Not all those who wander are lost.

Kiwi Word of the Day #12 – Mean

Mean – Kiwi slang for something good

A lot of the Kiwi Slang is pretty easy to pick up just based on context; while the Kiwi use of “mean” was pretty intuitive, I found it extremely difficult to explain to my non-native English speaking boyfriend who had grown accustomed to me saying “Nice!”  Though Eugenio’s Italian-English dictionary told him that “nice” and “mean” are opposites, little did he know that they’re synonyms when used as slang.

Yes, that’s correct – “Mean!” to a Kiwi is like “Nice!” to an American. It’s a positive adjective used to mean cool, awesome, or fan-freaking-tastic.  And just like our tendency to draw out the vowel to add emphasis (niiiiiiiiice), Kiwis also lengthen the word to convey their level of enthusiasm – “meeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaan!”

So just a heads up to friends and family back in the States, when you hear Eugenio say “Mean” what he really means is “Nice.”

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