meth·od (mthd) KEY
Middle English, medical procedure, from Latin methodus, method, from Greek methodos, pursuit, method : meta-, beyond, after ; see meta- + hodos, way, journey
method, system, routine, manner, mode, fashion, way
These nouns refer to the plans or procedures followed to accomplish a task or attain a goal. Method implies a detailed, logically ordered plan: "I do not know of a better method for choosing a presidential nominee" (Harry S. Truman). System suggests order, regularity, and coordination of methods: "Of generalship, of strategic system . . . there was little or none" (John Morely). A routine is a habitual, often tiresome method: "The common business of the nation . . . is carried on in a constant routine by the clerks of the different offices" (Tobias Smollett). Manner and fashion emphasize personal or distinctive behavior: a clearly articulated manner of speaking; issuing orders in an arbitrary and abrasive fashion. Mode often denotes a manner influenced by or arising from tradition or custom: a nomadic mode of life. Way is the least specific of these terms: "It is absurd to think that the only way to tell if a poem is lasting is to wait and see if it lasts" (Robert Frost).