by any means
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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.
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).
a. Hard to cope with; difficult or troublesome: He throws a mean fast ball.
b. Excellent; skillful: She plays a mean game of bridge.
1. Something having a position, quality, or condition midway between extremes; a medium.
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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.