Definition of means in English:


Syllabification: means
Pronunciation: /mēnz


  • 1 [usually treated as singular] (often means of something or means to do something) An action or system by which a result is brought about; a method: these pledges are a means to avoid prosecution 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, technique, expedient, agency, medium, instrument, channel, vehicle, avenue, course, process, procedure


beyond (or within) one's means

Beyond (or within) one’s budget or income: the government is living beyond its 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.
of course, certainly, definitely, surely, absolutely, with pleasure
informal sure thing

by any means

(or by any manner of means)
(Following a 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 or agency of: 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; as a result of, by dint of, by way of, by virtue of

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
informal no way

a means to an end

A thing that is not valued or important in itself but is useful in achieving an aim: a computer is merely 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'.

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