AskDefine | Define man

Dictionary Definition

man

Noun

1 an adult male person (as opposed to a woman); "there were two women and six men on the bus" [syn: adult male] [ant: woman]
2 someone who serves in the armed forces; a member of a military force; "two men stood sentry duty" [syn: serviceman, military man, military personnel] [ant: civilian]
3 the generic use of the word to refer to any human being; "it was every man for himself"
4 all of the inhabitants of the earth; "all the world loves a lover"; "she always used `humankind' because `mankind' seemed to slight the women" [syn: world, human race, humanity, humankind, human beings, humans, mankind]
5 any living or extinct member of the family Hominidae [syn: homo, human being, human]
6 a male subordinate; "the chief stationed two men outside the building"; "he awaited word from his man in Havana"
7 an adult male person who has a manly character (virile and courageous competent); "the army will make a man of you"
8 a male person who plays a significant role (husband or lover or boyfriend) in the life of a particular woman; "she takes good care of her man" [ant: woman]
9 a manservant who acts as a personal attendant to his employer; "Jeeves was Bertie Wooster's man" [syn: valet, valet de chambre, gentleman, gentleman's gentleman]
10 one of the British Isles in the Irish Sea [syn: Isle of Man]
11 game equipment consisting of an object used in playing certain board games; "he taught me to set up the men on the chess board"; "he sacrificed a piece to get a strategic advantage" [syn: piece]

Verb

1 take charge of a certain job; occupy a certain work place; "Mr. Smith manned the reception desk in the morning"
2 provide with men; "We cannot man all the desks" [also: manning, manned, men (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

mann. Cognates include Swedish man, Norwegian mann, Faroese maður, Icelandic maður, Danish mand, German Mann, Dutch man.

Pronunciation

  • /mæn/, /m

Extensive Definition

A man is a male human. The term man (irregular plural: men) is used for an adult human male, with the term boy being the usual term for a human male child or adolescent human male. However, man can refer to humanity as a whole and is also sometimes used to identify a male human, regardless of age, as in phrases such as "Men's rights".

Age and terminology

Manhood is the period in a male's life where he has erections
A boy is a male human child. For many, the word man implies a certain degree of maturity and responsibility. Many also use colloquial terms such as bloke, lad, chap, fellow, guy, dude or bro in reference to a man.

Biology and gender

Humans exhibit sexual dimorphism in many characteristics, many of which have no direct link to reproductive ability, however most of these characteristics do have a role in sexual attraction. Most expressions of sexual dimorphism in humans are found in height, weight, and body structure, though there are always examples that do not follow the overall pattern. For example, men tend to be taller than women, but there are many people of both sexes who are in the mid-height range for the species.
Some examples of male secondary sexual characteristics in humans, those acquired as boys become men or even later in life, are:
  • more pubic hair around penis and under arms
  • more facial hair
  • larger hands and feet than women
  • broader shoulders and chest
  • heavier skull and bone structure
  • greater muscle mass
  • a prominent Adam's apple and deeper voice
  • A bigger penis and larger testicles
  • coarser skin texture

Reproductive system

The sex organs of a man are part of the reproductive system, consisting of the penis, testicles, vas deferens, and the prostate gland. The male reproductive system's function is to produce semen which carries sperm and thus genetic information that can unite with an egg within a woman. Since sperm that enters a woman's uterus and then fallopian tubes goes on to fertilize an egg which develops into a fetus or child, the male reproductive system plays no necessary role during the gestation. The concept of fatherhood and family exists in human societies. The study of male reproduction and associated organs is called andrology.

Karyotype

The normal human karyotypes contain 22 pairs of autosomal chromosomes and one pair of sex chromosomes. Normally karyotypes for men have both an X and a Y chromosome denoted 46,XY.

Illnesses

In general, men suffer from many of the same illnesses as women. Men generally tend to suffer from more illnesses than women but suffer from fewer sex-related illnesses than women. On average, men have a slightly lower life expectancy than women; however, there has been a gradual reduction in this disparity.

Sexual characteristics

In humans, the sex of an individual is generally determined at the time of fertilization by the genetic material carried in the sperm cell. If a sperm cell carrying an X chromosome fertilizes the egg, the offspring will typically be female (XX); if a sperm cell carrying a Y chromosome fertilizes the egg, the offspring will typically be male (XY). This is referred to as the XY sex-determination system and is typical of most mammals, but quite a few other sex-determination systems exist, including some that are non-genetic. The term primary sexual characteristics denotes the kind of gamete the gonad produces: The ovary produces egg cells in the female, and the testis produces sperm cells in the male. The term secondary sexual characteristics denotes all other sexual distinctions that play indirect roles in uniting sperm and eggs. Secondary sexual characteristics include everything from the specialized male and female features of the genital tract, to the brilliant plumage of male birds or facial hair of humans, to behavioral features such as courtship.

Sex hormones

In mammals, the hormones that influence sexual differentiation and development are androgens (mainly testosterone), which stimulate later development of the ovary. In the sexually undifferentiated embryo, testosterone stimulates the development of the Wolffian ducts, the penis, and closure of the labioscrotal folds into the scrotum. Another significant hormone in sexual differeniation is the Anti-müllerian hormone, which inhibits development of the Müllerian ducts.
For males during puberty, testosterone, along with gonadotropins released by the pituitary gland, stimulates spermatogenesis, along with the full sexual distinction of a human male from a human female, while women are acted upon by estrogens and progesterones to produce their sexual distinction(penisvigina) from the human male.

Masculinity

see also Stereotype
Enormous debate in Western societies has focused on perceived social, intellectual, or emotional differences between men and women. These differences are very difficult to quantify for both scientific and political reasons.

Characteristics

Janet Saltzman Chafetz (1974, 35-36) describes seven areas of masculinity in general culture:
  1. Physical -- virile, athletic, strong, brave. Unconcerned about appearance and aging;
  2. Functional -- provider for family, defender of family from physical threat;
  3. Sexual -- sexually aggressive, experienced. Single status acceptable;
  4. Emotional -- unemotional, stoic, never crying;
  5. Intellectual -- logical, intellectual, rational, objective, practical;
  6. Interpersonal -- leader, dominating; disciplinarian; independent, free, individualistic; demanding;
  7. Other Personal Characteristics -- success-oriented, ambitious, aggressive, proud, egotistical, moral, trustworthy; decisive, competitive, uninhibited, adventurous.
Some differences have been supported by scientific research; most have not. It is especially difficult and contentious for science to separate the "innate" or biological differences from the learned or social differences. All should be considered broad generalizations; that is, at least a large minority of either gender would fit better with the other gender in any one of these aspects.
A number of the above stereotypes were not perceived in the same way as today (i.e., their applications to particular aspects and spheres of life, such as work vs. home) until the 19th century, beginning with industrialization.
In terms of outward appearance, few men in Western cultures wear cosmetics or clothing generally associated with female gender roles. (Doing so is generally stigmatized and viewed as cross-dressing.)

Culture and gender roles

Well into prehistoric culture, men are believed to have assumed a variety of social and cultural roles which are likely similar across many groups of humans. In hunter-gatherer societies, men were often if not exclusively responsible for all large game killed, the capture and raising of most or all domesticated animals, the building of permanent shelters, the defense of villages, and other tasks where the male physique and strong spatial-cognition were most useful. Some anthropologists believe that it may have been men who led the Neolithic Revolution and became the first pre-historical ranchers, as a possible result of their intimate knowledge of animal life.
Throughout history, the roles of men have changed greatly. As societies have moved away from agriculture as a primary source of jobs, the emphasis on male physical ability has waned. Traditional gender roles for working men typically involved jobs emphasizing moderate to hard manual labor (see Blue-collar worker), often with no hope for increase in wage or position. For poorer men among the working classes the need to support their families, especially during periods of industrial change and economic decline, forced them to stay in dangerous jobs working long arduous hours, often without retirement. Many industrialized countries have seen a shift to jobs which are less physically demanding, with a general reduction in the percentage of manual labor needed in the work force (see White-collar worker). The male goal in these circumstances is often of pursuing a quality education and securing a dependable, often office-environment, source of income. The Men's Movement is in part a struggle for the recognition of equality of opportunity with women, and for equal rights irrespective of gender, even if special relations and conditions are willingly incurred under the form of partnership involved in marriage. The difficulties of obtaining this recognition are due to the habits and customs recent history has produced. Through a combination of economic changes and the efforts of the feminist movement in recent decades, men in some societies now compete with women for jobs that traditionally excluded women. Some larger corporations have instituted tracking systems to try to ensure that jobs are filled based on merit and not just on traditional gender selection. Assumptions and expectations based on sex roles both benefit and harm men in Western society (as they do women, but in different ways) in the workplace as well as on the topics of education, violence, health care, politics, and fatherhood - to name a few. Research has identified anti-male sexism in some areas (a concept which must be distinguished and differentiated from the traditional anti-female sexism in its ubiquity and impact) which can result in what appear to be unfair advantages given to women.
The Parsons model was used to contrast and illustrate extreme positions on gender roles. Model A describes total separation of male and female roles, while Model B describes the complete dissolution of barriers between gender roles. The examples are based on the context of the culture and infrastructure of the United States. However, these extreme positions are rarely found in reality; actual behavior of individuals is usually somewhere between these poles. The most common 'model' followed in real life in the United States and Great Britain is the 'model of double burden'.

References

Further reading

  • Andrew Perchuk, Simon Watney, Bell Hooks, The Masculine Masquerade: Masculinity and Representation, MIT Press 1995
  • Pierre Bourdieu, Masculine Domination, Paperback Edition, Stanford University Press 2001
  • Robert W. Connell, Masculinities, Cambridge : Polity Press, 1995
  • Warren Farrell, Myth of Male Power Berkley Trade, 1993 ISBN 0-425-18144-8
  • Michael Kimmel (ed.), Robert W. Connell (ed.), Jeff Hearn (ed.), Handbook of Studies on Men and Masculinities, Sage Publications 2004

See also

man in Afrikaans: Man
man in Arabic: رجل
man in Aymara: Chacha
man in Azerbaijani: Kişi
man in Bengali: পুরুষ
man in Min Nan: Cha-po͘
man in Bavarian: Mo
man in Catalan: Home
man in Czech: Muž
man in Danish: Mand
man in German: Mann
man in Estonian: Mees
man in Spanish: Varón
man in Esperanto: Viro
man in Persian: مرد
man in French: Homme
man in Irish: Fear
man in Korean: 남성
man in Croatian: Muškarac
man in Indonesian: Laki-laki
man in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Homine
man in Italian: Uomo (genere)
man in Hebrew: גבר
man in Kurdish: Mêr
man in Lithuanian: Vyras
man in Lojban: nanmu
man in Hungarian: Férfi
man in Malay (macrolanguage): Lelaki
man in Dutch: Man (geslacht)
man in Dutch Low Saxon: Man (geslacht)
man in Japanese: 男性
man in Neapolitan: Ommo
man in Norwegian: Mann
man in Occitan (post 1500): Òme
man in Polish: Mężczyzna
man in Portuguese: Homem
man in Romanian: Bărbat
man in Quechua: Qhari
man in Russian: Мужчина
man in Sardinian: Òmine
man in Sicilian: Omu
man in Simple English: Man
man in Slovenian: Moški
man in Serbian: Мушкарац
man in Finnish: Mies
man in Swedish: Man
man in Tagalog: Lalaki
man in Thai: ผู้ชาย
man in Turkish: Erkek (insan)
man in Ukrainian: Чоловік
man in Vlaams: Vint
man in Wu Chinese: 男性
man in Yiddish: מאן
man in Contenese: 男人
man in Chinese: 男性

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Achilles, Adam, Adamite, Australanthropus, Australopithecus, Barbary ape, Casanova, Chiroptera, Cro-Magnon man, David, Don Juan, Galley Hill man, Gigantopithecus, Grimaldi man, Hector, Heidelberg man, Hominidae, Homo sapiens, John Law, Lagomorpha, Lothario, Neanderthal man, Oreopithecus, Paranthropus, Peking man, Pithecanthropus, Plesianthropus, Primates, Rhodesian man, Rodentia, Roland, Romeo, Samson, Sinanthropus, Stone Age man, Swanscombe man, Zinjanthropus, a man, accouter, adherent, adult, amoroso, angwantibo, anthropoid ape, ape, appendage, appoint, arm, armor, armor-plate, aye-aye, baboon, bank, barricade, battle, beau, being, benedict, bishop, blockade, bloke, bluecoat, body, boy, boyfriend, brave, buck, bull, bulldog, bulwark, butler, caballero, capuchin, castellate, castle, cat, cavalier, cavaliere servente, caveman, chacma, chap, character, chauffeur, chessman, chimpanzee, chutzpanik, clay, coachman, cop, cover, creature, crenellate, crew, cuss, customer, dangler, decorated hero, demigod, demigoddess, dependent, dig in, disciple, dress, drill, driver, duck, dummy, earthling, embattle, entellus, entrench, eolithic man, equerry, equip, esquire, fallen humanity, fancy man, fellow, fence, fighting cock, figurehead, fit, fit out, fit up, flame, flatfoot, flesh, flunky, follower, fortify, furnish, fuzz, gallant, galoot, gamecock, gardener, garrison, gear, gee, geezer, generation of man, gent, gentleman, genus Homo, gibbon, gigolo, gillie, good soldier, goodman, goody, goon, gorilla, groundling, grown man, grownup, guenon, guereza, guy, hand, hanger-on, hanuman, he, head, heat, heel, heeler, henchman, hero, heroine, him, his, hombre, hominid, homme, homo, houseboy, houseman, hubby, human, human being, human family, human nature, human race, human species, humanity, humankind, husband, inamorato, individual, jackal, joker, king, knight, lackey, lady-killer, langur, le genre humain, legalis homo, lemur, life, lion, living soul, lord, lord-in-waiting, love-maker, macaque, major, male, male being, male person, male sex, man of courage, man the garrison, mandrill, manhood, mankind, manservant, marmoset, married man, masculine, master, mature man, men, menfolk, menfolks, mine, minion, mister, mortal, mortal flesh, mortality, mortals, mountain gorilla, munition, myrmidon, necker, neolithic man, no chicken, nose, officer, old man, one, orang, orangutan, outfit, paladin, palisade, paramour, party, pawn, people, person, personage, personality, petter, philanderer, piece, pig, prepare, proboscis monkey, puppet, queen, race of man, retainer, rhesus, rig, rig out, rig up, rook, saki, satellite, seducer, servant, shadow, sheik, single, skate, snap, somebody, someone, soul, squire, staff, stalwart, stooge, sugar daddy, swain, sword side, sycophant, tagtail, tellurian, terran, the brave, thug, tiger, turn out, valet, valet de chambre, valiant, valiant knight, votary, wall, ward heeler, woman, worldling, young manAmerican Indian, Amerind, Australian aborigine, Bushman, Caucasian, Indian, Malayan, Mister Charley, Mongolian, Negrillo, Negrito, Negro, Oriental, Red Indian, WASP, black, black man, blackfellow, boy, brown man, burrhead, colored person, coon, darky, gook, honky, jigaboo, jungle bunny, nigger, niggra, ofay, paleface, pygmy, red man, redskin, slant-eye, spade, the Man, white, white man, whitey, yellow man
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