What does PURPOSE mean?

Definitions for PURPOSE
ˈpɜr pəspur·pose

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word PURPOSE.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. purpose, intent, intention, aim, designnoun

    an anticipated outcome that is intended or that guides your planned actions

    "his intent was to provide a new translation"; "good intentions are not enough"; "it was created with the conscious aim of answering immediate needs"; "he made no secret of his designs"

  2. function, purpose, role, usenoun

    what something is used for

    "the function of an auger is to bore holes"; "ballet is beautiful but what use is it?"

  3. determination, purposeverb

    the quality of being determined to do or achieve something; firmness of purpose

    "his determination showed in his every movement"; "he is a man of purpose"

  4. aim, purpose, purport, proposeverb

    propose or intend

    "I aim to arrive at noon"

  5. purpose, resolveverb

    reach a decision

    "he resolved never to drink again"

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. PURPOSEnoun

    Etymology: propos, Fr. propositum, Lat.

    He quit the house of purpose, that their punishment
    Might have the freer course. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    Change this purpose,
    Which being so horrible, so bloody, must
    Lead on to some foul issue. William Shakespeare.

    He with troops of horsemen beset the passages of purpose, that when the army should set forward, he might in the streights, fit for his purpose, set upon them. Richard Knolles.

    And I persuade me God hath not permitted
    His strength again to grow, were not his purpose
    To use him farther yet. John Milton, Agonistes.

    St. Austin hath laid down a rule to this very purpose. Burn.

    They, who are desirous of a name in painting, should read and make observations of such things as they find for their purpose. John Dryden, Dufresnoy.

    He travelled the world, on purpose to converse with the most learned men. Guardian, №. 165.

    The common materials, which the ancients made their ships of, were the ornus or wild ash; the fir was likewise used for this purpose. Arbuthnot.

    I do this, on purpose to give you a more sensible impression of the imperfection of your knowledge. Isaac Watts.

    Where men err against this method, it is usually on purpose, and to shew their learning. Jonathan Swift.

    To small purpose had the council of Jerusalem been assembled, if once their determination being set down, men might afterwards have defended their former opinions. Richard Hooker.

    The ground will be like a wood, which keepeth out the sun, and so continueth the wet, whereby it will never graze, to purpose that year. Francis Bacon, Nat. Hist.

    Their design is a war, whenever they can open it with a prospect of succeeding to purpose. William Temple.

    Such first principles will serve us to very little purpose, and we shall be as much at a loss with, as without them, if they may, by any human power, such as is the will of our teachers, or opinions of our companions, be altered or lost in us. John Locke.

    He that would relish success to purpose, should keep his passion cool, and his expectation low. Jeremy Collier, on Desire.

    What the Romans have done is not worth notice, having had little occasion to make use of this art, and what they have of it to purpose being borrowed from Aristotle . Thomas Baker.

    ’Tis common for double-dealers to be taken in their own snares, as for the purpose in the matter of power. Roger L'Estrange.

  2. To Purposeverb

    To intend; to design; to resolve.

    Etymology: from the noun.

    What he did purpose, it was the pleasure of God that Solomon his son should perform. Richard Hooker.

    It is a purpos’d thing, and grows by plot,
    To curb the nobility. William Shakespeare, Coriolanus.

    I am purposed, that my mouth shall not transgress. Ps. xvii.

    This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth. Is. xiv. 26.

    Paul purposed in the spirit, to go to Jerusalem. Acts xix. 21.

    The christian captains, purposing to retire home, placed on each side of the army four ranks of waggons. Richard Knolles.

    The whole included race his purpos’d prey. John Milton.

    Oaths were not purpos’d more than law,
    To keep the good and just in awe,
    But to confine the bad and sinful,
    Like moral cattle in a pinfold. Hudibras.

    Doubling my crime, I promise and deceive,
    Purpose to slay, whilst swearing to forgive. Matthew Prior.


  1. Purpose

    Purpose is the end for which something is done, created or for which it exists. It is part of the topic of intentionality and goal-seeking behavior.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Purposenoun

    that which a person sets before himself as an object to be reached or accomplished; the end or aim to which the view is directed in any plan, measure, or exertion; view; aim; design; intention; plan

  2. Purposenoun

    proposal to another; discourse

  3. Purposenoun

    instance; example

  4. Purposeverb

    to set forth; to bring forward

  5. Purposeverb

    to propose, as an aim, to one's self; to determine upon, as some end or object to be accomplished; to intend; to design; to resolve; -- often followed by an infinitive or dependent clause

  6. Purposeverb

    to have a purpose or intention; to discourse

  7. Etymology: [OF. purposer, proposer. See Propose.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Purpose

    pur′pos, n. idea or aim kept before the mind as the end of effort: aim, intention: effect: (Spens.) conversation: (pl.) a sort of conversational game.—Of, or On, purpose, with design, intentionally; To the purpose, to the point, or material to the question. [O. Fr. pourpos, propos—L. propositum, a thing intended—pro, forward, ponĕre, positum, to place.]

  2. Purpose

    pur′pos, v.t. to intend (often followed by an infinitive or participial clause as its object).—v.i. to have an intention: (Spens.) to discourse.—adj. Pur′poseful, having an object: full of meaning.—adv. Pur′posefully.—n. Pur′posefulness.—adj. Pur′poseless, without purpose or effect: aimless.—adv. Pur′poselessly.—n. Pur′poselessness.—adj. Pur′pose-like, having a definite purpose: having the appearance of being fit for a purpose.—adv. Pur′posely, with purpose: intentionally.—n. Pur′poser.—adj. Pur′posive, having an aim: (biol.) functional.—n. Pur′posiveness. [O. Fr. purposer, form of proposer, influenced by Fr. propos.]

Editors Contribution

  1. purpose

    A reason to exist.

    We all require a sense of purpose to focus on daily and to motivate our actions.

    Submitted by MaryC on August 25, 2020  

  2. purpose

    An accurate and specific vision, strategy, goal, objective, plan or budget we choose.

    The company was fit for purpose and all worked in harmony with each other to achieve.

    Submitted by MaryC on January 26, 2020  

Suggested Resources

  1. purpose

    Song lyrics by purpose -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by purpose on the Lyrics.com website.

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British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'PURPOSE' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1082

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'PURPOSE' in Written Corpus Frequency: #1509

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'PURPOSE' in Nouns Frequency: #264

How to pronounce PURPOSE?

How to say PURPOSE in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of PURPOSE in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of PURPOSE in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of PURPOSE in a Sentence

  1. Wendy Suzuki:

    Joy conditioning is a direct counterbalance to fear conditioning, the latter of which happens naturally and serves a protective purpose.

  2. Epictetus:

    He is free who lives as he wishes to live; who is neither subject to compulsion nor to hindrance, nor to force; whose movements to action are not impeded, whose desires attain their purpose, and who does not fall into that which he would avoid.

  3. Fred Deutsch:

    The primary purpose of the bill is to protect the physical privacy of students from having to expose themselves, or be exposed to others, when in a state of undress or nakedness while at school or school functions.

  4. Nadia Khader:

    The walls of the older castle were different in its design of the newest castle, where rooms [were] filled with sand, pottery and dem were built inside the walls of the fences at regular distances, perhaps the purpose of reducing pressure on the 11 M Castle Wall Body, and maybe these rooms are also used as rainwater banks and are a feature of architecture during the Zionist era. The oldest castle is also likely to be the largest space of the castle previously discovered.

  5. Linda Thomas-Greenfield:

    Russia should not have a position of authority in a body whose purpose -- whose very purpose -- is to promote respect for human rights. Not only is it the height of hypocrisy -- it is dangerous, every day, United Nations see more and more how little Russia respects human rights.

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Translations for PURPOSE

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"PURPOSE." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 30 Mar. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/PURPOSE>.

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    a hazy or indistinct representation
    • A. emerge
    • B. deny
    • C. fudge
    • D. blur

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