Be ones own man

an adult male person, as distinguished from a boy or a woman.
a member of the species Homo sapiens or all the members of this species collectively, without regard to sex:
prehistoric man.
the human individual as representing the species, without reference to sex; the human race; humankind:
Man hopes for peace, but prepares for war.
a human being; person:
to give a man a chance; When the audience smelled the smoke, it was every man for himself.
a husband.
a male lover or sweetheart.
a male follower or subordinate:
the king’s men. He’s the boss’s number one man.
a male employee or representative, especially of a company or agency:
a Secret Service man; a man from the phone company.
a male having qualities considered typical of men or appropriately masculine:
Be a man. The army will make a man of you.
a male servant.
a valet.
enlisted man.
an enthusiast or devotee:
I like jazz, but I’m essentially a classics man.
Slang. male friend; ally:
You’re my main man.
a term of familiar address to a man; fellow:
Now, now, my good man, please calm down.
Slang. a term of familiar address to a man or a woman:
Hey, man, take it easy.
one of the pieces used in playing certain games, as chess or checkers.
History/Historical. a liegeman; vassal.
Obsolete. manly character or courage.
the man, Slang.

a person or group asserting authority or power over another, especially in a manner experienced as being oppressive, demeaning, or threatening, as an employer, the police, or a dominating racial group.
a person or group upon whom one is dependent, as the drug supplier for an addict.

Also, the Man.
to furnish with men, as for service or defense.
to take one’s place for service, as at a gun or post:
to man the ramparts.
to strengthen, fortify, or brace; steel:
to man oneself for the dangers ahead.
Falconry. to accustom (a hawk) to the presence of men.
Slang. an expression of surprise, enthusiasm, dismay, or other strong feeling:
Man, what a ball game!
man up, Informal. to act in a typically masculine way, as in taking responsibility or making tough decisions:
He should man up and meet the challenge.
as one man, in complete agreement or accord; unanimously:
They arose as one man to protest the verdict.
be one’s own man,

to be free from restrictions, control, or dictatorial influence; be independent:
Now that he has a business he is his own man.
to be in complete command of one’s faculties:
After a refreshing nap he was again his own man.

man and boy, ever since childhood:
He’s been working that farm, man and boy, for more than 50 years.
man’s man, a man who exemplifies masculine qualities.
to a man, with no exception; everyone; all:
To a man, the members of the team did their best.
noun (pl) men (mɛn)
an adult male human being, as distinguished from a woman
(modifier) male; masculine: a man child
(archaic) a human being regardless of sex or age, considered as a representative of mankind; a person
(sometimes capital) human beings collectively; mankind: the development of man
Also called modern man

a member of any of the living races of Homo sapiens, characterized by erect bipedal posture, a highly developed brain, and powers of articulate speech, abstract reasoning, and imagination
any extinct member of the species Homo sapiens, such as Cro-Magnon man

a member of any of the extinct species of the genus Homo, such as Java man, Heidelberg man, and Solo man
an adult male human being with qualities associated with the male, such as courage or virility: be a man
manly qualities or virtues: the man in him was outraged

a subordinate, servant, or employee contrasted with an employer or manager
(in combination): the number of man-days required to complete a job

(usually pl) a member of the armed forces who does not hold commissioned, warrant, or noncommissioned rank (as in the phrase officers and men)
a member of a group, team, etc
a husband, boyfriend, etc: man and wife
an expression used parenthetically to indicate an informal relationship between speaker and hearer
a movable piece in various games, such as draughts
(South African, slang) any person: used as a term of address
a vassal of a feudal lord
as one man, with unanimous action or response
be one’s own man, to be independent or free
he’s your man, he’s the person needed (for a particular task, role, job, etc)
man and boy, from childhood
sort out the men from the boys, separate the men from the boys, to separate the experienced from the inexperienced
to a man

without exception: they were slaughtered to a man

(informal) an exclamation or expletive, often indicating surprise or pleasure
verb (transitive) mans, manning, manned
to provide with sufficient people for operation, defence, etc: to man the phones
to take one’s place at or near in readiness for action
(falconry) to induce (a hawk or falcon) to endure the presence of and handling by man, esp strangers
noun (sometimes not capital) (US) the Man
(Black slang) a White man or White men collectively, esp when in authority, in the police, or held in contempt
(slang) a drug peddler
Isle of Man, an island in the British Isles, in the Irish Sea between Cumbria and Northern Ireland: a UK Crown Dependency (but not part of the United Kingdom), with its own ancient parliament, the Court of Tynwald; a dependency of Norway until 1266, when for a time it came under Scottish rule; its own language, Manx, became extinct in the 19th century but has been revived to some extent. Capital: Douglas. Pop: 86 159 (2013 est). Area: 588 sq km (227 sq miles)

Old English man, mann “human being, person (male or female); brave man, hero; servant, vassal,” from Proto-Germanic *manwaz (cf. Old Saxon, Swedish, Dutch, Old High German man, German Mann, Old Norse maðr, Danish mand, Gothic manna “man”), from PIE root *man- (1) “man” (cf. Sanskrit manuh, Avestan manu-, Old Church Slavonic mozi, Russian muzh “man, male”).

Plural men (German Männer) shows effects of i-mutation. Sometimes connected to root *men- “to think” (see mind), which would make the ground sense of man “one who has intelligence,” but not all linguists accept this. Liberman, for instance, writes, “Most probably man ‘human being’ is a secularized divine name” from Mannus [cf. Tacitus, “Germania,” chap. 2], “believed to be the progenitor of the human race.”

So I am as he that seythe, `Come hyddr John, my man.’ [1473]

Sense of “adult male” is late (c.1000); Old English used wer and wif to distinguish the sexes, but wer began to disappear late 13c. and was replaced by man. Universal sense of the word remains in mankind and manslaughter. Similarly, Latin had homo “human being” and vir “adult male human being,” but they merged in Vulgar Latin, with homo extended to both senses. A like evolution took place in Slavic languages, and in some of them the word has narrowed to mean “husband.” PIE had two stems: *uiHro “freeman” (cf. Sanskrit vira-, Lithuanian vyras, Latin vir, Old Irish fer, Gothic wair) and *hner “man,” a title more of honor than *uiHro (cf. Sanskrit nar-, Armenian ayr, Welsh ner, Greek aner).

MAN TRAP. A woman’s commodity. [“Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit, and Pickpocket Eloquence,” London, 1811]

Man also was in Old English as an indefinite pronoun, “one, people, they.” The chess pieces so called from c.1400. As an interjection of surprise or emphasis, first recorded c.1400, but especially popular from early 20c. Man-about-town is from 1734; the Man “the boss” is from 1918. To be man or mouse “be brave or be timid” is from 1540s. Men’s Liberation first attested 1970.

At the kinges court, my brother, Ech man for himself. [Chaucer, “Knight’s Tale,” c.1386]


Old English mannian “to furnish (a fort, ship, etc.) with a company of men,” from man (n.). Meaning “to take up a designated position on a ship” is first recorded 1690s. Meaning “behave like a man, act with courage” is from c.1400. To man (something) out is from 1660s. Related: Manned; manning.


An exclamation of surprise, delight, emphasis, etc; jeez, wow: Man! I almost missed it! (1896+)


A dollar; iron man: You oughta grab about 300 men (1921+)

Related Terms

ass man, backdoor man, box man, butter-and-egg man, candy man, company man, con man, dirty old man, fancy man, finger man, first man, four-letter man, g-man, hammer-man, hatchet man, he-man, hit man, honey man, hoop-man, iron man, jigger-man, juice man, ladies’ man, leg man, ounce man, pete-man, peterman, point, poor man’s something, rod-man, sandwich man, see a man about a dog, shack man, straight man, sweet man, tit man, trigger man, vent man, wheel man

[in the first sense, the very similar man alive is found by 1839]

noun phrase

Any man in authority; boss, his nibs:See the guy in front? That’s the man (1918+)
A police officer, detective, prison guard, etc; the HEAT: Careful, here’s the man (1960s+ Narcotics & underworld)
A supplier of narcotics; dealer (1960s+ Narcotics)
A white man; the white establishment: a super nigger who spends his life trying to prove he’s as good as the Man/ That’s what ”the man” wants you to do—to riot, so he can shoot you down (1963+ Black)

Metropolitan Area Network
Ringway International Airport (Manchester, England)

(1.) Heb. ‘Adam, used as the proper name of the first man. The name is derived from a word meaning “to be red,” and thus the first man was called Adam because he was formed from the red earth. It is also the generic name of the human race (Gen. 1:26, 27; 5:2; 8:21; Deut. 8:3). Its equivalents are the Latin homo and the Greek anthropos (Matt. 5:13, 16). It denotes also man in opposition to woman (Gen. 3:12; Matt. 19:10). (2.) Heb. ‘ish, like the Latin vir and Greek aner, denotes properly a man in opposition to a woman (1 Sam. 17:33; Matt. 14:21); a husband (Gen. 3:16; Hos. 2:16); man with reference to excellent mental qualities. (3.) Heb. ‘enosh, man as mortal, transient, perishable (2 Chr. 14:11; Isa. 8:1; Job 15:14; Ps. 8:4; 9:19, 20; 103:15). It is applied to women (Josh. 8:25). (4.) Heb. geber, man with reference to his strength, as distinguished from women (Deut. 22:5) and from children (Ex. 12:37); a husband (Prov. 6:34). (5.) Heb. methim, men as mortal (Isa. 41:14), and as opposed to women and children (Deut. 3:6; Job 11:3; Isa. 3:25). Man was created by the immediate hand of God, and is generically different from all other creatures (Gen. 1:26, 27; 2:7). His complex nature is composed of two elements, two distinct substances, viz., body and soul (Gen. 2:7; Eccl. 12:7; 2 Cor. 5:1-8). The words translated “spirit” and “soul,” in 1 Thess. 5:23, Heb. 4:12, are habitually used interchangeably (Matt. 10:28; 16:26; 1 Pet. 1:22). The “spirit” (Gr. pneuma) is the soul as rational; the “soul” (Gr. psuche) is the same, considered as the animating and vital principle of the body. Man was created in the likeness of God as to the perfection of his nature, in knowledge (Col. 3:10), righteousness, and holiness (Eph. 4:24), and as having dominion over all the inferior creatures (Gen. 1:28). He had in his original state God’s law written on his heart, and had power to obey it, and yet was capable of disobeying, being left to the freedom of his own will. He was created with holy dispositions, prompting him to holy actions; but he was fallible, and did fall from his integrity (3:1-6). (See FALL.)

man about town
man in the street
man of few words
man of his word
man of the moment
man of the world

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