribe; (d) some state or thing, some knowledge or ability, having a causal effect to some end; an instigation; of a person: bi ~ of, indirectly, through (sb.).
(a) An intermediary, negotiator, go-between; a spokesman, a representative; also fig.; (b) of Christ, as mediator between God and man; of the Virgin Mary, saints: intercessor, advocate, helper; (c) an agent, instrument; (d) an umpire; a standard of comparison; ?a guarantor, a third party; (e) law a intermediate lord who both owes (to his lord 'paramount') and is owed (from his tenants 'paravail') service, a mesne; writ of ~.
(a) An intermediate state; the golden mean, moderation; holden (kepen) ~; in (a, the) ~, in between, in the middle, moderate; also, moderately; of a ~, of moderate size; in proverb: mesure is a mirie ~; (b) something physically between two extremes; something connecting or uniting extremes; in a ~, at a moderate height; (c) a compromise; a settlement, an agreement, arrangement; (d) an intervening stage in an argument or in a genealogy; (e) alch. a substance representing an intermediate stage between natural material and the finished work; also, an intermediate stage in a process [last quot.]; (f) math. see quot.; ~ proporcionel, the geometric mean; more ~, lesse ~, the greater and less of the two mean terms in a proportion of four terms.
Sg. & pl. (a) Operation, instrumentality; bi menes of laue, by process of law; bi menes of sight, so far as can be seen; (b) mediation, agency, help, favor, influence; maken menes, to make intercession; also, make a petition (to sb.); (c) ?blandishment.
(a) Argument, reason; discussion; bi mene(s of, because of; (b) condition; manner.
Mus. A tone intermediate between two other tones; an inner part in a composition; ~ sight, the written mean part.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • (c1444) Paston2.13 : He aduysed me to goo to my seid lady and to remembre her of þe matier..and þanne he seid I must make a mesne; whiche I dar not take up-on me, for I wot weel I coude not come to here presence with-owte a mesne of sum of here men to whom I shuld telle al þ matier.
  • Note: New spelling
    Note: Ed. (Davis) glosses first mesne 'way, means' and second mesne 'intermediary party'--JL

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • a1500(?1451) Petrarch Secret.(Add 60577)26/894 : Þou dredeste the daungers þat may betyde, But thou vseste noo menesse to shove hem oo-syde.
Note: Additional quot., sense 1.(a). Distinctive plural spelling.