From Middle English bemenen, equivalent to be- + mean (“to signify”). Compare Middle High German bemeinen (“to mean”).
bemean (third-person singular simple present bemeans, present participle bemeaning, simple past and past participle bemeant)
- (transitive, obsolete) To mean; signify; inform.
From be- + mean (“base, lowly”), from Middle English mene, aphetic variation of Middle English imene (“average, lowly, mean”), from Old English ġemǣne (“mean, common, average”). More at mean.
bemean (third-person singular simple present bemeans, present participle bemeaning, simple past and past participle bemeaned)
- To make mean or base, demean.
1973, Alfred Bertram Guthrie, Wild Pitch (Fiction), G. K. Hall, →ISBN, page 85:
I fished carefully, used wet flies and dry, all that I had in my book, and even bemeaned myself by baiting a plain hook with a grasshopper.
- Usually used reflexively, as in "to bemean oneself".