I've done the research regarding the definition of those words that I took from a dictionary.


an action, an object or a system by which a result is achieved; a way of achieving or doing something


means of something Email is a highly effective means of communication.


a thing that helps you to do your job or to achieve something


An email newsletter can be a very effective communication tool.

By the way, I took the examples from the dictionary I'm using (OALD) as well.

As you can see there, both are similar (to my perspective). Can you tell me the significant difference between these 2 words?

  • A tool is not just something that "helps you do your job".
    – Lambie
    Commented Mar 4, 2022 at 16:52

1 Answer 1


means can often be replaced by way.

A tool was originally an implement used by a craftsman or a labourer: such as a hammer. It still has this meaning, and when an email newsletter is described as a tool, tool is a metaphor. We forget that most words began as metaphors. A "way" was originally a path or road.

We use a tool, but it is not a method. You don't break glass by hammer but by means of a hammer. A hammer is neither a "system by which a result is achieved" nor "a way of achieving or doing something".

So when you see tool or means ask yourself, "Is it a road or a hammer?"!

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