c. 1300, meninge, "sense, that which is intended to be expressed," also "act of remembering" (a sense now obsolete), verbal noun from mean (v.). Sense of "significance, import" is from 1680s.
1580s, "poorly, in an indifferent manner or condition;" 1590s, "in a low or humble degree, in a low rank in life;" c. 1600, "sordidly," later "illiberally;" from mean (adj.1) in its various later senses + -ly (2). Middle English had menelich "humbly, poorly;" Old English gemænelice "commonly, generally."
also mean time, mid-14c., mene-time, "interim, interval between one specified time and another" (now only in in the mean time), from mean (adj.2) "middle, intermediate" + time (n.). Late 14c. as an adverb, "during the interval (between one specified time and another)." As a noun, properly written as two words but commonly as one, after the adverb. In the mean space "meanwhile" was in use 16c.-18c.
in architecture, "a vertical column between the lights of a window or screen," 1560s, metathesis of Middle English moyniel (early 14c.), from Anglo-French moinel, noun use of moienel (adj.) "middle," from Old French meien "intermediate, mean" (see mean (adj.)). Related: Mullioned.
"course of action," late 14c., from mean (n.); sense of "wealth, resources at one's disposal for accomplishing some object" is recorded by c. 1600. Compare French moyens, German Mittel. Phrase by no means is attested from late 15c. Man of means is from 1620s. Means-test "official inquiry into the private resources of an applicant for public funds" is from 1930.