mean (something) by (something)

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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?"
See also: by, mean

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.
See also: by, mean
References in periodicals archive ?
You provide a reasonable means by which a consumer may obtain a copy of your privacy notice if you:
(iii) A reasonable means by which the consumer may exercise the opt out right.
Christ is the means by which one becomes a member of the Abraham family.
In other words we are talking about what the Church means by the term "murder"--which is also what the term traditionally means in the English language: to inflict death upon an innocent person.
To show what she means by "a hermeneutics of indeterminacy," Schussler Fiorenza summarizes a variety of interpretations that have been given to Mark's presentation of the Syrophoenician woman (Mark 7:24-30).