Definition of means in English:

means

plural noun

  • 1often means of/to do somethingtreated as singular or plural An action or system by which a result is achieved; a method.

    ‘technology seen as a means to bring about emancipation’
    ‘resolving disputes by peaceful means’
    • ‘Thorough cleaning of all equipment from planting to delivery is one of the most important means of achieving this.’
    • ‘To me it was just another medium, a means of transmitting things.’
    • ‘Its successor, the United Nations, also seeks to persuade member nations to solve their difference by peaceful means.’
    • ‘I would say half of an hour, but without a means of measuring time with me, I couldn't be sure.’
    • ‘The method provides a means of identifying and describing the ways the viewers fill the gaps in the text.’
    • ‘He offered to advise them about means of gaining assistance under the social welfare system.’
    • ‘He is guilty of committing various immoral acts as a means of achieving power and importance.’
    • ‘He took up the bass as a means of channeling his madcap intensity.’
    • ‘On that basis, buying back shares is just a means by which a company can distribute cash to its shareholders.’
    • ‘Holland also has developed a means of measuring each sales rep's forecasting prowess.’
    • ‘One effective means of improving the process is to request more than one reference.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, following the announcement of the results the organizer cut every means of communication!’
    • ‘We are in the process of implementing new means of processing credit cards, a move that will result in both time and money savings for the association.’
    • ‘He goes on to advise an effective means of achieving this goal.’
    • ‘And, it is stressed, it is far from the only means of achieving business objectives.’
    • ‘Having a series of plant analysis results provides a means of evaluating these influences.’
    • ‘Manure management is the most effective means for fly control.’
    • ‘When the objective is recognized, a wide variety of well known techniques may be used as transitional or enduring means of achieving it.’
    • ‘Instruments can become indirect means of communication for autistic children.’
    • ‘Arts programs are one means of achieving that goal.’
    method, way, manner, mode, measure, fashion, process, procedure, technique, expedient, agency, medium, instrument, mechanism, channel, vehicle, avenue, course
    View synonyms
  • 2Financial resources; income.

    ‘a woman of modest but independent means’
    • ‘She has also received computers and 14 computer training facilities for families without the means.’
    • ‘That way you will have the financial means whatever bill comes your way!’
    money, resources, capital, income, finance, funds, cash, the wherewithal, assets
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Substantial resources; wealth.
      ‘a man of means’
      • ‘You have had the means under your control for quite some time now.’
      wealth, riches, affluence, substance, fortune, property, money, capital, deep pockets
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2 Resources; capability.
      ‘every country in the world has the means to make ethanol’
      • ‘I highly recommend tracking it down if you have the means.’
      • ‘Of course, American monetary and financial officials will continue to use every means at its disposal to thwart any such crash dynamics.’

Phrases

  • beyond (or within) one's means

    • Beyond (or within) one's budget or income.

      ‘the government is living beyond its means’
      ‘a flat that was within her means’
      • ‘Another important factor in playing the lottery is to play within your means.’
      • ‘We're living within our means, rather than borrowing against the future.’
      • ‘They live rather well within their means, evidently.’
      • ‘And don't forget, you must live within your means and stay away from credit-card debt.’
      • ‘First of all they are going to help you set up a budget so you live within your means.’
      • ‘Without any insurance, the emergency room fee was far beyond her means.’
      • ‘It's not always about living beyond your means.’
      • ‘Why can't people learn to live within their means?’
      • ‘‘I live within my means,’ she says with a quiet laugh.’
      • ‘Live within your means, they say, we can't bail you out forever.’
  • by all means

    • Of course; certainly (granting a permission)

      ‘‘May I make a suggestion?’ ‘By all means.’’
      • ‘If this is something that interests you, then by all means go for it.’
      • ‘If you have never seen this movie, by all means rent this disc.’
      • ‘Although, if you don't mind paying a little more, by all means, pick it up.’
      • ‘Telephone, have a talk by all means but exclude me from arrangements.’
      • ‘If writing is not your forte, by all means, have it done for you.’
      • ‘If it sounds like your sort of thing, then, by all means, check it out.’
      • ‘I am not against this practice, and if you think it will help you, by all means, write your goals down and hang them up.’
      • ‘If you have any thoughts about this, by all means, start a discussion thread, and let us know.’
      • ‘But by all means, do play the game as it is quite addictive and takes an innovative approach to commanding your team members.’
      • ‘If you think you know of one who might be interested, then by all means, please tell me.’
      certainly, indeed, of course, definitely, without doubt, without a doubt, without question, unquestionably
      of course, certainly, definitely, surely, absolutely, naturally, with pleasure, assuredly
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  • by any means

    • with negativeIn any way; at all.

      ‘I'm not poor by any means’
      • ‘Watering the garden plants is not an easy job, by any means.’
      • ‘We have not proven that by any means, and it is not a trivial assumption.’
      • ‘The film doesn't purport to be a documentary by any means.’
      • ‘Indonesian trade with Australia is convenient, but not critical by any means.’
      • ‘The graphics are good and clean, but they are not stunning by any means.’
      • ‘It is not a well thought out performance by any means.’
      • ‘It wasn't glamorous by any means, but it was all so new and exciting to me.’
      • ‘This is not essential by any means, but it can help in certain projects.’
      • ‘Don't get me wrong, they aren't terrible by any means but are just not overly impressive.’
      • ‘He didn't drive slowly by any means, but he didn't try to impress people with his horsepower.’
  • by means of

    • With the help of; by using.

      ‘supplying water to cities by means of aqueducts’
      • ‘At their tops, these vertical elements were joined to horizontal ones by means of brass couplings.’
      • ‘He sought to depict the inner reality of objects by means of meticulous physical observations.’
      • ‘As planned, I left the town by means of the Jeep just at the crack of dawn.’
      • ‘Man had learned to irrigate the land by means of canals and ditches, and had mastered the arts of agriculture.’
      • ‘The wall and roof glazing is suspended under the external steel structure by means of point fixings.’
      • ‘Organizations exist by means of and as a result of these interactions.’
      • ‘He cautiously went inside by means of a small side door.’
      • ‘Withdrawal of cash is further effected by means of encoded plastic cards utilized at computer terminals.’
      • ‘The farmhouse is connected at right angles to the restaurant by means of a large utility room which then leads on to a full catering kitchen.’
      • ‘The places of ascent or descent are reached by means of stairways.’
      using, utilizing, employing, through, with the help of, with the aid of, as a result of, by dint of, by way of, by virtue of, via
      View synonyms
  • by no means

    • Not at all; certainly not.

      ‘the outcome is by no means guaranteed’
      • ‘I saw it last week, and enjoyed it, but it's by no means even close to being the best film of 2002.’
      • ‘Katherine laughed with her, but she was by no means as confident as Carrie.’
      • ‘It was by no means a foregone conclusion that the UK would get involved.’
      • ‘That is by no means an accurate statement, but it has a grain of truth.’
      • ‘These are by no means mutually exclusive categories and many analyses will fall into both categories.’
      • ‘Although the sums paid are by no means small, they are a far cry from what the jet set pay across the water.’
      • ‘Although this room is by no means small, a large wall mirror creates the illusion of even greater space.’
      • ‘What is going on is by no means clear to Christian, and he is increasingly anxious.’
      • ‘She may now have become a thief, but she was by no means ready to become a murderer.’
      • ‘This is by no means merely a technology issue and the jury is still out.’
      not at all, in no way, not in the least, not in the slightest, not the least bit, not by a long shot, certainly not, absolutely not, definitely not, on no account, under no circumstances
      View synonyms
  • means of grace

    • The sacraments and other religious agencies viewed as the means by which divine grace is imparted to the soul, or by which growth in grace is promoted.

  • a means to an end

    • A thing that is not valued or important in itself but is useful in achieving an aim.

      ‘higher education was seen primarily as a means to an end’
      • ‘So advertising is only a means to an end - if an alternative method existed to increase the reputation of the product, it would also serve the seller's purpose.’
      • ‘‘It's a means to an end,’ she said as she turned a corner around the stairs.’
      • ‘‘I don't think much of gaming,’ says Morgan, ‘but it was a means to an end.’’
      • ‘Small talk is all about social connection; the content is a means to an end.’
      • ‘It's a means to an end, and I have to go to practice.’
      • ‘But remember that they are just a means to an end.’
      • ‘Grants are a means to an end, and allow a faculty member to hire students or technicians and conduct research.’
      • ‘We view our technology as a means to an end, and the end is always to deliver business value.’
      • ‘However, it must be used as a means to an end and not the end itself.’
      • ‘Money is only a means to an end - it is fuel for my projects.’

Origin

Late Middle English: plural of mean, the early sense being ‘intermediary’.

Pronunciation

means

/miːnz/