From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishmeansmeans /miːnz/ ●●○ S3 W2 noun (plural means) 1 method [countable]WAY/METHOD a way of doing or achieving somethingmeans of For most people, the car is still their main means of transport. The only means of communication was sign language. The window was our only means of escape. Do you have any means of identification? art as a means of expression Homework should not be used as a means of controlling children. I had no means of telling him I would be late. Brian was prepared to use any means to get what he wanted. They had entered the country by unlawful means. the means by which performance is assessed► see thesaurus at method2 money [plural]BEWMONEY the money or income that you havehave the means to do something I don’t have the means to support a family. Paying for your children to go to a private school is beyond the means of most people (=too expensive for most people). Try to live within your means (=only spending what you can afford). His father was a man of means (=a rich man).3 → by all means!4 → by no means/not by any means5 → by means of something6 → a means to an end7 → the means of production → ways and means at way1(1)COLLOCATIONSadjectivesan effective/efficient meansSpeed bumps are an effective means of stopping cars from going too fast.a useful meansLocal radio is a useful means of advertising.the only meansThen, horses and carts were the only means of transport available.the best meansIs this really the best means of achieving our goal?an important meansSurveys are an important means of gathering information.lawful/legal meansTheir protests will continue, but only by legal means.unlawful/illegal meansHe was accused of attempting to overthrow the government using unlawful means.unfair meansAnyone trying to use unfair means in an examination will be reported to the University.phrasesa means of transport British English, a means of transportation American English (=a way of travelling, for example using a car, bus, bicycle etc)The tram is an efficient means of transport.a means of communication (=a way of talking to someone, for example by phone, writing etc)Newspapers are still an important means of communication.a means of expression (=a way of expressing your feelings or opinions)Music and art are important means of expression.a means of identification (=an official document that shows who you are)Do you have any means of identification?the means of production (=factories and equipment used for producing goods – used especially in Marxism)the class of people which owns the means of production the end justifies the means (=the result you achieve is more important than the way you do it)It’s too bad if people get hurt - the end justifies the means.a means to an end (=something you do only to achieve a result, not because you want to do it or because it is important)Many of the students saw the course as a means to an end: a way of getting a good job.(whether) by fair means or foul (=using unfair methods if necessary)They were determined to achieve victory, by fair means or foul.verbshave no/any/some means of doing somethingThere was no path, and they had no means of knowing where they were.use any/every means to do something (=use any method or many methods)He will use any means to get what he wants.
Examples from the Corpusmeans• The operation of rental and freehold land markets is compared to inheritance as a means of access to land.• You should not regard the course simply as a means to an end.• The lord lieutenancy was originally devised by the Tudors as a means of internal security.• If a customer inquires about a better interest rate or a tax deferral plan, by all means make a referral.• He came to power by means of a military coup in 1960.• Education and training are the most effective means of improving the nation's economy.• She was required to pay a $500 fee, which appeared to be within her means.• E-mail has become an increasingly important means of business communication.• Many tropical countries welcome people of independent means as long-term residents.• The Council is introducing means tests for housing tenants.• The best choice for elderly people with limited means is index-linked certificates.• A university professor who used his modest means to collect over 300 valuable artworks has donated them to the National Gallery.• I think private schooling would be well beyond our means.• We aim to use peaceful means to bring about change.• He's given up his lecturing job, but he does have private means.• One of the simplest means is to buy a tally counter.• He had the means to pay, but he refused on principle.• The judge ruled that Smith had been elected by unlawful means.by unlawful means• The other forms of the tort require interference by unlawful means.man of means• He is clearly a man of means, Holmes: not only is the suit expensive, but the shoes also.• On such journeys men of means and their families wanted for nothing.