1. A means or manner of procedure, especially a regular and systematic way of accomplishing something: a simple method for making a pie crust; mediation as a method of solving disputes. See Usage Note at methodology.
2. Orderly arrangement of parts or steps to accomplish an end: random efforts that lack method.
3. The procedures and techniques characteristic of a particular discipline or field of knowledge: This field course gives an overview of archaeological method.
4. Method A technique of acting in which the actor recalls emotions and reactions from past experience and uses them in identifying with and individualizing the character being portrayed.
[Middle English, medical procedure, from Latin methodus, method, from Greek methodos, pursuit, method : meta-, beyond, after; see META- + hodos, way, journey.]
Synonyms: method, system, routine, manner, fashion, mode, way
These nouns refer to the plans or procedures followed to accomplish a task or attain a goal. Method implies a detailed, logically ordered plan: What method does your school use for teaching math? System suggests order, regularity, and coordination of methods: Our products have improved dramatically since we initiated a quality-control system. A routine is a habitual method: We got into the routine of getting up early and going for a walk. The word sometimes implies tedium or thoughtlessness: I fell into the routine of doing housework on Saturdays and lost touch with my biking friends. Manner and fashion emphasize personal or distinctive behavior: I can't stand the improvised manner with which you make meals. The old friends play chess in the most serious fashion. Mode often denotes a manner influenced by or arising from tradition or custom: They are a traditional people with a nomadic mode of life. Way is the least specific of these terms: Isn't there an easier way to lose weight?
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus