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Mean, subst. 1) that which is between: “and so I chide the --s that keeps me from it,” H6C III, 2, 141. let not the piece of virtue, which is set betwixt us as the cement of our love, to keep it builded, be the ram to batter the fortress of it; for better might we have loved “without this m., if on both parts this be not cherished,” Ant. III, 2, 32. (cf. Meantime).
2) middle station, medium, mediocrity: “it is no mean happiness to be seated in the m.” Merch. I, 2, 8. “shall we disturb him, since he keeps no m.?” H6A I, 2, 121. “they know, by the height, the lowness, or the m., if dearth or foison follow,” Ant. II, 7, 22.
3) in music, the tenor or counter-tenor: “there wanteth but a m. to fill your song. The m. is drowned with your unruly base,” Gent. I, 2, 95. Gent. I, 2, 95 “he can sing a m. most meanly,” LLL V, 2, 328. “they are most of them --s and bases,” Wint. IV, 3, 46.
4) that which is used to effect a purpose: “seek in vain some happy m. to end a hapless life,” Lucr. 1045. “they have devised a m. how he her chamber-window will ascend,” Gent. III, 1, 38. “that there were no earthly m. to save him,” Meas. II, 4, 95. “nature is made better by no m. but nature makes that m.” Wint. IV, 4, 89. “our sacks shall be a m. to sack the city,” H6A III, 2, 10. “we'll devise a m. to reconcile you all unto the king,” H6B IV, 8, 71. “that m. is cut from thee,” Tit. II, 4, 40. “sudden m. of death,” Rom. III, 3, 45. “devise some m. to rid her from this second marriage,” V, 3, 240 (reading of Q2). “I'll devise a m. to draw the Moor out of the way,” Oth. III, 1, 39. “a swifter m. shall outstrike thought,” Ant. IV, 6, 35. Used of persons: “be my m. to bring me where to speak with Madam Silvia,” Gent. IV, 4, 113. “make the Douglas' son your only m. for powers in Scotland,” H4A I, 3, 261. “you may deny that you were not the m. of my Lord Hastings' late imprisonment,” R3 I, 3, 90 (Qq cause). “no place will please me so, no m. of death, as here by Caesar, and by you cut off,” Caes. III, 1, 161.
Oftener used in the plur.: “these --s, as frets upon an instrument, shall tune our heart-strings,” Lucr. 1140. “fortify yourself in your decay with --s more blessed than my barren rkyme,” Sonn. 16, 4. “--s to live,” Tp. II, 1, 50. “supportable to make the dear loss have I --s much weaker,” V, 146. Gent. II, 4, 182. Meas. II, 4, 48 “(to put metal in restrained --s to make a false one).” III, 2, 22. Merch. IV, 1, 81. As II, 3, 25. As II, 3, 25 John IV, 2, 219. R2 I, 4, 40. III, 2, 29. III, 2, 29 H6A V, 1, 8. Oth. IV, 2, 112 etc. etc. Used of medicaments: “till I have used the approved --s I have,” Err. V, 103. “healed by the same --s,” Merch. III, 1, 65. “with all appliances and --s,” H4B III, 1, 29. “use --s for her recovery,” H6C V, 5, 45. “by using --s, I lame the foot of our design,” Cor. IV, 7, 7. Used of persons: “being the agents, or base second --s,” H4A I, 3, 165. “those that were the --s to help him,” R3 V, 3, 249 (== instruments).
The plural form used as a singular noun: “other --s was none,” Err. I, 1, 76. “who wins me by that --s I told you,” Merch. II, 1, 19. “by this --s,” Wint. IV, 4, 632. H6A I, 2, 63. “a --s,” Wint. IV, 4, 865. H6C III, 3, 39. “strain what other --s is left unto us,” Tim. V, 1, 230. “remove the --s that makes us strangers,” Mcb. IV, 3, 163 (but cf. Abbott's Grammar p. 235). “there is --s,” Lr. IV, 4, 11.
5) that which is at a person's disposal; resources, power, wealth, allowance: “would try him to the utmost, had ye m.” H8 V, 3, 146. With the exception of this single passage, only used in the plural: “that did not better for my life provide than public --s,” Sonn. 111, 4. “either in my mind or in my --s,” Wiv. II, 2, 211. “let her have needful, but not lavish --s,” Meas. II, 2, 24. “fortune made such havoc of my --s,” Ado IV, 1, 197. Ado IV, 1, 197 Merch. I, 1, 125. Merch. I, 1, 125 I, 3, 17. III, 2, 266. IV, 1, 377. As I, 2, 259. II, 7, 73. III, 2, 26. All's V, 1, 35. R2 II, 1, 39. H4B I, 2, 159. I, 3, 1. I, 3, 1 IV, 4, 64. V, 5, 71. R3 IV, 2, 37. H8 IV, 2, 153. Tim. V, 4, 20 etc. “our --s secure us,” Lr. IV, 1, 22, i. e. our faculties, the advantages which we enjoy, make us secure and careless.*
6) opportunity; preparations made and measures taken to effect something: “tell me some good m. how I may undertake a journey,” Gent. II, 7, 5. “many a man would take you at your word and go indeed, having so good a m.” Err. I, 2, 18. Oftener plur. --s: “pausing for --s to mourn some newer way,” Lucr. 1365. “since they did plot the --s that dusky Dis my daughter got,” Tp. IV, 89. “I had never so good --s as desire to make myself acquainted with you,” Wiv. II, 2, 189. “he gains by death that has such --s to die,” Err. III, 2, 51. “I will come after you with what good speed our means will make us --s,” All's V, 1, 35. cf. “though time seem so adverse and --s unfit,” All's V, 1, 35 “you would not give --s for this uncivil rule,” Tw. II, 3, 132. “let me have open --s to come to them,” R3 IV, 2, 77. “bid her devise some --s to come to shrift,” Rom. II, 4, 192. “his --s of death, his obscure burial,” Hml. IV, 5, 213. “give this fellow some --s to the king,” IV, 6, 13 (some opportunity to have access to him). to make --s == to contrive measures and opportunities: “to make such --s for her as thou hast done, and leave her on such slight conditions,” Gent. V, 4, 137. “make some good --s to speak with him,” R3 V, 3, 40 (Qq bear my good night to him). “what --s do you make to him?” Cymb. II, 4, 3 (== what steps do you take with respect to him? what have you done to gain his favour?). In a bad sense: “one that made --s to come by what he hath,” R3 V, 3, 248 (== laid plots, used indirect practices).
By --s, used 1) to denote instrumentality, == through, by: “by the woman's --s,” Meas. II, 1, 84. “murdered by Suffolk and the Cardinal Beaufort's --s,” H6B III, 2, 124. “mischance unto my state by Suffolk's --s,” H6B III, 2, 124 “our brother is imprisoned by your --s,” R3 I, 3, 78. “as if his sons have by my --s been butchered wrongfully,” Tit. IV, 4, 55. “either say thou'lt do't, or thrive by other --s,” Lr. V, 3, 34. “by your virtuous --s,” Oth. III, 4, 111.
2) to denote way and manner: “and have by underhand --s laboured to dissuade him,” As I, 1, 146. “till he hath ta'en thy life by some indirect --s or other,” As I, 1, 146 “hast thou by secret --s used intercession to obtain a league,” H6A V, 4, 147. “by wicked --s,” H6B III, 1, 52. “I have advertised him by secret --s,” H6C IV, 5, 9. “by fair or foul --s,” IV, 7, 14. “by what safe --s,” IV, 7, 14 “by vile --s,” Caes. IV, 3, 71. “by the worst --s,” Mcb. III, 4, 135. cf. “send me your prisoners with the speediest --s,” H4A I, 3, 120 (as soon as possible). By all -- s == certainly, without fail: Wiv. IV, 2, 230. Tw. III, 2, 62. by any --s == anyhow: “if I can by any --s light on a fit man,” Shr. I, 1, 112. Wint. V, 2, 183. Rom. I, 1, 151. by no --s == not at all: Meas. III, 1, 15. Ado II, 1, 364. Mids. I, 1, 120. As III, 2, 326. Tim. I, 2, 8. Caes. II, 1, 75. Caes. II, 1, 75 Hml. I, 3, 61. I, 4, 62. III, 1, 6. Lr. II, 1, 44. IV, 3, 42. by some --s == somehow or other: but end it (my life) “by some --s for Imogen,” Cymb. V, 3, 83. by this --s == thus: “my letters, by this --s being there so soon as you arrive,” Wint. IV, 4, 632. by what --s and by which --s == in what or which manner: “by what --s gotst thou to be released?” H6A I, 4, 25. “by which --s I saw . . .,” Wint. IV, 4, 614.
3) to assign a cause: “we stand opposed by such --s as you yourself have forged against yourself by unkind usage,” H4A V, 1, 67 (== for such reasons, from such motives). “by this --s your lady is forthcoming yet at London,” H6B II, 1, 178 (== in consequence of this). “did he not levy great sums for soldiers' pay in France, and never sent it? by --s whereof the towns each day revolted,” H6B III, 1, 63. “stayed the soldiers' pay; by --s whereof his highness hath lost France,” H6B III, 1, 63 “I have much mistook your passion; by --s whereof this breast of mine hath buried thoughts of great value,” Caes. I, 2, 49. By the --s, in the same sense: “he is white-livered and red-faced; by the --s whereof a' faces it out, but fights not,” H5 III, 2, 34. “he hath a killing tongue and a quiet sword; by the --s whereof a' breaks words and keeps whole weapons,” H5 III, 2, 34 “their inhibition comes by the --s of the late innovation,” Hml. II, 2, 347.
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