Definition of man in English:



  • 1An adult human male.

    ‘a small man with mischievous eyes’
    ‘the men's semi-finals’
    • ‘We plan to organise women's hockey on similar lines to that of men's hockey.’
    • ‘An Estonian man suspected of plundering millions from hundreds of online bank accounts accounts across Europe was arrested last week.’
    • ‘Back on the promenade, I saw a man and a boy trying to fly a kite down on the beach.’
    • ‘The most likely victims are men in their 20s.’
    • ‘I realize you are a very busy man and probably have a lot of things on your mind right now.’
    • ‘During the operation police also arrested an 18 year-old man on suspicion of possessing a firearm.’
    • ‘One man needed treatment at Southampton General Hospital for the effects of smoke inhalation.’
    • ‘One of his ancestors, a man by the name of Child, lived in a village on the Welsh coast near Fishguard.’
    • ‘The British team finished fourth in both the men's and women's team championships.’
    • ‘My dad was a decently attractive man in his mid-thirties.’
    • ‘A wide grin spread across the man's face.’
    • ‘She saw the dark figure of a man through the fog and then his face became clear.’
    • ‘Four men were arrested in connection with the attack and a separate robbery.’
    • ‘Last week I was talking to a man at the bar of the Hilton hotel at Addis Ababa.’
    • ‘Their driver was a burly, bearded man in his forties.’
    • ‘She was approached by men armed with knives, who demanded her earrings and necklace.’
    • ‘Ben is also a kind and decent man who is held in high regard by all those who have worked with him.’
    • ‘This was a very upbeat speech by a man who is clearly in control of the party’
    • ‘The man, whose name has not been released, was discharged after treatment in hospital.’
    • ‘The man behind the counter looked, if not friendly, at least approachable.’
    male, adult male, gentleman, youth
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A male member of a workforce, team, etc.
      ‘over 700 men were made redundant’
      • ‘A man short, his team mates survived to the end of extra time but lost the penalty shootout.’
      • ‘With only ten men Pool conceded two goals in the first-half but still created chances.’
      • ‘Coach Martin Hall is still expecting his men to figure prominently in the forthcoming play-offs.’
      • ‘If they receive two yellow cards a player will be withdrawn from the game, restricting the team to 10 men.’
      • ‘Britain's largest coal operator has already shut the Prince of Wales Colliery at Pontefract, making hundreds of men redundant.’
      • ‘When the ambulance men arrived, her husband was kneeling beside the baby on the bedroom floor.’
      • ‘I'll leave it to our man in Washington to comment on the domestic issues involved in the presidential campaign.’
      • ‘Lippi's men were the best team in the competition, and he was the canniest coach.’
      • ‘Shackleton did everything that he could to keep the men's spirits up as the Endurance gradually sank.’
      • ‘But gone are the days when Shankly's men would blast teams away and dominate our domestic game.’
      worker, workman, labourer, helper, hand, blue-collar worker
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    2. 1.2men Ordinary members of the armed forces as distinct from the officers.
      ‘he had a platoon of forty men to prepare for battle’
      • ‘Officers and men from units which had been forced to abandon their positions were shot for desertion.’
      • ‘As they approached one village a mortar landed nearby in the river and Major Lindsay ordered his men to seek cover.’
      • ‘The smallest entity commanded by a commissioned officer is usually a platoon of about 30 men.’
      • ‘The role of the reserve battalions was to supply troops to the service battalions as they lost men in combat.’
      • ‘Sergeant Lang got onboard with his men as Officer Humphrey followed closely with Jennifer.’
      • ‘Many fellow soldiers owed their lives to the bravery of the men in the 3rd Division.’
      • ‘Protocol required Cook to seek leave of the Viceroy for his officers and men to come ashore.’
      • ‘Orders were made as suggestions and officers and men were on first-name terms.’
      • ‘My dad was in the air force, and he spoke about the inequalities he saw between the officers and ordinary men.’
      • ‘To start with, each commando unit was to consist of fifty men and three officers.’
      • ‘No commander wants to see his men die in combat but knows that casualties are a part of war.’
      • ‘He was one of the most respected generals because of his care for the men and his record as a fighter.’
      soldiers, armed forces, service men, men, service women
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 A husband or lover.
      ‘the two of them lived for a time as man and wife’
      • ‘According to friends, the actress is completely smitten with her new man.’
      • ‘I've been with my man for about seven years but when we got married, I began to love him more.’
      • ‘It should be the sort of manly thing I get my man to do, but he leaves computers to me.’
      • ‘I don't have a problem with women hitting on my man… why wouldn't they?’
      • ‘Maybe, none of the earlier relationships had worked out because Rohan was destined to be her man.’
      • ‘The tower was originally a summer banqueting house and allowed aristocratic ladies to watch their men hunting.’
      • ‘A year ago, my man of 14 years cheated on me for the first time.’
      • ‘My cousin Katie and her new man Andrew picked me up at the airport late Wednesday night.’
      • ‘It brought out the woman in me and the man in my man.’
      • ‘As Marian and Lewes continued to live together as man and wife, people generally began to accept them as a married couple.’
      boyfriend, partner, husband, spouse, lover, admirer, fiancé, amour, inamorato
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    4. 1.4with modifier A male person associated with a particular place, activity, or occupation.
      ‘a Cambridge man’
      ‘I'm a solid Labour man’
      • ‘If I were a betting man I'd certainly have a flutter on a new PM by the end of July.’
      • ‘Having been trained at Harvard both as a medical man and an anthropologist, you'd think his take on scientific issues of our day would be worth noting.’
      • ‘Advocate and author John Mayer looks every inch the rock solid establishment man.’
      • ‘I'm a professional philosopher, not a medical man.’
      • ‘If Donald was a Labour man, he was also a Glaswegian through and through.’
      • ‘We waited for the ice cream man and wore shorts and let the grass tickle our bare feet.’
      • ‘Louis Stanley is a Cambridge man who went on to become a leading industrialist.’
      • ‘The bravery of a Manchester man who fought in the American Civil War is to be recorded in a museum in the US.’
      • ‘My father was a trade union man who always had his rosary in his pocket.’
      • ‘My mum was the picket in my family, not my dad, although he was a very strong union man.’
      • ‘A battle for power between a union man and an intellectual is looming at Salford town hall.’
      • ‘Jack was a drinking man and mornings were not his best time.’
    5. 1.5 A person with the qualities associated with males, such as bravery, spirit, or toughness.
      ‘she was more of a man than any of them’
      • ‘He's more of a man than you'll ever be.’
      • ‘I knew that I had to be a man and help my brother.’
      • ‘I'm not into cars and I know that in some circles that makes me less of a man, but so be it.’
      • ‘But Don's the quintessential quiet guy who must overcome his cowardice and be a man.’
      • ‘Ironically, her initial portrayal in the show, as more of a man than the men in her Cabinet, may have added to her myth.’
    6. 1.6 A male pursued or sought by another, especially in connection with a crime.
      ‘Inspector Bull was sure they would find their man’
      • ‘Hugh Miller is convinced that Loring is his man, but he can't find any concrete evidence.’
      • ‘As soon as we established that Elener was a former Securicor employee, we were fairly sure he was our man.’
      • ‘Bounty hunters can use almost any tool at their disposal to find and capture their man.’
    7. 1.7dated A manservant or valet.
      ‘get me a cocktail, my man’
      manservant, valet, gentleman's gentleman, attendant, retainer
      View synonyms
    8. 1.8historical A vassal.
      • ‘By taking service in William's army he had become the man of the Duke of the Normans.’
  • 2A human being of either sex; a person.

    ‘God cares for all men’
    • ‘The support given cannot be understood by anyone such as yourself as it displays a basic concern for our fellow men.’
    • ‘Perhaps they have special skills that are denied the rest of us mere mortal men.’
    • ‘They are practically indestructible, outlasting anything that mere mortal men can do to them.’
    • ‘He believes in the doctrine of freedom, or equal personal rights for all men.’
    • ‘He wanted to stimulate anthropological debate, to allow viewers to better understand their fellow men.’
    • ‘Need I add that helping and caring for animals is integral to caring for our fellow men?’
    • ‘How can we solve something as important as global warming if we don't even care about our fellow men.’
    human being, human, person, mortal, individual, personage, soul
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1in singular Human beings in general; the human race.
      ‘places untouched by the ravages of man’
      • ‘Luckily some of these art forms have survived the ravages of man, beast, and time and can still be seen and admired.’
      • ‘She was instrumental in raising people's awareness of man's impact on the environment.’
      • ‘Some historians claim this is the most graphic example of man's inhumanity to man.’
      • ‘None the less, equality in the eyes of God laid the foundations for equality in the eyes of man and before the law.’
      • ‘Perhaps it may be said that civilization is about to enter the age of the decline of man.’
      • ‘These drawings, which include etchings of what are thought to be reindeer and bison, give an insight into why early man created such works of art.’
      • ‘Genesis in fact hints that there was evil present in the world before the fall of man.’
      • ‘Wood is the oldest building material known to man - the earliest known wooden artefacts date back some 14,000 years.’
      the human race, the human species, homo sapiens, humankind, humanity, human beings, humans, people, mankind
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2in singular An individual; one.
      ‘a man could buy a lot with eighteen million dollars’
      • ‘It's great country this. A man could live well here and raise a family.’
      • ‘A man could get used to that sort of lifestyle.’
    3. 2.3in singular, with adjective or noun modifier A type of prehistoric human named after the place where the remains were found.
      ‘Cro-Magnon man’
      • ‘This is the town which surprised the world with an archeological find in 1921 that came to be known as the Broken Hill Man.’
  • 3informal A group or person in a position of authority over others, such as a corporate employer or the police.

    ‘they've mastered their emotive grunge-pop without haggling with the Man’
    • ‘As the economy plods along, many of us are choosing to take the easy way out - we're going to work for the Man, letting him do the hard work while we work the long hours.’
    • ‘There was a time where men had to fight to be the head honcho, The Man.’
    • ‘Since the 1980s, entrepreneurialism has had a bad name and too many Australians are risk-averse and just happy to keep working for the Man.’
    • ‘Working for the Man often means subsuming your ego to that of the organization.’
    • ‘Some of the more dedicated activists are going to march over to the Guy street police station this afternoon to hold a vigil and voice their displeasure with the Man.’
    1. 3.1 White people collectively regarded as the controlling group in society.
      ‘he urged that black college athletes boycott the Man's Rose Bowl’
      • ‘But all black officers face the same occupational hazard: race-based taunting. ‘You work for the Man!’’
  • 4A figure or token used in playing a board game.

    • ‘Mr Kravchuk, who prides himself on his chess-playing prowess, did not give up his man easily.’


  • 1(of personnel) work at, run, or operate (a place or piece of equipment) or defend (a fortification)

    ‘the helpline is manned by trained staff’
    ‘the firemen manned the pumps and fought the blaze’
    • ‘The employees manning these centres are trained to remain unobtrusive and encourage the visitors to potter about, handling the products on display.’
    • ‘The centre is manned by fully trained technical personnel and all calls are recorded and logged to track and maintain a high service level.’
    • ‘The helpline is manned by volunteers in centres all around the country.’
    • ‘Now, though, the branch is fully manned and new staff are getting up to speed.’
    • ‘There are checkpoints manned by police or soldiers at every junction.’
    • ‘Militiamen are manning road and rooftop positions and main intersections leading into the area.’
    • ‘A 24-hour call centre operates, permanently manned by experienced personnel from all three Services.’
    • ‘The committee who are stretched to the limit manning the centre, are very thankful to the local District Hospital who cook and prepare the hot meals for them.’
    • ‘Not only was this the first manned flight to and from the Moon, Apollo 8 served to validate many of the technical procedures necessary to support upcoming lunar missions.’
    • ‘For the early manned missions to be seen as successful, the surface crew will need to explore large areas of Mars, ranging far from their base.’
    • ‘One member of the team, an Air Force combat controller, was attacked while manning a security post.’
    • ‘It is believed passengers have been queueing up to two hours in Terminal 1 because only one of five X-ray machines was manned due to staffing problems.’
    • ‘They moved from the safety of their dugouts and manned their machine guns to face the British and French.’
    • ‘I've been keen to get more involved as the place is manned by enthusiastic volunteers who supply locals with tasty, healthy food at low prices.’
    • ‘Trained volunteers will be manning the call centre to offer independent and confidential information and support to people experiencing difficulties.’
    • ‘The ship is manned by a staff of 700 who come from 25 countries.’
    • ‘Tens of thousands of troops and police are manning checkpoints and roadblocks.’
    • ‘The Hospice charity shops dotted around the borough are manned, for the most part, by unpaid volunteers.’
    • ‘A number of people have visited officers manning roadblocks on the road asking where they can leave flowers and tributes.’
    • ‘Schultz parked the Packard in someone's driveway and they both walked up to the policeman manning the barricade.’
    staff, crew, occupy, people
    operate, work, use, utilize
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Provide someone to fill (a post)
      ‘the chaplaincy was formerly manned by the cathedral’
      staff, crew, occupy, people
      View synonyms
  • 2archaic Fortify the spirits or courage of.

    ‘he manned himself with dauntless air’


North American
  • Used, irrespective of the sex of the person addressed, to express surprise, admiration, delight, etc., or for emphasis.

    ‘wow, like cosmic, man’
    • ‘This is a nice place, man! I can't believe you used to live here.’
    • ‘You got to stop drinking, man!’
    • ‘You see a couple in a restaurant or walking on the street and they appear to be so much in love, so happy with each other and you say, man, I wish I could have that.’
    • ‘Hey man, I don't have any problem with Jackson, or how Lord of The Rings was filmed.’
    • ‘Oh, hey man, how's it going? Did you and Lex have a good time last night?’
    • ‘‘Man it sure was different back in the ol days,’ says Gilbert.’


Traditionally the word man has been used to refer not only to adult males but also to human beings in general, regardless of sex. There is a historical explanation for this: in Old English the principal sense of man was ‘a human being’, and the words wer and wif were used to refer specifically to ‘a male person’ and ‘a female person’ respectively. Subsequently, man replaced wer as the normal term for ‘a male person’, but at the same time the older sense ‘a human being’ remained in use. In the second half of the twentieth century the generic use of man to refer to ‘human beings in general’ (as in reptiles were here long before man appeared on the earth) became problematic; the use is now often regarded as sexist or at best old-fashioned. In some contexts, alternative terms such as the human race or humankind may be used. Fixed phrases and sayings such as time and tide wait for no man can be easily rephrased, e.g. time and tide wait for nobody. Alternatives for terms such as manpower or the verb man exist: for example, staff or employees, and to staff or to operate
In the second half of the twentieth century the generic use of man to refer to ‘human beings in general’ (as in reptiles were here long before man appeared on the earth) became problematic; the use is now often regarded as sexist or at best old-fashioned. In some contexts, alternative terms such as the human race or humankind may be used. Fixed phrases and sayings such as time and tide wait for no man can be easily rephrased, e.g. time and tide wait for nobody. Alternatives for terms such as manpower or the verb man exist: for example, staff or employees, and to staff or to operate Traditionally the word man has been used to refer not only to adult males but also to human beings in general, regardless of sex. There is a historical explanation for this: in Old English the principal sense of man was ‘a human being’, and the words wer and wif were used to refer specifically to ‘a male person’ and ‘a female person’ respectively. Subsequently, man replaced wer as the normal term for ‘a male person’, but at the same time the older sense ‘a human being’ remained in use.


  • as —— as the next man

    • As —— as the average person.

      ‘I'm as ambitious as the next man’
      • ‘I am as price-conscious as the next man, so obviously value for money is important, even in pies.’
      • ‘Now, I'm as sensitive as the next man and I took her words to heart.’
      • ‘While as ambitious as the next man, Davies genuinely believes he would not have got where he is now without the help of his former boss at Preston.’
      • ‘Much has been made of the comfort zone in Scottish rugby which militates against success, and Nicol is as condemnatory as the next man of attitudes which have prevailed among some of the players.’
      • ‘I am as paranoid as the next man when it comes to the effects of radiation.’
      • ‘I may not listen to the album too often these days, but I'm as guilty as the next man of singing along when they play the old hits.’
      • ‘I am as loyal as the next man to my chosen team but when they are simply outclassed I am, like most true lovers of the game, prepared to admit it.’
      • ‘Well, I'm as curious as the next man, so I phoned one of my mates from the Yard.’
      • ‘As an Irishman living in Glasgow for the past 13 years, I'm as guilty as the next man of being nostalgic.’
      • ‘We live in a lovely flat - it just needs a bit more day-to-day upkeep than it's currently getting, and I'm as guilty as the next man in that department.’
  • as one man

    • With everyone acting together or in agreement.

      ‘the crowd rose to their feet as one man’
      • ‘Godwin motioned with his hand, and they got up as one man and followed him across the stone floor and out of the hall.’
      • ‘The horde reacted as one man, scrambling to their mangy horses and leaving as quickly as possible.’
      • ‘Yet what was most remarkable was the experience of seeing all the participants playing together as one man.’
  • be someone's (or the) man

    • Be the person perfectly suited to a particular requirement or task.

      ‘if it's war you want, I'm your man’
      • ‘He has three university degrees under his belt and whether you have a question about money, God or literature, Griffiths is your man.’
      • ‘Ladies, if you are looking for Mr. Perfect, Todd is your man.’
      • ‘If you need a fine writer and editor, Steve is your man.’
      • ‘In short, if you want a champion for a distressed building or threatened institution, Rhys Jones is your man.’
      • ‘If you fancy the idea of walking in Botswana with a group of elephants, then Gavin Ford is your man.’
      • ‘Not an easy album to listen to, but when insomnia gets the best of you and you need something gentle but thought-provoking at 3am, Will Oldham is your man.’
      • ‘If we ever needed any ‘unusual pharmaceutical products,’ then he was our man.’
      • ‘If Westlife ever need a substitute member, John is your man!’
      • ‘If you were looking for a striker to play down the middle then Alan was your man.’
      • ‘If you're into classic sounds, DJ Smoking is your man.’
  • be man enough to do (or for)

    • Be brave enough to do.

      ‘he has not been man enough to face up to his responsibilities’
      • ‘It sounds simple, but that is also what life's all about - being man enough to admit you made a mistake, accepting the consequences and working hard to make sure it doesn't happen again.’
      • ‘You know he was man enough to apologize and to admit his mistake.’
      • ‘In golf, for example, I can't hit the ball as far as I once did, but you've got to be man enough to accept it.’
      • ‘You have to be man enough to get back in the game and we didn't do that.’
      • ‘At 20 years of age he was man enough to accept this enormous responsibility and pressure.’
      • ‘It could have been all three points for the Lions, had referee Clive Penton not made a bizarre mistake that he was man enough to admit to later.’
      • ‘Brentford manager Wally Downes said: ‘Smith is the best in this division, but I am sure he is man enough to hold his hands up and admit he made mistakes today’.’
      • ‘Sheffield's coach Mark Aston was man enough to say afterwards that the best team won.’
      • ‘I only wanted to show her that there were no hard feelings, that I was man enough to call the past the past and make a fresh start as she had done.’
      • ‘But at least he was man enough to realise he was wrong and act accordingly.’
  • every man for himself and the Devil take the hindmost

  • make a man out of someone

    • (of an experience or person) turn a young man into a mature adult.

      ‘swimming will make a man out of you’
      • ‘He smiled all big and friendly and put his arm around my shoulder and started talking about how great the army was and how it would make a man out of me, but I wasn't having any of it.’
      • ‘I set sail with the Navy Seals and, let me tell you, they made a man out of me.’
      • ‘According to testimony from the man's wife and sister-in-law, he did this to toughen the boy up, make a man out of him.’
      • ‘I enjoyed my Air Force experience and I suppose the military did make a man out of me.’
      • ‘But I think every lad in Rochdale should do it because it makes a man out of you and I think a bit of discipline would put a stop to a lot of trouble.’
      • ‘I always thought the U.S. Open made a man out of you more than any other golf tournament.’
      • ‘They were really nice and accommodating, knowing that everyone has a different pain tolerance and that getting a tattoo is often the kind of experience that ‘makes a man out of you.’’
      • ‘He told me to go and join the effing Army or the effing rugby club, and that would make a man out of me.’
      • ‘We would go on hikes and we started out with small hikes like 10 miles and ended up doing 30-mile hikes with a pack, they made a man out of you real quick.’
      • ‘Being a single father made a man out of me, and I can honestly say I am a better man today and thankful for the experience.’
  • man about town

    • A fashionable male socialite.

      ‘in a well-cut black suit he looked quite the man about town’
      • ‘This carefully cultivated image as a man about town however belied the industry which he brought to his office, laying the foundation for his later success as a hard-working and knowledgeable foreign secretary.’
      • ‘A single man about town should be able to splash out on these things without feeling a moment's guilt or too big a dent in his bank balance.’
      • ‘Fatherhood is changing him: the one-time man about town now talks proudly of how he's mastered the plastic strips on nappies and is allowed to change the baby by himself.’
      • ‘The new men about town aspire to be more than just arm candy for the ladies.’
      • ‘Away from the radio studio, Antony Collins looks every part the young, trendy media man about town.’
      • ‘But, despite his image as a man about town, once he had become seriously involved with Isabel Lambert, he moved with her to a cottage near Thaxted in Essex, where he remained for the last eighteen years of his life.’
      • ‘He seems to have spent part of his early years in France, and was a man about town in London when his first comedy, The Comical Revenge, or Love in a Tub, was performed in 1664.’
      • ‘For the trendy man about town this season, cable-knit pullovers or cardigans in neutral shades such as greys and browns or navy blue are suggested.’
      • ‘Mobile in one hand, chilled glass of lager in the other, with the BMW parked outside, he was every considerable inch the man about town.’
      • ‘There were no real übertrendy apartment blocks then, so a mews was the must-have address for the man about town who worked hard and played hard.’
      fop, beau, man about town, bright young thing, glamour boy, rake
      View synonyms
  • man and boy

    • From childhood.

      ‘I've been with this company man and boy’
      • ‘Their managerial history is built on a solid stretch by Syd King, who was in charge of the club for 30 years man and boy.’
      • ‘I have lived here for more than 70 years - man and boy - and I won't be pushed out.’
      • ‘Cecil has been working it, seven days a week, for more than 60 years as a hands-on farmer, man and boy.’
      • ‘I am a smoker, and have been for the past 36 years, man and boy, and have never really made any serious attempt to quit in all that time.’
      • ‘He had been a merchant seaman man and boy, covering some fifty years and he was so accustomed to shouting just to be heard that he couldn't stop doing it now that he'd retired.’
      • ‘But for John Wilberforce Preston, who has fished the rivers and ponds of Craven man and boy for some 50 years, all is not well in the Aire Valley.’
      • ‘I have worked here man and boy… Not many people can say that these days but perky head porter Mike Fawcett can and does with pride.’
      • ‘A Labour Party member, man and boy, I am horrified to see so many of my colleagues vote with ignorance and arrogance in equal measure.’
      • ‘Rex has been a North End supporter man and boy, and to take the stick of rock analogy, if you chopped him in half he would say ‘Disappointed’ all the way through.’
      • ‘I have supported that club man and boy for 38 years.’
  • the man in black

    • informal The referee.

      ‘I would not put it past the men in black to get things horribly wrong’
  • the man in the moon

    • 1The imagined likeness of a face seen on the surface of a full moon.

      1. 1.1figurative Used, especially in comparisons, to refer to someone regarded as out of touch with real life.
        ‘a kid with no more idea of what to do than the man in the moon’
        • ‘You don't have any more idea than the man in the moon whether it's accurate and true or not.’
        • ‘The first and most important rule of all is not believing the mischief, the brutally contrived propaganda, which is purveyed with about as much credibility and believability as that emanating from the man in the moon!’
  • the man in (or on) the street

    • The average man.

      ‘he had been his eyes and ears in the community, voiced the opinions of the man in the street’
      • ‘It should be equally appealing to the upper class elite as well as the man on the street.’
      • ‘I can understand the man on the street not understanding the Declaration of Independence, but a Justice on the Supreme Court?’
      • ‘We're starting to have real choice in the software or hardware we use and best of all, it's beginning to come in a price which is more affordable for the average man on the street.’
      • ‘Now the average man on the street is not going to get worked up over what happens to hedge funds.’
      • ‘This problem has made us seem to lack credibility in the eyes of the ordinary man in the street.’
      • ‘Your average man on the street, when asked to comment on the fiasco, didn't care about the bank so long as his or her money was all right.’
      • ‘Thanks to the Arts Council England, buying original works of art has now become a reality for the average man in the street through the council's new scheme Own Art.’
      • ‘It may seem like a lot of money to the average man in the street, because it is, but in relative terms, the players can afford to lose that.’
      • ‘In his role as editor, Guzzardi tried to put himself in the position of the average man in the street buying and attempting to read the book.’
      • ‘I don't think the average man on the street has any idea how ubiquitous GPS has become.’
  • the man in white

    • informal An umpire, especially a field umpire.

      ‘he's constantly on the wrong side of the whistle of the man in white’
      • ‘The whole point of the game sometimes appears to be the crowd's quarrel with the man in white.’
      • ‘"That's fine, you keep protecting the men in white even when they stuff up a game of footy."’
      • ‘The men in white were outstanding and the score even threatened to get out of hand.’
      • ‘Players contribute each week to the lowly fee that the men in white receive.’
      • ‘Throughout his career he wasn't shy at giving umpires advice on how to do a better job, but this time his disrespect for the men in white was about to come back and haunt him.’
      • ‘A physical encounter is expected to keep the men in white tightly controlling what should be a cliffhanger of a match.’
      • ‘Footy fans will be fascinated by the men in white and the things they say out there in the heat of battle.’
      • ‘The umpiring director is strongly backing how the men in white handled the controversial match.’
      • ‘The men in white, quite simply, do not know how to cope with his speed, height, and frame.’
      • ‘From the umpire's point of view, a more personalised approach is being adopted that includes the men in white visiting change rooms prior to the game and establishing the attitude of the game.’
  • man of action

    • A man whose life is characterized by physical activity or deeds rather than by words or intellectual matters.

      • ‘His comedy timing is impeccable and he was equally at home as a man of action or a driven intellectual of thoughts, dreams and desires.’
      • ‘That earned him opprobrium in the council chamber but on the streets cemented his reputation as a man of action.’
      • ‘Although a man of action and a skilled administrator rather than an intellectual, he enjoyed the company of scholars and converted to Protestantism.’
      • ‘He has proved himself to be a man of action not just words.’
      • ‘Lawrence's roles as man of action, poet, neurotic, and leader of men fascinated friends and biographers and the public for years.’
      • ‘Superman, the man of Steel, is a man of action, a man who although he is not American fights the great American fight.’
      • ‘He emerges with the most credit as a man of action, honour and compassion.’
      • ‘Groomed by his father Nicholas I to head the navy, he had developed into a perceptive intellectual who at the same time was a man of action.’
      • ‘Both were men of action who found themselves in the right place at the right time because, in 1910, Mexico was a country which could have been created specifically for revolutionary change.’
      • ‘So when we speak of intellectuals or men of action, it is important to bear in mind that such distinctions are matters of degree, of mere tendencies, not absolutes.’
      • ‘Forgive me, fellow Parisians, I am a man of action not words.’
      • ‘The Romans, on the other hand, were doers, they were men of action.’
      • ‘A most affable man, his ready smile is always to the fore but underneath all that charm is a man of action who speaks by deeds as well as words.’
      • ‘He's a spiritual man, but he's a man of action, too.’
      • ‘Unlike France, Britain has preferred men of action, pragmatists, doers rather than thinkers.’
      • ‘Peck's craggy good looks, grace and measured speech contributed to his screen image as the decent, courageous man of action.’
      • ‘The 51-year-old entrepreneur is a man of action, not words.’
      • ‘He is a liberation theologist, a man of action who gets on with it rather than talking about it.’
      • ‘Lame from birth, he spent his life attempting to become a man of action.’
      • ‘She loved her father, she wrote, ‘when he's a revolutionary… a man of ideas, a man of action, a man who sticks steadfastly to his views and won't trade them for anything in the world’.’
      worker, organizer, activist, man of action, achiever, high achiever, succeeder, hustler, entrepreneur
      View synonyms
  • man of the cloth

    • A clergyman.

      • ‘Among the assembled cast is former man of the cloth Sandy Lofthouse, retired Canon of Carlisle and vicar of Levens, Helsington and Underbarrow for 17 years until he retired in 1995.’
      • ‘I am saddened that a man of the cloth could write such unfeeling comments.’
      • ‘There were many men of the cloth in Sophiatown, but Huddleston was arguably the most popular.’
      • ‘The men of the cloth were in town to attend a four-day conference of the Pontifical Council for Culture, in which the role of the church in preserving culture and heritage across the world was discussed.’
      • ‘He has taken his vows and is now a man of the cloth.’
      • ‘Zumárraga, as a man of the cloth, had no military or political weapons.’
      • ‘A spirited campaign to stop proposed Sunday flights to the Western Isles is being led not by elderly men of the cloth but by a sharp-suited former army major.’
      • ‘Gutierrez has not always been a man of the cloth; before entering the priesthood he was a military intelligence operative.’
      • ‘Indeed, he is a patient, forgiving sort of fella, as one would expect of a man of the cloth.’
      • ‘Quite a few of his ancestors had been men of the cloth, and he was raised in the faith by devout parents.’
      clergyman, clergywoman, priest, churchman, churchwoman, man of the cloth, woman of the cloth, man of god, woman of god, cleric, minister, preacher, chaplain, father
      View synonyms
  • man of God

    • 1A clergyman.

      • ‘Even in a pictorial book like this, the courage, faithfulness and immense work-rate of this man of God clearly shine through.’
      • ‘‘There was never a conflict between my role as a man of God and my role as a member of the SAS,’ he said.’
      • ‘He was also a great man of God who took the Bible at face value.’
      • ‘But I have certainly benefited from daily readings by different men of God over the years, reflecting the grace of God in their experience.’
      • ‘His life and writings have given eloquent testimony that one may be both a man of science and a man of God.’
      • ‘Fr Hope said: ‘Pope John Paul II was a remarkable and courageous man of God.’’
      • ‘In due course he appeared before three men of God in the Washington DC archdiocese.’
      • ‘This will undoubtedly mean some hard decisions and some new directions will have to be faced, and for that the chosen man of God will need all our support and prayers.’
      • ‘At this time all I needed was a man of God to pray for me.’
      • ‘This man of God should refer to the first commandment - ‘love thy neighbour‘.’
      • ‘In recent e-mail to Willimon, I told him I respect him as a man of God and of the scriptures.’
      1. 1.1A holy man or saint.
        • ‘No, this was Isaiah, from all indication in the record of Scripture a holy man, a man of God, what would be termed a dedicated Christian.’
  • man of honour

    • A man who adheres to what is right or to a high standard of conduct.

      ‘as a man of honour he had little alternative but to accompany his friend to America’
      • ‘For a man of honour, a guilty conscience must be a dreadful, perhaps unbearable burden.’
      • ‘He is a man of honour who behaves with reserve and circumspection towards Elinor while he is bound to Lucy Steele by an engagement that only she can honourably break.’
      • ‘If he were a man of honour, he would have resigned long ago.’
      • ‘As men of honour, the male members of the upper classes reserved the right to settle their disputes among themselves, without recourse to or interference by the state.’
  • man of the house

    • The male head of a household.

      • ‘According to friends, Luke swiftly assumed the role of man of the house after his parents split up.’
      • ‘His father left the family and Mitchell recalls telling his mother and siblings: ‘I'll look after you; I'm the man of the house now.’’
      • ‘Mrs Boone said: ‘After his dad died, he became the man of the house.’’
      • ‘The great bourgeois world of the past was built on families confident that the man of the house would always have a job and that his income would rise slowly but steadily.’
      • ‘Yes, he was the man of the house and he made most of the decisions.’
      • ‘If men ever dared to reflect wistfully on former glories of patriarchy, high on the list would be the freedom once enjoyed by the man of the house to come and go as he pleased.’
      • ‘Overnight, young Eddie became the man of the house at just 14.’
      • ‘I think it's because we moved around so much without my dad, and I was kind of forced to be the man of the house.’
      • ‘In a somber tone, he alluded to the fact that he would not always be around to handle male responsibilities such as this, and someday, I would be the man of the house.’
      • ‘This is quite significant, as it challenges the stereotype that it is always the man of the house who decides what consumer electronic equipment is to be bought.’
  • man of letters

    • A male scholar or author.

      ‘he wished to fashion for himself a career as a man of letters’
      • ‘He is a man of letters, and we have had a good deal of literary conversation.’
      • ‘He worked for two decades as a government engineer before beginning a second career as a man of letters.’
      • ‘Not only in this country, but in much of Europe, Benjamin Franklin was recognized as a scholar and man of letters.’
      • ‘Born in Boston, the son of the physician, poet, and man of letters Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., Holmes graduated from Harvard College in 1861.’
      • ‘Carlos Fuentes is one of Latin America's most prominent men of letters.’
      • ‘Sir Walter Scott, Scotland's greatest man of letters, and one of the most beloved authors of all time, was born in Edinburgh on 15 August 1771.’
      • ‘In 1851, having already embarked on a successful career as man of letters, he paid his first visit to Europe in the company of his family.’
      • ‘Returning from America, he settled down to the career of a man of letters.’
      • ‘By the end of the decade, his career was flourishing and he was well on his way to establishing his postwar reputation as a man of letters.’
      • ‘He was also a man of letters and had a parallel career as a writer, medical biographer, and historian.’
      intelligent person, learned person, highbrow, academic, bookworm, bookish person, man of letters, woman of letters, bluestocking, thinker, brain, scholar, sage
      View synonyms
  • man of the match

    • The team member who has given the most outstanding performance in a particular game.

      ‘McClair, who scored the only goal, was named man of the match’
      • ‘The man of the match was Jake Hargreaves for his efforts throughout the game.’
      • ‘Shaun Redman was man of the match and there were good displays from Joseph Holt and Ryan Humphreys.’
      • ‘The whole team worked hard but Jack Collins was named man of the match for a solid performance at the back.’
      • ‘The hard working Sam Dowgill was man of the match and dominated the midfield area.’
      • ‘Carlton Farrell was man of the match and Hudson kicked six out of seven goals.’
      • ‘George Meehan was outstanding in defence and Harry Tosney was man of the match.’
      • ‘After each game now the man of the match gets a trophy and bottle of champagne from the sponsor.’
      • ‘He scored a hat-trick of tries during the game and was named man of the match.’
      • ‘Well done to the team on their good performance and to man of the match Oliver Sloan.’
      • ‘It seemed as though every time he played, he either scored or he was a contender for man of the match.’
  • man of the moment

    • A man of importance at a particular time.

      • ‘Rob Deering is comedy's man of the moment, and this year's Edinburgh could be the big one.’
      • ‘Clarke is not ruling out a future career in management although he's more than happy to continue learning his trade at the feet of the man of the moment in European football.’
      • ‘James seems to be very much the man of the moment.’
      • ‘He's the man of the moment and rapidly emerging as the darling of Irish racegoers.’
      • ‘There are quite a few good strikers around in the Premiership but he is the man in form and the man of the moment.’
      • ‘When the television cameras were turned off she pulled out a small camera and asked to be photographed with the man of the moment.’
      • ‘For now, though, Forsyth is the Scottish man of the moment.’
      • ‘It was close to 10.30 pm when the man of the moment, Jai, came on stage.’
      • ‘Wayne Rooney is undeniably THE man of the moment.’
      • ‘Another Lancastrian, Ronnie Irani, may be the man of the moment but the Essex captain has a long way to go to rival Freddie's status as England's number one all-rounder.’
  • man of straw

    • 1A person regarded as having no substance or integrity.

      ‘a leader who was once derided as a man of straw’
      • ‘Murray does demonstrate that the men of straw have failed to silence him, for which he deserves much praise.’
      • ‘The Chief Minister's problem is that some of his advisers are men of straw.’
      • ‘My accusers will be men of straw and I will not have the financial ability to pursue a claim for malicious prosecution.’
      • ‘Some internet operators offer dirt-cheap contracts, but can be men of straw.’
      • ‘These are men of straw of whom no trace will be found after a few years.’
      • ‘As a hack myself, I like nothing better than seeing pompous and powerful politicians being exposed as men of straw.’
      • ‘A leader who was once derided as a man of straw has acquired a new certainty, which derives in large measure from his religious beliefs.’
    • 2A person undertaking a financial commitment without adequate means.

      • ‘He was allegedly being used to fight him politically, depicting him as a man of straw who could not pay rent.’
      • ‘Some of the borrowing was by companies to whom loans should never have been contemplated, on apparently over-valued property, and where guarantors turned out to be men of straw.’
      • ‘The trial judge found that there was overwhelming evidence that the husband was a man of straw with no financial capacity to conduct the litigation.’
      • ‘Unless the claimant is seeking an injunction, it is a profitless exercise to sue a man of straw since the remedy will be empty and the claimant left to meet his own legal costs.’
  • man of the world

  • the man on the Clapham omnibus

    • The average man, especially with regard to his opinions.

      ‘his was not a voice in the wilderness; he was speaking for the man on the Clapham omnibus’
      • ‘Yes, the man on the Clapham omnibus may have faith in national sovereignty, but his faith is faltering.’
      • ‘The man on the Clapham omnibus would probably have liked to have seen me hung, drawn and quartered, with my…head stuck on a pike for public edification.’
      • ‘The man on the Clapham omnibus was heading for Epsom yesterday, along with about half the population of London.’
      • ‘We must ask ourselves what the man on the Clapham omnibus would think.’
      • ‘If you ask the man on the Clapham omnibus, or the man on the average Great Western train, he will typically think that things are getting better.’
      • ‘He believed that the man on the Clapham omnibus would regard it as ‘wholly anomalous and unfair’ for a cohabiting ex wife in Mrs K's position to continue to receive income from her former husband indefinitely.’
  • man's best friend

    • An affectionate or approving way of referring to dogs.

      ‘a collection of photographs of man's best friend’
      • ‘A new genetic analysis of man's best friend could help scientists explain why a border collie has knack for herding or why poodles sport a curly coat.’
      • ‘Dogs have been trained to sniff out prey, drugs and even explosives - but new research reveals that man's best friend can also detect cancer.’
      • ‘But a recent study on elderly nursing home patients now offers scientific support that brief weekly visits from man's best friend can have a positive therapeutic impact.’
      • ‘We have many years' experience letting holiday cottages and have found man's best friend and his family make the best guests.’
      • ‘Humans share three-quarters of their genes with man's best friend, the first genetic blueprint of the domestic dog revealed yesterday.’
      • ‘Of course, no luxury camping trip would be complete without catering to man's best friend.’
      • ‘Everyone knows that dogs are affectionate and loyal - they're not called man's best friend for nothing!’
      • ‘This year, they were taking a lenient attitude to those who turned up with pooch in tow - much to the annoyance of those who had read about the ban in the Craven Herald and had left man's best friend at home.’
      • ‘A new exhibit at the Norton Museum of Art examines the role of man's best friend in the history of photography.’
      • ‘In 1987, researchers led by Dennis F. Lawler at the Purina Pet Institute in St. Louis began a study of man's best friend.’
  • a man's man

    • A man who is more popular and at ease with other men than with women.

      ‘he looks offended when I tell him he is perceived as a man's man’
      • ‘Despite his good behaviour nowadays, he remains very much a man's man.’
      • ‘Ritchie enjoys a reputation as a man's man: a hard-working, all-action, shooting, fishing sort of a chap who has knocked about a bit and can look after himself.’
      • ‘Joe was practical, a man's man; friendly in a blustering sort of way and always happy.’
      • ‘He was that rare mix of man's man and matinee idol.’
      • ‘Allegedly, women today don't want a sensitive, caring partner, they want a butch, tough, man's man.’
      • ‘If it wasn't for football, I would definitely not be as close to my dad John as I am, because he's a man's man.’
      • ‘He's such a man's man, but at the same time he writes with such tenderness and feeling.’
      • ‘He's a man's man with a notoriously robust attitude to women.’
      • ‘He's very much a man's man, living in a cabin in the woods and driving around in a truck, but he's plagued by life getting in the way of his job.’
      • ‘He's a man's man, he admits, which is no doubt why his friends have lasted longer than his lovers.’
  • man to man

    • 1In a direct and frank way between two men.

      ‘he was able to talk man to man with the delegates’
      • ‘I decided it was time for a man-to-man talk with the guy.’
      • ‘Dad did occasionally try to talk to me in a man-to-man, father-to-son kind of way.’
      • ‘I realize you are my employer, but I'd like to speak with you man to man for a moment, if I may.’
      • ‘I'm very much looking forward to seeing him and sitting down and talking to him man to man.’
      frankly, openly, honestly, directly, candidly, plainly, forthrightly, without beating about the bush
      View synonyms
    • 2Denoting a defensive tactic in soccer or other sport in which each player is responsible for marking one opponent.

      ‘the best man-to-man marker in the game’
      • ‘Our man to man marking has improved and the defence is compact.’
      • ‘Concentrate on dribbling, passing, shooting and playing man to man defense.’
      • ‘One of the biggest keys to a good man to man defensive scheme is what is called player recognition.’
      • ‘I am sure that if you see TV and watch other matches you will see a lot of goals scored from set-pieces, corners and free-kicks against teams who mark man to man.’
      • ‘The game petered out into its traditional pattern of man-to-man marking.’
  • men in (grey) suits

    • Powerful men within an organization who exercise their authority anonymously.

      ‘the prime minister was removed from Ten Downing Street by men in grey suits’
      • ‘No3 It seems to me that the so called men in grey suits are succeeding in what they set out to do from day one, stab him in the back and twist it afterwards.’
      • ‘If Bolivian farmers had been invited to the meeting, they might have been able to explain to the men in suits what this really means.’
      • ‘This could be a victory against the men in grey suits at the top of football.’
      • ‘The men in grey suits are people who have a lot of power in business or politics, but aren't well-known or charismatic.’
      • ‘Next, just in case you think the World Cup is mainly about politics, controversy and men in gray suits, we've decided to turn our attention to the fun side of cricket.’
      • ‘It was, and is his strongly held belief that artists should be allowed to develop their music organically with as little interference as possible from the men in suits.’
      • ‘These transcripts were of her conversations with the men in suits.’
      • ‘Some of the party's most senior figures - the so-called men in grey suits - will this week canvass support among parliamentary colleagues and grass-roots activists.’
      • ‘But who says economic policy is the sole domain of dull men in suits?’
      • ‘It's one of the quirks of management - victory last year doesn't mean victory this year, and there's no such thing as loyalty from overweight men in suits.’
  • men in white coats

    • humorous Psychiatrists or psychiatric workers (used to imply that someone is mad or mentally unbalanced)

      ‘I think the men in white coats will be calling soon’
      • ‘The minute I type this I will expect the men in white coats to come and take me away.’
      • ‘She even squeezed out a slim book on the subject before the men in white coats came for her.’
      • ‘They'd probably have rung the men in white coats to take me away.’
      • ‘A break away with my family from the madness that is SPL decision-making is probably all that has prevented me getting up close and personal with the men in white coats.’
      • ‘"If he carries on in this way we won't need the men in grey suits, we'll need the men in white coats."’
      • ‘But perhaps we shouldn't start calling in the men in white coats just yet.’
      • ‘Now, if you will excuse me I think I can hear the men in white coats pulling up outside …’
      • ‘If anybody had predicted Everton would be sitting third in the Premiership at the start of the season the men in white coats would have been round quicker to pick them up than Ronaldo can do thirty step-overs!’
      • ‘Later that same evening in 1918, Warburg was taken away by men in white coats.’
      • ‘Having spent more than an hour with the Prime Minister on Saturday morning, I can't report that he looked in the least bit like a candidate for the men in white coats.’
      • ‘The father becomes enraged at the son and has to be dragged away himself by men in white coats.’
    • humorous

      • ‘Most of us have never questioned our government's health officials because we believe that men in white coats can do no wrong.’
      • ‘But this is not about men in white coats and rubber gloves conducting dastardly experiments.’
      • ‘Heavens, the men in white coats don't even know whether or not to vaccinate the beasts.’
      • ‘Men in white coats came rushing towards her, handling her, checking her, touching her.’
      • ‘Sorry to say this but there are some areas where I don't trust the men in white coats.’
      • ‘Later that same evening in 1918, Warburg was taken away by men in white coats.’
      • ‘In a brightly lit chamber, deep beneath the streets of Sturminster, two men in white coats pore over a central table.’
      • ‘"I thought Dr Brooke was sending for the men in white coats," he joked.’
      • ‘The father becomes enraged at the son and has to be dragged away himself by men in white coats.’
      • ‘Wilson handed a good amount of money to the doctor who signaled two men in white coats to take Henry.’
  • my (or my good or my dear) man

    • dated A patronizing form of address to a man.

      ‘come off it, my man, who d'you think you're talking to?’
      • ‘I'm afraid, my dear man, you are no longer needed.’
      • ‘Well my good man, if we follow your logic it seems like what you are saying is that the ideal form of society is anarchy.’
      • ‘You see my dear man, I've been a step ahead of you the whole time.’
      • ‘Now see here, my good man, if we send these fellows back, will you promise not to be beastly to them?’
      • ‘Now, now my good man, this is no time for making enemies.’
  • separate (or sort out) the men from the boys

    • informal Show or prove which people in a group are truly competent, brave, or mature.

      ‘this match will separate the men from the boys’
      • ‘The rock-hard desert terrain encountered by riders at the Alpine quarry soon sorted out the men from the boys and many competitors didn't make it to the end of the two-hour race.’
      • ‘Believe me 5 years in the Army and then the Navy soon separated the men from the boys.’
      • ‘Determination separates the men from the boys and is especially important in bodybuilding.’
      • ‘This is the part of the competition that separates the men from the boys.’
      • ‘More than any other, a tour of Australia separates the men from the boys.’
      • ‘Such experiences are what separate the men from the boys.’
      • ‘Lets make no bones about it; this is a hard race and probably sorts out the men from the boys.’
      • ‘I'm sure it would be absolutely horrible in real life, but trying to survive alone on a desert island has be the ultimate test - it would definitely separate the men from the boys and I think I'd end up being a complete wimp.’
      • ‘This two mile Derby consists of four circuits of the track and is a race where stamina, strength and speed to the finish separate the men from the boys and only the fittest and most highly trained will succeed.’
      • ‘This is a hole for those with nerves of steel, and will truly sort out the men from the boys in the Ryder Cup.’
  • to a man

    • Without exception.

      ‘to a man, we all took a keen interest in the business’
      • ‘Automatons to a man, they seem to be quite unable to step outside the stock responses.’
      • ‘I went round a number of pits explaining the situation and they backed us to a man.’
      • ‘In a game where it was a pity to see a loser the Comer boys can feel proud of their performance to a man.’
      • ‘The orchestra, to a man, played terrifically - the best I have heard it yet.’
      • ‘Rocket fanatics to a man, they rose to their feet and cheered.’
      • ‘Our group, to a man, were extremely well behaved.’
      • ‘We had, to a man, missed the greatest event in the history of football, ever.’
      • ‘The team had played to its full potential by playing outstanding football to a man.’
      with no exceptions, without exception, bar none, one and all, everyone, each and every one, unanimously, as one
      View synonyms

Phrasal Verbs

  • man up

    • Be brave or tough enough to deal with an unpleasant situation.

      ‘you just have to man up and take it’
      • ‘We were manning up for what would be the final night event of the deployment.’
      • ‘Now to his credit, here is Sean Hannity, manning up.’
      • ‘You've got to man up to be in the police.’
      • ‘I'm sorry people are being rude about all this but these people need to man up and realize that they are going to take some heat.’
      • ‘This is where you have to man up.’
      • ‘He told me to man up, then slapped me.’
      • ‘But since even a bad day golfing is better than a good day doing anything else, he manned up, borrowed his brother's clubs, and ventured onto the course at the Red Ledges Golf Club.’
      • ‘They need to man up and take responsibility.’
      • ‘At a rally later in the day he manned up.’
      • ‘Dean will have to do a lot more than man up to overcome the President's popularity.’


Old English man(n), (plural) menn (noun), mannian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch man, German Mann, and Sanskrit manu ‘mankind’.