means to an end

means to an end


  • a necessary action carried out just to achieve a goal
  • something that is done just for the sake of producing an adequate result

Example Sentences

  1. Her working as a public defender was not due to her passion for the job but solely as a means to an end.
  2. Marilyn chose to marry John in order to escape poverty. To her, he was a means to an end.
  3. She chose to pursue graduate study as a means to her end of making a better life for herself.
  4. Agatha is very manipulative and only sees people as a means to an end.
  5. Despite everything that happened between Peter and Joy, he still refuses to accept the fact that their relationship was just a means to an end for her.


This phrase is traced back to the field of Economics. In the practice of early Economics, the resources of the earth were referred to as means while human wants and needs were the ends. So economists theorised that the resources (means) were used to satisfy human wants and needs (ends) and so the phrase took root and made its way into everyday language.


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Idiom of the Day

by the skin of your teeth

Meaning: barely manage to do something

Example: We managed to complete the project on time by the skin of our teeth. Read on


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