Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Idioms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to means: means test, Means to an End

mean 1

v. meant (mĕnt), mean·ing, means
a. To be used to convey; denote: "'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things'" (Lewis Carroll).
b. To act as a symbol of; signify or represent: In this poem, the budding flower means youth.
2. To intend to convey or indicate: "No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous" (Henry Adams).
3. To have as a purpose or an intention; intend: I meant to go running this morning, but I overslept.
4. To design, intend, or destine for a certain purpose or end: a building that was meant for storage; a student who was meant to be a scientist.
5. To have as a consequence; bring about: Friction means heat.
6. To have the importance or value of: The opinions of the critics meant nothing to him. She meant so much to me.
To have intentions of a specified kind; be disposed: They mean well but lack tact.
mean business Informal
To be in earnest.

[Middle English menen, from Old English mǣnan, to tell of; see mei-no- in Indo-European roots.]

mean 2

adj. mean·er, mean·est
a. Lacking in kindness; unkind: The teacher was not being mean in asking you to be quiet.
b. Cruel, spiteful, or malicious: a mean boy who liked to make fun of others.
c. Expressing spite or malice: gave me a mean look.
d. Tending toward or characterized by cruelty or violence: mean streets.
e. Extremely unpleasant or disagreeable: the meanest storm in years.
2. Ignoble; base: a mean motive. See Synonyms at base2.
3. Miserly; stingy: mean with money.
a. Low in value, rank, or social status: "I preferred the condition of the meanest reptile to my own" (Frederick Douglass).
b. Common or poor in appearance; shabby: "The rowhouses had been darkened by the rain and looked meaner and grimmer than ever" (Anne Tyler).
5. Slang
a. Hard to cope with; difficult or troublesome: He throws a mean fast ball.
b. Excellent; skillful: She plays a mean game of bridge.

[Middle English, from Old English gemǣne, common; see mei- in Indo-European roots.]

mean′ness n.

mean 3

1. Something having a position, quality, or condition midway between extremes; a medium.
2. Mathematics
a. A number that typifies a set of numbers, such as a geometric mean or an arithmetic mean.
b. The average value of a set of numbers.
3. Logic The middle term in a syllogism.
4. means (used with a sing. or pl. verb) A method, a course of action, or an instrument by which an act can be accomplished or an end achieved.
5. means (used with a pl. verb)
a. Money, property, or other wealth: You ought to live within your means.
b. Great wealth: a woman of means.
1. Occupying a middle or intermediate position between two extremes.
2. Intermediate in size, extent, quality, time, or degree; medium.
by all means
Without fail; certainly.
by any means
In any way possible; to any extent: not by any means an easy opponent.
by means of
With the use of; owing to: They succeeded by means of patience and sacrifice.
by no means
In no sense; certainly not: This remark by no means should be taken lightly.

[Middle English mene, middle, from Old French meien, from Latin mediānus, from medius; see medhyo- in Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: In the sense of "financial resources" means takes a plural verb: His means are more than adequate. In the sense of "a way to an end," means may be treated as a singular or plural. It is singular when referring to a particular strategy or method: The best means of securing the cooperation of the builders is to appeal to their self-interest. It is plural when it refers to a group of strategies or methods: The most effective means for dealing with the drug problem have often been those suggested by the affected communities. · Means is most often followed by of: a means of noise reduction. But for, to, and toward are also used: a means for transmitting sound; a means to an end; a means toward achieving equality.


1. (functioning as singular or plural) the medium, method, or instrument used to obtain a result or achieve an end: a means of communication.
2. (functioning as plural) resources or income
3. (functioning as plural) considerable wealth or income: a man of means.
4. by all means without hesitation or doubt; certainly: come with us by all means.
5. by means of with the use or help of
6. by no manner of means definitely not: he was by no manner of means a cruel man.
7. by no means not by any means on no account; in no way: by no means come!.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.means - how a result is obtained or an end is achieved; "a means of control"; "an example is the best agency of instruction"; "the true way to success"
effectuation, implementation - the act of implementing (providing a practical means for accomplishing something); carrying into effect
dint - interchangeable with `means' in the expression `by means of'
escape - a means or way of escaping; "hard work was his escape from worry"; "they installed a second hatch as an escape"; "their escape route"
fast track - a rapid means of achieving a goal; "they saw independence as the fast track to democracy"; "he took a fast track to the top of the corporate ladder"; "the company went off the fast track when the stock market dropped"
instrument, tool - the means whereby some act is accomplished; "my greed was the instrument of my destruction"; "science has given us new tools to fight disease"
road - a way or means to achieve something; "the road to fame"
stepping stone - any means of advancement; "the job was just a stepping stone on his way to fame and riches"
expedient - a means to an end; not necessarily a principled or ethical one
desperate measure - desperate actions taken as a means to an end; "he had to resort to desperate measures"
open sesame - any very successful means of achieving a result
salvation - a means of preserving from harm or unpleasantness; "tourism was their economic salvation"; "they turned to individualism as their salvation"
tooth - a means of enforcement; "the treaty had no teeth in it"
voice - a means or agency by which something is expressed or communicated; "the voice of the law"; "the Times is not the voice of New York"; "conservatism has many voices"
wings - a means of flight or ascent; "necessity lends wings to inspiration"
2.means - an instrumentality for accomplishing some endmeans - an instrumentality for accomplishing some end
instrumentation, instrumentality - an artifact (or system of artifacts) that is instrumental in accomplishing some end
3.means - considerable capital (wealth or income)means - considerable capital (wealth or income); "he is a man of means"
capital - wealth in the form of money or property owned by a person or business and human resources of economic value
pocketbook - your personal financial means; "that car is too expensive for my pocketbook"
wherewithal - the necessary means (especially financial means)


plural noun
1. method, way, course, process, medium, measure, agency, channel, instrument, avenue, mode, expedient We do not have the means to fight such a crimewave.
2. money, funds, capital, property, riches, income, resources, estate, fortune, wealth, substance, affluence, wherewithal, wonga (slang) He did not have the means to compensate her.
by all means certainly, surely, of course, definitely, absolutely, positively, doubtlessly 'Can I come and see your house?' 'Yes, by all means.'
by means of by way of, using, through, via, utilizing, with the aid of, by dint of a course taught by means of lectures and seminars
by no means in no way, no way, not at all, definitely not, not in the least, on no account, not in the slightest, not the least bit, absolutely not This is by no means out of the ordinary.
مَدخولات، إيراداتوَسَائِلُوَسيلَه
fjárráîleiî, aîferî, ráî
līdzeklisnaudas līdzekļiveids
na vsak načinpremoženjes pomočjosredstvo
phương tiện


A. N
1. (with sing vb) (= way) → manera fsing, modo msing; (= method) → medio msing
by any meansde cualquier manera, del modo que sea
not by any meansde ninguna manera or ningún modo
by any means possiblecomo sea/fuera posible, a como dé/diera lugar (CAm, Mex)
there is no means of doing itno hay manera or modo de hacerlo
by some means or otherde alguna manera u otra, de algún modo u otro
by this meansde esta manera, de este modo
a means to an endun medio para conseguir algo or un fin
by means ofpor medio de
it moves by means of a pulley systemse mueve por medio de poleas
means of transportmedio m de transporte
see also fair 1 A1
2. (in phrases)
by all means!¡claro que sí!, ¡por supuesto!
by all means take onepor favor toma uno
"is she a friend of yours?" - "by no means"-¿es amiga suya? -de ninguna manera or ningún modo
they're by no means richno son ricos, ni mucho menos
it is by no means difficultno es nada difícil
by no manner of meansen absoluto
3. (with pl vb) (Fin) → recursos mpl, medios mpl
we haven't the means to do itno contamos con los recursos or los medios para hacerlo
to live beyond one's meansvivir por encima de sus posibilidades, gastar más de lo que se gana
a man of meansun hombre acaudalado
private meansrentas fpl (particulares)
to live within one's meansvivir de acuerdo con sus posibilidades
B. CPD means test Nprueba f de haberes (para determinar si una persona tiene derecho a determinada prestación)
see also means-test


(= way) → moyen m
He'll do it by any possible means → Il le fera par tous les moyens.
a means of doing sth → un moyen de faire qch
a means of storing electricity → un moyen d'emmagasiner l'électricité
a means to do sth → un moyen de faire qch
a means to fight crime → un moyen de combattre la criminalité
to be a means to an end → être un moyen de parvenir à ses fins
by means of → au moyen de
He got in by means of a stolen key → Il est entré au moyen d'une clé volée. means of transport
by all means (= of course) → mais certainement
"Can I come?" - "By all means!" → "Est-ce que je peux venir?" - "Mais certainement!"
by no means (= not at all) → nullement, en rien
This is by no means out of the ordinary → Cela n'est nullement extraordinaire., Cela ne sort en rien de l'ordinaire.
npl (= wealth) → moyens mpl
It's available to everyone, regardless of means → C'est accessible à tout le monde, quels que soient ses moyens.
to live beyond one's means → vivre au-dessus de ses moyens
to live within one's means → vivre selon ses moyens means test, means-testmeans of transport nmoyen m de transportmean-spirited [ˌmiːnˈspɪrɪtɪd] adjmesquin(e)means test ncontrôle m des conditions de ressourcesmeans-test [ˈmiːnztɛst] vt
to means-test sb → examiner les ressources de qn (avant d'accorder certaines prestations sociales)


sing (= method)Möglichkeit f; (= instrument)Mittel nt; a means of transportein Beförderungsmittel nt; a means of escapeeine Fluchtmöglichkeit; a means to an endein Mittel ntzum Zweck; I have/there is no means of doing ites ist mir/es ist unmöglich, das zu tun; is there any means of doing it?ist es irgendwie möglich, das zu tun?; there must be a means of doing ites muss doch irgendwie or auf irgendeine Art zu machen sein; we’ve no means of knowingwir können nicht wissen; he was the means of sending itman ließ es durch ihn überbringen; they used him as the means of getting the heroin across the bordersie benutzten ihn, um das Heroin über die Grenze zu bringen; all known means have been triedman hat alles Mögliche versucht; by means of somethingdurch etw, mittels einer Sache (gen) (form); by means of doing somethingdadurch, dass man etw tut; by this meansdadurch, auf diese Weise; by some means or otherauf irgendeine Art und Weise, irgendwie
sing by all means!(aber) selbstverständlich or natürlich!; by all means take onenehmen Sie sich ruhig (eins); by no means, not by any meanskeineswegs, durchaus nicht; (= under no circumstances)auf keinen Fall
pl (= wherewithal)Mittel pl; (= financial means)Gelder pl, → Mittel pl; a man of meansein vermögender Mann; private meansprivate Mittel pl; that is within/beyond my meansdas kann ich mir leisten/nicht leisten; to live beyond one’s meansüber seine Verhältnisse leben; to live within one’s meansseinen Verhältnissen entsprechend leben


1. n inv (method or way of doing) → mezzo, modo
to find a means to do or of doing sth → trovare il modo per fare qc
there is no means of doing it → non c'è mezzo or modo di farlo
a means to an end → un modo or mezzo per raggiungere i propri fini
by means of → per mezzo di
by this means → in questo modo, così
by some means or other → in un modo o nell'altro
by all means! → ma certamente!
by no means, not by any means → per niente, niente affatto
by all manner of means → in tutti i modi
2. npl (Fin) → mezzi mpl
private means → rendite fpl
to live within/beyond one's means → vivere secondo i/al di sopra dei propri mezzi


(miːnz) noun singular or plural
the instrument(s), method(s) etc by which a thing is, or may be, done or made to happen. By what means can we find out?
by all means
yes, of course. If you want to use the telephone, by all means do.
by means of
using. We escaped by means of a secret tunnel.
by no means
1. definitely not. `Can I go home now?' `By no means!
2. (also not by any means) not at all. I'm by no means certain to win.


(miːnz) noun plural
money available or necessary for living etc. She's a person of considerable means.
a man of means
a wealthy or rich man.


وَسَائِلُ prostředky middel Mittel τα μέσα medio väline moyens sredstva mezzi 手段 수단 inkomen midler środki meios средства medel วิธี yol phương tiện 财富
References in classic literature ?
That little goose means a centaur, and she called him a Cyclops," exclaimed Jo, with a burst of laughter.
Perhaps after all her smoking means noth- ing," he thought.
Of course if it's true it means a big thing, I can understand that.
If a young man with an idea can once get Jim Burden's attention, can manage to accompany him when he goes off into the wilds hunting for lost parks or exploring new canyons, then the money which means action is usually forthcoming.
She was keeping up her music on account of the children, she said; because she and her husband both considered it a means of brightening the home and making it attractive.
If enemies have reached the portage at all, a thing by no means probable, as our scouts are abroad, they will surely be found skirting the column, where scalps abound the most.
Thus Providence, by the means of this Negro, saved the whole of the poor family from destruction.
He means all right, but he's picked up so much slang here that he's about forgotten how to talk English, and it's nigh on to four years since he's met a young lady.
For instance, the same sound, SIE, means YOU, and it means SHE, and it means HER, and it means IT, and it means THEY, and it means THEM.
Dashwood could penetrate, and at last, without saying a word, quitted the room, and walked out towards the village--leaving the others in the greatest astonishment and perplexity on a change in his situation, so wonderful and so sudden;--a perplexity which they had no means of lessening but by their own conjectures.
But surely love means perfect trust," said Rosalind.
that quantum of the means of subsistence, which is absolutely requisite in bare existence as a labourer.