Difference Wiki

Mean vs. Nasty: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Updated on September 27, 2023
Mean often denotes someone who's unkind or unpleasant, while Nasty refers to something unpleasant, vile, or offensively disagreeable.

Key Differences

Mean, when referring to a person's character, implies a lack of kindness or compassion, often manifesting as cruel or spiteful behavior. On the other hand, Nasty usually touches upon something's unpleasant or objectionable nature, whether it be in taste, appearance, or demeanor.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023
In many contexts, Mean may be used to highlight a person's intention to cause harm or discomfort, either emotionally or physically. Whereas, Nasty often emphasizes an intrinsic repulsive quality, be it in terms of a situation, environment, or an object.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023
For example, a person can be described as mean if they intentionally belittle others, making them feel inferior. In contrast, a substance, like a medicine, might be described as nasty if it tastes horrible, even though it's beneficial.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023
While both terms can sometimes be used interchangeably, especially when describing someone's disposition, the nuances differ. Someone being mean might deliberately leave out a colleague from a gathering, whereas a nasty comment is one that is distastefully severe and hurts the recipient.
Sara Rehman
Sep 27, 2023
In daily conversations, a child might be told not to be mean to their siblings, emphasizing not to act unkindly. In a different situation, the same child might be warned about a nasty bruise they've gotten, focusing on its unpleasant appearance.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Referring to unkind or unpleasant behavior.
Describing something as unpleasant, vile, or disagreeable.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Scope

Often associated with human behavior.
Broadly used for situations, objects, and behaviors.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Intent

Indicates intent to cause harm or discomfort.
Highlights an intrinsic unpleasant quality.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Example Area

Personal relations, character traits.
Taste, appearance, situations.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Severity

Can range from mild to severe unkindness.
Typically strong in its negative connotation.
Sara Rehman
Sep 27, 2023
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Mean and Nasty Definitions

Mean

Showing unkindness or hostility.
She was mean to her little brother.
Sara Rehman
Sep 27, 2023

Nasty

Highly unpleasant, especially to the senses.
That's a nasty word; don't use it.
Janet White
Sep 27, 2023

Mean

Stingy or miserly.
He's too mean to donate any money.
Janet White
Sep 27, 2023

Nasty

Showing a deliberate desire to harm or upset.
The weather took a nasty turn.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Mean

To be used to convey; denote
"'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things'" (Lewis Carroll).
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

He made a nasty remark about her dress.
Unfavorable or unwelcome.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Mean

To act as a symbol of; signify or represent
In this poem, the budding flower means youth.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Causing great harm or difficulty; severe.
She had a nasty fall and broke her leg.
Harlon Moss
Sep 27, 2023

Mean

To intend to convey or indicate
"No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous" (Henry Adams).
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Disgusting or repellent
A nasty odor rising from the garbage can.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

To have as a purpose or an intention; intend
I meant to go running this morning, but I overslept.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Unpleasantly cold or wet
Nasty weather.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

To design, intend, or destine for a certain purpose or end
A building that was meant for storage.
A student who was meant to be a scientist.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

(Archaic) Dirty; filthy.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

To have as a consequence; bring about
Friction means heat.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Morally offensive or indecent
A nasty film.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

To have the importance or value of
The opinions of the critics meant nothing to him. She meant so much to me.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Unpleasant or annoying
A nasty habit.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

To have intentions of a specified kind; be disposed
They mean well but lack tact.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Mean or spiteful
Stop being nasty to each other.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Lacking in kindness; unkind
The teacher was not being mean in asking you to be quiet.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Painful or dangerous; grave
A nasty accident.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Cruel, spiteful, or malicious
A mean boy who liked to make fun of others.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Exasperatingly difficult to solve or handle
A nasty puzzle.
A nasty problem.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Expressing spite or malice
Gave me a mean look.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

One that is nasty
"It is the business of museums to present us with nasties as well as with fine things" (Country Life).
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Tending toward or characterized by cruelty or violence
Mean streets.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Dirty, filthy.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Extremely unpleasant or disagreeable
The meanest storm in years.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Contemptible, unpleasant (of a person).
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Ignoble; base
A mean motive. ].
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Objectionable, unpleasant (of a thing); repellent, offensive.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Occupying a middle or intermediate position between two extremes.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Indecent or offensive; obscene, lewd.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Intermediate in size, extent, quality, time, or degree; medium.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Spiteful, unkind.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Something having a position, quality, or condition midway between extremes; a medium.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Awkward, difficult to navigate; dangerous.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

A number that typifies a set of numbers, such as a geometric mean or an arithmetic mean.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Grave or dangerous (of an accident, illness etc.).
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

The average value of a set of numbers.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Formidable, terrific; wicked.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

(Logic) The middle term in a syllogism.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

(informal) Something nasty.
Processed foods are full of aspartame and other nasties.
This video game involves flying through a maze zapping various nasties.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Means (used with a sing. or pl. verb) A method, a course of action, or an instrument by which an act can be accomplished or an end achieved.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Sexual intercourse.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Money, property, or other wealth
You ought to live within your means.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

A video nasty.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Great wealth
A woman of means.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Offensively filthy; very dirty, foul, or defiled; disgusting; nauseous.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

To intend.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Hence, loosely: Offensive; disagreeable; unpropitious; wet; drizzling; as, a nasty rain, day, sky.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

(transitive) To intend, to plan (to do); to have as one's intention.
I didn't mean to knock your tooth out.
I mean to go to Baddeck this summer.
I meant to take the car in for a smog check, but it slipped my mind.
The authors meant a challenge to the status quo.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Characterized by obscenity; indecent; indelicate; gross; filthy.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

(intransitive) To have as intentions of a given kind.
Don't be angry; she meant well.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Vicious; offensively ill-tempered; insultingly mean; spiteful; as, a nasty disposition.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

To intend (something) for a given purpose or fate; to predestine.
Actually this desk was meant for the subeditor.
Man was not meant to question such things.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Difficult to deal with; troublesome; as, he fell of his bike and got a nasty bruise on his knee.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

(transitive) To intend an ensuing comment or statement as an explanation.[https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/i_mean%20I%20mean]
Your reasoning seems needlessly abstruse, complex, and verbose for me. I mean, could you dumb it down for my sake?
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Offensive or even (of persons) malicious;
In a nasty mood
A nasty accident
A nasty shock
A nasty smell
A nasty trick to pull
Will he say nasty things at my funeral?
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

To convey (a meaning).
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Exasperatingly difficult to handle or circumvent;
A nasty problem
A good man to have on your side in a tight situation
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

(transitive) To convey (a given sense); to signify, or indicate (an object or idea).
The sky is red this morning—does that mean we're in for a storm?
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Thoroughly unpleasant;
Filthy (or foul or nasty or vile) weather we're having
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

(transitive) Of a word, symbol etc: to have reference to, to signify.
What does this hieroglyph mean?
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Characterized by obscenity;
Had a filthy mouth
Foul language
Smutty jokes
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

(transitive) Of a person (or animal etc): to intend to express, to imply, to hint at, to allude.
I'm afraid I don't understand what you mean.
He is a little different, if you know what I mean.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

Disgustingly dirty; filled or smeared with offensive matter;
As filthy as a pigsty
A foul pond
A nasty pigsty of a room
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

(transitive) To have conviction in (something said or expressed); to be sincere in (what one says).
Does she really mean what she said to him last night?
Say what you mean and mean what you say.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Nasty

The medicine had a nasty taste.
Obscene or indecent.
Sara Rehman
Sep 27, 2023

Mean

(transitive) To cause or produce (a given result); to bring about (a given result).
One faltering step means certain death.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

(usually with to) To be of some level of importance.
That little dog meant everything to me.
Formality and titles mean nothing in their circle.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

To lament.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

(obsolete) Common; general.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Of a common or low origin, grade, or quality; common; humble.
A man of mean parentage
A mean abode
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Low in quality or degree; inferior; poor; shabby.
A mean appearance
A mean dress
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Without dignity of mind; destitute of honour; low-minded; spiritless; base.
A mean motive
It was mean of you to steal that little girl's piggy bank.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Of little value or worth; worthy of little or no regard; contemptible; despicable.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Ungenerous; stingy; tight-fisted.
He's so mean. I've never seen him spend so much as five pounds on presents for his children.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Disobliging; pettily offensive or unaccommodating.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Intending to cause harm, successfully or otherwise; bearing ill will towards another.
Watch out for her, she's mean. I said good morning to her, and she punched me in the nose.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Powerful; fierce; strong.
It must have been a mean typhoon that levelled this town.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

(colloquial) Accomplished with great skill; deft; hard to compete with.
Your mother can roll a mean cigarette.
He hits a mean backhand.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Difficult, tricky.
This problem is mean!
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Having the mean (see noun below) as its value; average.
The mean family has 2.4 children.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

(obsolete) Middling; intermediate; moderately good, tolerable.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

A method or course of action used to achieve some result.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

An intermediate step or intermediate steps.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Something which is intermediate or in the middle; an intermediate value or range of values; a medium.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

The middle part of three-part polyphonic music; now specifically, the alto part in polyphonic music; an alto instrument.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

(statistics) The average of a set of values, calculated by summing them together and dividing by the number of terms; the arithmetic mean.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

(mathematics) Any function of multiple variables that satisfies certain properties and yields a number representative of its arguments; or, the number so yielded; a measure of central tendency.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

(mathematics) Either of the two numbers in the middle of a conventionally presented proportion, as 2 and 3 in 1:2=3:6.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

To have in the mind, as a purpose, intention, etc.; to intend; to purpose; to design; as, what do you mean to do?
What mean ye by this service ?
Ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good.
I am not a SpaniardTo say that it is yours and not to mean it.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

To signify; to indicate; to import; to denote.
What mean these seven ewe lambs ?
Go ye, and learn what that meaneth.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

To have a purpose or intention.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Destitute of distinction or eminence; common; low; vulgar; humble.
The mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Wanting dignity of mind; low-minded; base; destitute of honor; spiritless; as, a mean motive.
Can you imagine I so mean could prove,To save my life by changing of my love ?
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Of little value or account; worthy of little or no regard; contemptible; despicable.
The Roman legions and great Cæsar foundOur fathers no mean foes.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Of poor quality; as, mean fare.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Penurious; stingy; close-fisted; illiberal; as, mean hospitality.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Occupying a middle position; middle; being about midway between extremes.
Being of middle age and a mean stature.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Intermediate in excellence of any kind.
According to the fittest style of lofty, mean, or lowly.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Average; having an intermediate value between two extremes, or between the several successive values of a variable quantity during one cycle of variation; as, mean distance; mean motion; mean solar day.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

That which is mean, or intermediate, between two extremes of place, time, or number; the middle point or place; middle rate or degree; mediocrity; medium; absence of extremes or excess; moderation; measure.
But to speak in a mean, the virtue of prosperity is temperance; the virtue of adversity is fortitude.
There is a mean in all things.
The extremes we have mentioned, between which the wellinstracted Christian holds the mean, are correlatives.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

A quantity having an intermediate value between several others, from which it is derived, and of which it expresses the resultant value; usually, unless otherwise specified, it is the simple average, formed by adding the quantities together and dividing by their number, which is called an arithmetical mean. A geometrical mean is the nth root of the product of the n quantities being averaged.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

That through which, or by the help of which, an end is attained; something tending to an object desired; intermediate agency or measure; necessary condition or coagent; instrument.
Their virtuous conversation was a mean to work the conversion of the heathen to Christ.
You may be able, by this mean, to review your own scientific acquirements.
Philosophical doubt is not an end, but a mean.
By this means he had them more at vantage.
What other means is left unto us.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Resources; property, revenue, or the like, considered as the condition of easy livelihood, or an instrumentality at command for effecting any purpose; disposable force or substance.
Your means are very slender, and your waste is great.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

A part, whether alto or tenor, intermediate between the soprano and base; a middle part.
The mean is drowned with your unruly base.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Meantime; meanwhile.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

A mediator; a go-between.
He wooeth her by means and by brokage.
If by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the dead.
The wine on this side of the lake is by no means so good as that on the other.
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

An average of n numbers computed by adding some function of the numbers and dividing by some function of n
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Mean or intend to express or convey;
You never understand what I mean!
What do his words intend?
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Have as a logical consequence;
The water shortage means that we have to stop taking long showers
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Denote or connote;
`maison' means `house' in French
An example sentence would show what this word means
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Have in mind as a purpose;
I mean no harm
I only meant to help you
She didn't think to harm me
We thought to return early that night
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Have a specified degree of importance;
My ex-husband means nothing to me
Happiness means everything
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Intend to refer to;
I'm thinking of good food when I talk about France
Yes, I meant you when I complained about people who gossip!
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Destine or designate for a certain purpose;
These flowers were meant for you
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Approximating the statistical norm or average or expected value;
The average income in New England is below that of the nation
Of average height for his age
The mean annual rainfall
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Characterized by malice;
A hateful thing to do
In a mean mood
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Having or showing an ignoble lack of honor or morality;
That liberal obedience without which your army would be a base rabble
Taking a mean advantage
Chok'd with ambition of the meaner sort
Something essentially vulgar and meanspirited in politics
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Excellent;
Famous for a mean backhand
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Marked by poverty befitting a beggar;
A beggarly existence in the slums
A mean hut
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Used of persons or behavior; characterized by or indicative of lack of generosity;
A mean person
He left a miserly tip
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

Used of sums of money; so small in amount as to deserve contempt
Sawaira Riaz
Feb 27, 2023

Mean

A value obtained by dividing the sum of several quantities by their number; arithmetic average.
The mean score of the class was 85.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 27, 2023

Mean

Of low quality; inferior.
The fabric was of mean quality.
Harlon Moss
Sep 27, 2023

Mean

Indicating an intention or purpose.
What do you mean by that comment?
Harlon Moss
Sep 27, 2023

FAQs

Can Mean be used in mathematics?

Yes, mean refers to the arithmetic average of numbers.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Can weather be described as Nasty?

Yes, nasty weather means unfavorable or harsh conditions.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 27, 2023

Is Mean always negative?

Most commonly, but in statistics, "mean" is neutral, referring to average.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 27, 2023

Can an injury be described as Nasty?

Yes, indicating it looks severe or unpleasant.
Janet White
Sep 27, 2023

Is a Mean person always Nasty?

Not necessarily, but their behavior can sometimes be described as both.
Janet White
Sep 27, 2023

Can Nasty describe a taste?

Absolutely, something can have a nasty taste, meaning it's very unpleasant.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Can you call a quality of a product Mean?

Yes, if it's of low or inferior quality.
Sara Rehman
Sep 27, 2023

Is being frugal the same as being Mean?

Not necessarily. Mean can mean miserly, but frugality isn't always negative.
Harlon Moss
Sep 27, 2023

Can you say someone has a Mean streak?

Yes, suggesting they occasionally exhibit unkind behavior.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Are Mean and Nasty synonyms?

They can be, especially in the context of behavior, but often carry different nuances.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Can a joke be Mean?

Yes, if it's intended to belittle or hurt someone.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Can a situation be Nasty?

Yes, implying it's difficult, tricky, or unpleasant.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 27, 2023

Can a Nasty comment be unintentional?

Yes, but it would still be hurtful or distasteful to the listener.
Sara Rehman
Sep 27, 2023

Does Nasty always imply malicious intent?

Not always. Something can be nasty without intent, like a taste or smell.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023

Can you describe a smell as Nasty?

Yes, indicating it's very unpleasant.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 27, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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