mean (something) by (something)(redirected from mean something by)
mean (something) by (something)
To have some hidden or ulterior meaning, judgment, or intention behind one's words or actions. Often used in questions and negative constructions. I didn't mean anything by what I said—I was just making an observation about your clothes, that's all! A: "It's not bad, for someone like you." B: "Hey, what do you mean by that?"
mean by something
to intend a certain meaning by words or deeds. What do you mean by that? I did not mean anything special by my remarks.