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’
    • ‘Holland also has developed a means of measuring each sales rep's forecasting prowess.’
    • ‘Instruments can become indirect means of communication for autistic children.’
    • ‘I would say half of an hour, but without a means of measuring time with me, I couldn't be sure.’
    • ‘One effective means of improving the process is to request more than one reference.’
    • ‘Having a series of plant analysis results provides a means of evaluating these influences.’
    • ‘Thorough cleaning of all equipment from planting to delivery is one of the most important means of achieving this.’
    • ‘On that basis, buying back shares is just a means by which a company can distribute cash to its shareholders.’
    • ‘He is guilty of committing various immoral acts as a means of achieving power and importance.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, following the announcement of the results the organizer cut every means of communication!’
    • ‘He took up the bass as a means of channeling his madcap intensity.’
    • ‘He offered to advise them about means of gaining assistance under the social welfare system.’
    • ‘When the objective is recognized, a wide variety of well known techniques may be used as transitional or enduring means of achieving it.’
    • ‘And, it is stressed, it is far from the only means of achieving business objectives.’
    • ‘The method provides a means of identifying and describing the ways the viewers fill the gaps in the text.’
    • ‘He goes on to advise an effective means of achieving this goal.’
    • ‘Its successor, the United Nations, also seeks to persuade member nations to solve their difference by peaceful means.’
    • ‘Arts programs are one means of achieving that goal.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Manure management is the most effective means for fly control.’
    • ‘To me it was just another medium, a means of transmitting things.’
    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’
    • ‘That way you will have the financial means whatever bill comes your way!’
    • ‘She has also received computers and 14 computer training facilities for families without the means.’
    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’
      • ‘First of all they are going to help you set up a budget so you live within your means.’
      • ‘Another important factor in playing the lottery is to play within your means.’
      • ‘Without any insurance, the emergency room fee was far beyond her means.’
      • ‘‘I live within my means,’ she says with a quiet laugh.’
      • ‘Why can't people learn to live within their means?’
      • ‘Live within your means, they say, we can't bail you out forever.’
      • ‘And don't forget, you must live within your means and stay away from credit-card debt.’
      • ‘They live rather well within their means, evidently.’
      • ‘It's not always about living beyond your means.’
      • ‘We're living within our means, rather than borrowing against the future.’
  • by all means

    • Of course; certainly (granting a permission)

      ‘‘May I make a suggestion?’ ‘By all means.’’
      • ‘If you think you know of one who might be interested, then by all means, please tell me.’
      • ‘If this is something that interests you, then by all means go for it.’
      • ‘Telephone, have a talk by all means but exclude me from arrangements.’
      • ‘If you have never seen this movie, by all means rent this disc.’
      • ‘But by all means, do play the game as it is quite addictive and takes an innovative approach to commanding your team members.’
      • ‘If writing is not your forte, by all means, have it done for you.’
      • ‘If you have any thoughts about this, by all means, start a discussion thread, and let us know.’
      • ‘If it sounds like your sort of thing, then, by all means, check it out.’
      • ‘Although, if you don't mind paying a little more, by all means, pick it up.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The graphics are good and clean, but they are not stunning by any means.’
      • ‘It wasn't glamorous by any means, but it was all so new and exciting to me.’
      • ‘The film doesn't purport to be a documentary by any means.’
      • ‘It is not a well thought out performance by any means.’
      • ‘We have not proven that by any means, and it is not a trivial assumption.’
      • ‘He didn't drive slowly by any means, but he didn't try to impress people with his horsepower.’
      • ‘Indonesian trade with Australia is convenient, but not critical by any means.’
      • ‘Watering the garden plants is not an easy job, by any means.’
  • by means of

    • With the help of; by using.

      ‘supplying water to cities by means of aqueducts’
      • ‘Man had learned to irrigate the land by means of canals and ditches, and had mastered the arts of agriculture.’
      • ‘He cautiously went inside by means of a small side door.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Withdrawal of cash is further effected by means of encoded plastic cards utilized at computer terminals.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The places of ascent or descent are reached by means of stairways.’
      • ‘At their tops, these vertical elements were joined to horizontal ones by means of brass couplings.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
      • ‘That is by no means an accurate statement, but it has a grain of truth.’
      • ‘She may now have become a thief, but she was by no means ready to become a murderer.’
      • ‘Although the sums paid are by no means small, they are a far cry from what the jet set pay across the water.’
      • ‘I saw it last week, and enjoyed it, but it's by no means even close to being the best film of 2002.’
      • ‘These are by no means mutually exclusive categories and many analyses will fall into both categories.’
      • ‘This is by no means merely a technology issue and the jury is still out.’
      • ‘Although this room is by no means small, a large wall mirror creates the illusion of even greater space.’
      • ‘Katherine laughed with her, but she was by no means as confident as Carrie.’
      • ‘What is going on is by no means clear to Christian, and he is increasingly anxious.’
      • ‘It was by no means a foregone conclusion that the UK would get involved.’
      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.’
      • ‘We view our technology as a means to an end, and the end is always to deliver business value.’
      • ‘It's a means to an end, and I have to go to practice.’
      • ‘Grants are a means to an end, and allow a faculty member to hire students or technicians and conduct research.’
      • ‘Money is only a means to an end - it is fuel for my projects.’
      • ‘But remember that they are just a means to an end.’
      • ‘‘I don't think much of gaming,’ says Morgan, ‘but it was a means to an end.’’
      • ‘‘It's a means to an end,’ she said as she turned a corner around the stairs.’
      • ‘Small talk is all about social connection; the content is a means to an end.’
      • ‘However, it must be used as a means to an end and not the end itself.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

means

/miːnz/