Definition of meanness in English:

meanness

noun

mass noun
  • 1British Lack of generosity; miserliness.

    • ‘He censures the cruelty of slave masters, the dodges of legacy hunters, and the meanness of the wealthy, but the targets of his criticisms are normally anonymous.’
    • ‘The Holyrood project has scuppered Scotland's reputation for meanness - perhaps a Minister for Frugality is needed or a Department of Thrift.’
    • ‘Kidman's thriftiness was sometimes interpreted as meanness, but while he sacked employees for trivial waste, he was generous enough to donate properties and money to charitable causes.’
    • ‘As well as provoking mirth, the alleged meanness of Scots is also a powerful marketing tool.’
    • ‘It belies the myth of Scottish meanness, eh, what with that and Ken's generous lift the previous night.’
    • ‘He has written to the Berlin-based national association of advertising agencies telling them their obsession with Scottish meanness is damaging.’
    • ‘Nothing but meanness is stopping us having homes like the Jetsons.’
    • ‘McMaster has been very successful in off-setting the meanness of the public purse by extending sponsorship and gifts to the present 28% of income.’
    • ‘Scots meanness was actually invented by a Scot, the comedian Harry Lauder; before him, Highland hospitality was a universally used phrase meaning generosity.’
    miserliness, niggardliness, close-fistedness, parsimony, parsimoniousness, penny-pinching, cheese-paring, penury, illiberality, greed, avarice, acquisitiveness
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  • 2Unkindness, spitefulness, or unfairness.

    ‘all the hatred and meanness, despair and sorrow surrounding us’
    • ‘I can imagine how I must have felt as that little girl, being introduced to the world of unfairness and meanness that can abound.’
    • ‘There were threats, and he would come home crying about all the meanness in the world.’
    • ‘If you want the goodness, of which there is much, you have to put up with the meanness, of which there is much.’
    • ‘But prayer as a means to effect a private end is meanness and theft.’
    • ‘The same apprehensions, in every situation, regulate his notions of meanness or of dignity.’
    • ‘Its most malign expression is meanness and luridness that, so mendaciously, pretends to be fierce truth holding up a mirror to meanness and luridness.’
    • ‘I stand shoulder to shoulder with all denouncers of meanness.’
    • ‘Scrooge has been immortalised in the English language as the epitome of miserliness and meanness of spirit.’
    • ‘The awareness of their individual blemishes and shortcomings inclines the frustrated to detect ill will and meanness in their fellow men.’
    • ‘Most of the time meanness is more dangerous than civilized standards.’
    • ‘It allows deep significance to be read into mediocrity, vacuity, cheapness, meanness.’
    • ‘The domestic theatre is her strength, her writer's eye picking out the daily victories, everyday meanness, with sensitivity and sympathy.’
    • ‘All of history's great leaders have been narcissistic; in combination with generosity of spirit, you get Lincoln; in combination with meanness of spirit, you get Henry VIII.’
    nastiness, mean-spiritedness, spitefulness, disagreeableness, unpleasantness, unkindness
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    1. 2.1North American Aggressive character; viciousness.
      ‘he is also callous, with a streak of meanness’
      • ‘Unable to find the meanness in themselves to give it zero stars, movie critics cling to the illusion that there must be something good about it.’
      • ‘Even in relationship to his own soldiers, there is nothing at the core of this man but visceral meanness.’
      • ‘I say this not out of hatred or meanness.’
      • ‘Certain jobs almost call for meanness: prison guard, Marine drill sergeant, movie reviewer.’
      • ‘Junior high is a particular challenge socially and prime time for bullies to ply their special brand of meanness.’
      • ‘Pure meanness is highly valued in Caesar's legions.’
      • ‘Too bad his son inherited his mother's virtues of pettiness and badger-like meanness.’
      • ‘Mom's criticism might be a sign of her meanness, for instance, but it could also be an awkward expression of her love.’
      • ‘Gradually, his neighbors become increasingly hostile and the small talk takes on an undercurrent of meanness.’
      • ‘I was looking forward to seeing him go after these two nasty gals in a free-for-all of meanness.’
      • ‘Don't get me wrong; there are some good times, but the meanness tells me I should get away from him.’
      • ‘He chuckled at that bit of nonsense, and said, "You don't think what she's done to you merits a little meanness?"’
      • ‘He manages his household with a mind free from the taint of meanness.’
      • ‘He just seems to bring out the meanness in them.’
      • ‘She said this without a hint of meanness, without the slightest sarcasm.’
      • ‘The Islanders have added enough grit and meanness to make them a formidably physical opponent.’
      • ‘And yet she couldn't remember one time when he had aimed that crankiness or meanness at her.’
      • ‘She looked for light of injury in his eyes, or delicate meanness rising up against her, but she saw nothing.’
      • ‘I want to show the level of meanness people are capable of.’
      • ‘The women might have been sweet but they could also whip out a streak of meanness just to put the man in place.’
  • 3Lack of quality or attractiveness; shabbiness.

    ‘the meanness of that existence’
    • ‘In Iraq, the distinction between wheaten and barley bread is identical to that in Europe: it is synonymous with poverty or meanness.’
    • ‘Even in her shock, she was appalled by the meanness of the men's living conditions.’
    • ‘She struggles with the poverty and meanness of her surroundings to keep herself and her family 'respectable' and is determined that her boys will not become miners.’
    squalor, squalidness, shabbiness, dilapidation, sordidness, seediness, sleaziness, insalubriousness, wretchedness, dismalness, dinginess, poverty
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Pronunciation

meanness

/ˈmiːnnəs/