Mean in Spanish

“Mean” in Spanish: Exploring Different Translations and Contextual Usage


The English word “mean” is a versatile term with various translations and contextual meanings in Spanish. In this article, we will explore the different ways “mean” can be expressed in the Spanish language and delve into its various nuances and applications.

Translating “Mean” in Different Contexts

The translation of “mean” in Spanish depends on the specific context and intended meaning. Let’s examine some common translations:

“Significar”: When “mean” is used to convey the idea of signifying or representing something, the translation is “significar.” For example, “What does this word mean?” can be translated as “¿Qué significa esta palabra?”

“Querer decir”: In some instances, “mean” implies conveying or intending a particular message. In these cases, “querer decir” is a suitable translation. For instance, “I didn’t mean to offend you” can be translated as “No quise decir ofenderte.”

“Ser malo/a”: When “mean” is used to describe a person’s unkind or malicious behavior, the translation is “ser malo/a” or “ser mezquino/a.” For instance, “He can be mean sometimes” can be translated as “A veces puede ser malo.”

“Tacaño/a” or “Económico/a”: In the context of being stingy or frugal, the word “mean” can be translated as “tacaño/a” or “económico/a.” For example, “He is so mean with money” can be translated as “Es tan tacaño con el dinero.”

Additional Meanings and Expressions

The word “mean” also has other translations and expressions in Spanish:

“Medio/a”: When “mean” refers to the average or middle value of a set of numbers or data, the translation is “medio/a.” For example, “The mean score was 85” can be translated as “La puntuación media fue 85.”

“Grosero/a” or “descortés”: In the context of rudeness or impoliteness, “mean” can be translated as “grosero/a” or “descortés.” For instance, “She made a mean comment” can be translated as “Hizo un comentario grosero.”

“Serio/a”: In some cases, “mean” can imply seriousness or being strict. In these instances, the translation is “serio/a.” For example, “He has a mean expression” can be translated as “Tiene una expresión seria.”

Understanding Context and Nuance

As with any translation, understanding the context and intended meaning is crucial. The translations provided above serve as general guidelines, but it’s essential to consider the context in which “mean” is used to ensure accurate and appropriate translation.


The translation of “mean” in Spanish varies depending on the context and intended meaning. Whether it signifies, conveys a message, describes unkind behavior, or refers to other nuances, understanding the appropriate translation is essential for effective communication. By considering the specific context and employing the appropriate translation, one can convey the intended meaning of “mean” accurately in the Spanish language.

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