Definition of means in English:

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Pronunciation: /miːnz/

plural noun

1 [treated as singular or plural] (often means of/to do something) 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
More example sentences
  • When the objective is recognized, a wide variety of well known techniques may be used as transitional or enduring means of achieving it.
  • The method provides a means of identifying and describing the ways the viewers fill the gaps in the text.
  • Having a series of plant analysis results provides a means of evaluating these influences.
method, way, manner, mode, measure, fashion, process, procedure, technique, expedient, agency, medium, instrument, mechanism, channel, vehicle, avenue, course
2Financial resources; income: a woman of modest but independent means
More example sentences
  • 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
informal dough, bread, dibs, moolah, shekels, gelt, loot, oof, scratch, splosh
British informal dosh, brass, lolly, spondulicks, wonga, ackers
North American informal dineros, jack, mazuma
Australian/New Zealand informal Oscar
2.1Substantial resources; wealth: a man of means
More example sentences
  • You have had the means under your control for quite some time now.
wealth, riches, affluence, substance, fortune, property, money, capital, deep pockets



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
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.’
More example sentences
  • If writing is not your forte, by all means, have it done for you.
  • Telephone, have a talk by all means but exclude me from arrangements.
  • If it sounds like your sort of thing, then, by all means, check it out.
certainly, indeed, of course, definitely, without (a) doubt, without question, unquestionably;
of course, certainly, definitely, surely, absolutely, naturally, with pleasure, assuredly
North American informal sure thing

by any means

[with negative] In any way; at all: I’m not poor by any means
More example sentences
  • The film doesn't purport to be a documentary by any means.
  • The graphics are good and clean, but they are not stunning by any means.
  • This is not essential by any means, but it can help in certain projects.

by means of

With the help of; by using: supplying water to cities by means of aqueducts
More example sentences
  • Organizations exist by means of and as a result of these interactions.
  • 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.
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

by no means

(or by no manner of means)
Not at all; certainly not: the outcome is by no means guaranteed
More example sentences
  • I saw it last week, and enjoyed it, but it's by no means even close to being the best film of 2002.
  • Although this room is by no means small, a large wall mirror creates the illusion of even greater space.
  • These are by no means mutually exclusive categories and many analyses will fall into both categories.
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;
British  not by a long chalk
informal no way

means of grace

Christian Theology 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
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • ‘I don't think much of gaming,’ says Morgan, ‘but it was a means to an end.’


Late Middle English: plural of mean3, the early sense being 'intermediary'.

Words that rhyme with means

Jeans, Queens, smithereens

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: means

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