by all means

by all means

Meaning

  • in every way possible.
  • without fail, at any cost.
  • yes, certainly.
  • a polite agreement with someone, saying yes or giving permission.
  • with no question.
  • by all odds.

Example Sentences

  1. “Do you mind if I go to the party?” “By all means.”
  2. “May I borrow your pen?” “By all means.”
  3. “Could I please have a glass of water?” “By all means. Let me get it for you.”
  4. “Will you be coming to the party tonight?” “Yes, by all means.”
  5. You should avoid losing the contract by all means.
  6. I’m planning to use your services by all means.

Origin

The phrase “by all means” has been in use since the 1500s. Originally, the phrase was “by all ways,” with the negation being “in no ways.” The Oxford English Dictionary states that the phrase was first used in written form in 1593 in one of the pastoral treatises of Hooker. Since it is a set phrase, the structure in which it appears does not vary. Thus, people don’t say “by any means” or “all means” when they mean absolutely. The idiom works to add emphasis to a point the speaker is making. By any means necessary is used as a phrase in its sense. The phrase is used to advocate for all possible means to accomplish a certain objective, but it expresses using any means to achieve it.

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