1 n-count A means of doing something is a method, instrument, or process which can be used to do it. Means is both the singular and the plural form for this use.
The move is a means to fight crime..., The army had perfected the use of terror as a means of controlling the population..., Business managers are focused on increasing their personal wealth by any available means.
2 n-plural You can refer to the money that someone has as their means.
FORMAL ...a person of means..., He did not have the means to compensate her.
3 If someone is living beyond their means, they are spending more money than they can afford. If someone is living within their means, they are not spending more money than they can afford.
beyond one's means phrase v PHR, v-link PHR
The more gifts she received, the more she craved, until he was living beyond his means...
4 If you do something by means of a particular method, instrument, or process, you do it using that method, instrument, or process.
by means of prep-phrase
This is a two year course taught by means of lectures and seminars...
5 You can say `by all means' to tell someone that you are very willing to allow them to do something.
by all means convention
`Can I come and have a look at your house?'—`Yes by all means'.
6 You use expressions such as `by no means', `not by any means', and `by no manner of means' to emphasize that something is not true.
by no means/not by any means/by no manner of means phrase PHR with cl/group, PHR before v (emphasis)
This is by no means out of the ordinary..., They were not finished, however, not by any means.
7 If you say that something is a means to an end, you mean that it helps you to achieve what you want, although it may not be enjoyable or important itself.
a means to an end phrase usu v-link PHR We seem to have lost sight of the fact that marketing is only a means to an end.
means test ( means tests plural ) A means test is a test in which your income is calculated in order to decide whether you qualify for a grant or benefit from the state. n-count usu sing
A grant or benefit that is means-tested varies in amount depending on a means test. adj