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 ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.