Definition 2022




Alternative forms

  • mayne, mayné, meiny, meynee, meynie


meinie (plural meinies)

  1. (now rare, Scotland, Ireland) A household, or family.
    • 1485, Thomas Malory, Le Morte Darthur, Book X:
      whan they in the castell wyste how Sir Palomydes had sped, there was a joyfull mayné.
  2. (archaic or historical) A retinue.
    • c.1390, Geoffrey Chaucer, The Manciple's Prologue and Tale, in The Canterbury Tales:
      That, for the tirant is of gretter myght, / By force of meynee, for to sleen dounright, / And brennen hous and hoom, and make al playn, / Lo, therfore is he cleped a capitayn; / And for the outlawe hath but smal meynee, / And may nat doon so greet an harm as he, / Ne brynge a contree to so greet mescheef, / Men clepen hym an outlawe or a theef.
    • 1965, Jack Robert Lander, The Wars of the Roses,
      And in the evening they went with their simple captain to his lodging; but a certain of his simple and rude meinie abode there all the night [...].
  3. (now Scotland) A crowd of people; a rabble.
    • 1608, William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Coriolanus:
      For the mutable ranke-sented Meynie, / Let them regard me, as I doe not flatter, / And therein behold themselues [...].