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mean3

[meen] /min/
noun
1.
Usually, means. (used with a singular or plural verb) an agency, instrument, or method used to attain an end:
The telephone is a means of communication. There are several means of solving the problem.
2.
means.
  1. available resources, especially money:
    They lived beyond their means.
  2. considerable financial resources; riches:
    a man of means.
3.
something that is midway between two extremes; something intermediate:
to seek a mean between cynicism and blind faith.
4.
Mathematics.
  1. a quantity having a value intermediate between the values of other quantities; an average, especially the arithmetic mean.
  2. either the second or third term in a proportion of four terms.
5.
Statistics. expected value.
6.
Logic. the middle term in a syllogism.
adjective
7.
occupying a middle position or an intermediate place, as in kind, quality, degree, or time:
a mean speed; a mean course; the mean annual rainfall.
Idioms
8.
by all means,
  1. (in emphasis) certainly:
    Go, by all means.
  2. at any cost; without fail.
9.
by any means, in any way; at all:
We were not surprised at the news by any means.
10.
by means of, with the help of; by the agency of; through:
We crossed the stream by means of a log.
11.
by no means, in no way; not at all:
The prize is by no means certain.
Origin
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English mene < Middle French meen, variant of meien < Latin mediānus; see median
Can be confused
mean, median.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for by any means

mean1

/miːn/
verb (mainly transitive) means, meaning, meant
1.
(may take a clause as object or an infinitive) to intend to convey or express
2.
(may take a clause as object or an infinitive) intend: she didn't mean to hurt it
3.
(may take a clause as object) to say or do in all seriousness: the boss means what he says about strikes
4.
(often passive) often foll by for. to destine or design (for a certain person or purpose): she was meant for greater things
5.
(may take a clause as object) to denote or connote; signify; represent: examples help show exactly what a word means
6.
(may take a clause as object) to produce; cause: the weather will mean long traffic delays
7.
(may take a clause as object) to foretell; portend: those dark clouds mean rain
8.
to have the importance of: money means nothing to him
9.
(intransitive) to have the intention of behaving or acting (esp in the phrases mean well or mean ill)
10.
mean business, to be in earnest
Usage note
In standard English, mean should not be followed by for when expressing intention: I didn't mean this to happen (not I didn't mean for this to happen)
Word Origin
Old English mænan; compare Old Saxon mēnian to intend, Dutch meenen

mean2

/miːn/
adjective
1.
(mainly Brit) miserly, ungenerous, or petty
2.
humble, obscure, or lowly: he rose from mean origins to high office
3.
despicable, ignoble, or callous: a mean action
4.
poor or shabby: mean clothing, a mean abode
5.
(informal, mainly US & Canadian) bad-tempered; vicious
6.
(informal) ashamed: he felt mean about not letting the children go to the zoo
7.
(informal, mainly US) unwell; in low spirits
8.
(slang) excellent; skilful: he plays a mean trombone
9.
no mean
  1. of high quality: no mean performer
  2. difficult: no mean feat
Derived Forms
meanly, adverb
meanness, noun
Word Origin
C12: from Old English gemǣne common; related to Old High German gimeini, Latin communis common, at first with no pejorative sense

mean3

/miːn/
noun
1.
the middle point, state, or course between limits or extremes
2.
moderation
3.
(maths)
  1. the second and third terms of a proportion, as b and c in a/b = c/d
  2. another name for average (sense 2) See also geometric mean
4.
(statistics) a statistic obtained by multiplying each possible value of a variable by its probability and then taking the sum or integral over the range of the variable
adjective
5.
intermediate or medium in size, quantity, etc
6.
occurring halfway between extremes or limits; average
See also means
Word Origin
C14: via Anglo-Norman from Old French moien, from Late Latin mediānusmedian
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for by any means

mean

v.

"intend, have in mind," Old English mænan "to mean, intend, signify; tell, say; complain, lament," from West Germanic *mainijan (cf. Old Frisian mena "to signify," Old Saxon menian "to intend, signify, make known," Dutch menen, German meinen "think, suppose, be of the opinion"), from PIE *meino- "opinion, intent" (cf. Old Church Slavonic meniti "to think, have an opinion," Old Irish mian "wish, desire," Welsh mwyn "enjoyment"), perhaps from root *men- "think" (see mind (n.)). Conversational question you know what I mean? attested by 1834.

"calculate an arithemtical mean," 1882, from mean (n.).

adj.

"low-quality," c.1200, "shared by all," from imene, from Old English gemæne "common, public, general, universal, shared by all," from Proto-Germanic *ga-mainiz "possessed jointly" (cf. Old Frisian mene, Old Saxon gimeni, Middle Low German gemeine, Middle Dutch gemene, Dutch gemeen, German gemein, Gothic gamains "common"), from PIE *ko-moin-i- "held in common," a compound adjective formed from collective prefix *ko- "together" (Proto-Germanic *ga-) + *moi-n-, suffixed form of PIE root *mei- "to change, exchange" (see mutable). Cf. second element in common (adj.), a word with a sense evolution parallel to that of this word.

Of things, "inferior, second-rate," from late 14c. (a secondary sense in Old English was "false, wicked"). Notion of "so-so, mediocre" led to confusion with mean (n.). Meaning "inferior in rank or status" (of persons) emerged early 14c.; that of "ordinary" from late 14c.; that of "stingy, nasty" first recorded 1660s; weaker sense of "disobliging, pettily offensive" is from 1839, originally American English slang. Inverted sense of "remarkably good" (i.e. plays a mean saxophone) first recorded c.1900, perhaps from phrase no mean _______ "not inferior" (1590s, also, "not average," reflecting further confusion with mean (n.)).

"occupying a middle or intermediate place," mid-14c., from Anglo-French meines (plural), Old French meien, variant of moiien "mid-, medium, common, middle-class" (12c., Modern French moyen), from Late Latin medianus "of the middle," from Latin medius "in the middle" (see medial (adj.)). Meaning "intermediate in time" is from mid-15c. Mathematical sense is from late 14c.

n.

"that which is halfway between extremes," early 14c., from Old French meien "middle, means, intermediary," noun use of adjective from Latin medianus "of or that is in the middle" (see mean (adj.2)). Oldest sense is musical; mathematical sense is from c.1500. Some senes reflect confusion with mean (adj.1). This is the mean in by no means (late 15c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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by any means in Medicine

mean (mēn)
n.

  1. Something having a position, quality, or condition midway between extremes; a medium.

  2. A number that typifies a set of numbers, such as a geometric mean or an arithmetic mean.

  3. The average value of a set of numbers.

adj.
  1. Occupying a middle or intermediate position between two extremes.

  2. Intermediate in size, extent, quality, time, or degree; medium.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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by any means in Science
mean
  (mēn)   
  1. A number or quantity having a value that is intermediate between other numbers or quantities, especially an arithmetic mean or average. See more at arithmetic mean.

  2. Either the second or third term of a proportion of four terms. In the proportion 2/3 = 4/6 , the means are 3 and 4. Compare extreme.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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by any means in Culture

mean definition


An average in statistics. (See under “Physical Sciences and Mathematics.”)

mean definition


In statistics, an average of a group of numbers or data points. With a group of numbers, the mean is obtained by adding them and dividing by the number of numbers in the group. Thus the mean of five, seven, and twelve is eight (twenty-four divided by three). (Compare median and mode.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for by any means

mean

adjective

Excellent; wonderful; classy, wicked: This girl has already proved she can play a mean game of tennis/ And Wheelright had a great, mean ear for dialect (1900+ Black)

Related Terms

lean and mean, shake a wicked calf


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with by any means

by any means

In any possible way, no matter how, as in By any means I've got to get there. [ Late 1400s ]
Also see: by no means

mean

, also see under
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for by any means

mean

in mathematics, a quantity that has a value intermediate between those of the extreme members of some set. Several kinds of mean exist, and the method of calculating a mean depends upon the relationship known or assumed to govern the other members. The arithmetic mean, denoted x, of a set of n numbers x1, x2, , xn is defined as the sum of the numbers divided by n:

Learn more about mean with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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