meth·​od | \ˈme-thəd \

Definition of method 

1 : a procedure or process for attaining an object: such as

a(1) : a systematic procedure, technique, or mode of inquiry employed by or proper to a particular discipline or art

(2) : a systematic plan followed in presenting material for instruction the lecture method

b(1) : a way, technique, or process of or for doing something often slow in their business methods— T. R. Ybarra

(2) : a body of skills or techniques in the art of the novel, heavily armed with method— J. D. Scott

2 : a discipline that deals with the principles and techniques of scientific inquiry

3a : orderly arrangement, development, or classification : plan The book is completely lacking in method.

b : the habitual practice of orderliness and regularity time enough to do everything if only you used method— Angela Thirkell

4 capitalized : a dramatic technique by which an actor seeks to gain complete identification with the inner personality of the character being portrayed

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Choose the Right Synonym for method

method, mode, manner, way, fashion, system mean the means taken or procedure followed in achieving an end. method implies an orderly logical arrangement usually in steps. effective teaching methods mode implies an order or course followed by custom, tradition, or personal preference. the preferred mode of transportation manner is close to mode but may imply a procedure or method that is individual or distinctive. an odd manner of conducting way is very general and may be used for any of the preceding words. has her own way of doing things fashion may suggest a peculiar or characteristic way of doing something. rushing about in his typical fashion system suggests a fully developed or carefully formulated method often emphasizing rational orderliness. a filing system

Examples of method in a Sentence

He claims to have developed a new method for growing tomatoes. Their teaching method tries to adapt lessons to each student. We need to adopt more modern methods of doing things.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Earth Using this method, Lynch and her colleagues have been able to discover whole new — and massive — colonies of Adélie penguin, like a group of 1.5 million of them in the remote and aptly named Danger Islands. Brian Resnick, Vox, "You can join the scientific quest to track penguin poop from space. It could help protect the species.," 12 Dec. 2018 Authorities have used this method to plot circles around the plane's trajectory at the time of each handshake—a kind of net believed to encompass where on the globe the plane might have plunged. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "New Research Might Locate Flight MH370—And Solve One of the Greatest Aviation Mysteries of All Time," 7 Dec. 2018 Earlier this year, Nature Medicine published papers suggesting that editing one part of the DNA using this method could harm other parts of an organism’s genetic code. Angela Chen, The Verge, "Flawed DNA editing of alleged ‘designer babies’ may have put their health at risk," 29 Nov. 2018 Co-marketing deals aren’t uncommon between tech companies and partners — big banks advertise Apple’s Apple Pay feature, for example — but Amazon’s efforts underscore the uphill battle to build awareness and traction for this new purchasing method. Rani Molla, Recode, "Amazon wants brands to advertise Alexa voice shopping — essentially for free," 26 Nov. 2018 What the commission doesn’t want to admit is that this entire method rests on guesswork. Marcello Minenna, WSJ, "Behind the Brussels-Rome Dispute," 23 Oct. 2018 This method exploits the small dip in a star's brightness as the planet passes between its sun and the instrument. Meghan Bartels,, "New NASA Planet Hunter May Find 10,000 Alien Worlds in Just Two Years," 8 Aug. 2018 The bad news, McKay said, is that all missions to Mars have tried to find organics using this heat method. Ashley May, USA TODAY, "NASA may have burned best proof of life on Mars by accident over 40 years ago," 12 July 2018 This new method of observing is known as multi-messenger astronomy. Sophia Chen, WIRED, "What's a Blazar? A Galactic Bakery for Cosmic Rays," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'method.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of method

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for method

Middle English, prescribed treatment, from Latin methodus, from Greek methodos, from meta- + hodos way

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Statistics for method

Last Updated

16 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for method

The first known use of method was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for method



English Language Learners Definition of method

: a way of doing something

: a careful or organized plan that controls the way something is done


meth·​od | \ˈme-thəd \

Kids Definition of method

1 : a certain way of doing something She uses her own method of teaching.

2 : careful arrangement His work lacks method.


meth·​od | \ˈmeth-əd \

Medical Definition of method 

: a procedure or process for attaining an object: as

a : a systematic procedure, technique, or mode of inquiry employed by or proper to a particular discipline — see scientific method

b : a way, technique, or process of or for doing something

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More from Merriam-Webster on method

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for method

Spanish Central: Translation of method

Nglish: Translation of method for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of method for Arabic Speakers

Comments on method

What made you want to look up method? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

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