ways and means

plural noun

Definition of ways and means

1 : methods and resources for accomplishing something and especially for defraying expenses

2 often capitalized W&M

a : methods and resources for raising the necessary revenues for the expenses of a nation or state
b : a legislative committee concerned with this function

Examples of ways and means in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

With the welfare of Mrs. Bayer and her children in mind, friends of the dead officer met yesterday to discuss ways and means of assisting the widow to surmount the situation that confronts her. Scott Harrison, Los Angeles Times, "From the Archives: Oscar Bayer, 1925 shootout hero," 21 Aug. 2019 In response, environmental groups, hitherto quiescent environmental professionals, and more — all Americans who care about the health of our country and our planet — still need to find new ways and means of mobilizing against it, and fast. Christopher Sellers, Vox, "How Republicans came to embrace anti-environmentalism," 6 July 2018 The indoor offerings complement the season by giving you ways and means of escape, through the viewpoint of someone else’s daydreams. Michael Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "10 movies to see in Chicago this summer," 2 May 2018 Crockett is an astute observer of how things work in Baltimore, and the ways and means are not exactly what a civics book on government would tell you. Jacques Kelly, baltimoresun.com, "Jacques Kelly: James Crockett — A look back on 90 years," 3 Mar. 2018 The ways and means of net neutrality can differ from one country to the other, taking into account specificities of local markets and organizations. Sébastien Soriano, Slate Magazine, "Europe Has a Message for Americans on Net Neutrality," 12 Dec. 2017 Republicans on the House tax writing panel -- the ways and means committee -- will meet this week to discuss several issues, including tax reform, while the full Republican conference will hold a retreat Wednesday to do the same. Deirdre Walsh, CNN, "This week in Congress: Health care deadline looms over everything," 25 Sep. 2017 But where there’s strong political will, legislative ways and means will be found. Larry Kudlow, National Review, "Trump Turnaround Puts New Tax-Cut Writing on the Wall," 15 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ways and means.' 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 ways and means

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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ways and means

way shaft


wayside cross

Statistics for ways and means

Last Updated

4 Sep 2019

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The first known use of ways and means was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for ways and means

ways and means


English Language Learners Definition of ways and means

somewhat formal : the methods and tools used for doing something
: a committee in the U.S. House of Representatives that is in charge of taxes, trade issues, government debt, etc.

ways and means

noun plural

Legal Definition of ways and means

1 : methods and resources for raising the necessary revenues for the expenses of a nation or state
2 often capitalized W&M : a legislative committee with jurisdiction over ways and means

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