SKIP TO CONTENT

means

Someone who has wealth beyond the average person is said to be a person of means. Means can also mean the way something happens. You should try to resolve your fight with your brother through peaceful means––noogies are so undignified.

The expression "the end justifies the means" is an example of this usage — basically, you are saying that even if the method used to get the result was bad, the result was good enough to make it okay. The tools needed to do something can also be called the means. You don't have the means to make an art project if you need paint and feathers and you have neither.

Definitions of means
  1. noun
    how a result is obtained or an end is achieved
    “a means of control”
    synonyms: agency, way
    see moresee less
    types:
    show 18 types...
    hide 18 types...
    dint
    interchangeable with `means' in the expression `by means of'
    escape
    a means or way of escaping
    fast track
    a rapid means of achieving a goal
    instrument, tool
    the means whereby some act is accomplished
    road
    a way or means to achieve something
    stepping stone
    any means of advancement
    expedient
    a means to an end; not necessarily a principled or ethical one
    desperate measure
    desperate actions taken as a means to an end
    open sesame
    any very successful means of achieving a result
    salvation
    a means of preserving from harm or unpleasantness
    tooth
    a means of enforcement
    voice
    a means or agency by which something is expressed or communicated
    wings
    a means of flight or ascent
    royal road
    an auspicious way or means to achieve something
    make-do, makeshift, stopgap
    something contrived to meet an urgent need or emergency
    crutch
    anything that serves as an expedient
    improvisation, temporary expedient
    an unplanned expedient
    last resort, pis aller
    an expedient adopted only in desperation
    type of:
    effectuation, implementation
    the act of implementing (providing a practical means for accomplishing something); carrying into effect
  2. noun
    an instrumentality for accomplishing some end
    see moresee less
    type of:
    instrumentality, instrumentation
    an artifact (or system of artifacts) that is instrumental in accomplishing some end
  3. noun
    considerable capital (wealth or income)
    “he is a man of means
    synonyms: substance
    see moresee less
    types:
    pocketbook
    your personal financial means
    wherewithal
    the necessary means (especially financial means)
    type of:
    capital
    wealth in the form of money or property owned by a person or business and human resources of economic value
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week