Definition of for in English:


Pronunciation /fɔː//fə/


  • 1In support of or in favour of (a person or policy)

    ‘troops who had fought for Napoleon’
    ‘they voted for independence in a referendum’
    • ‘The report makes a strong case for more government funding.’
    • ‘Peter has now set up an online poll on his site, asking you to vote for your favourite.’
    • ‘It had no army capable of intervening in Europe and no politician arguing for such a policy.’
    • ‘This is a good idea and it enjoys the support of most of us who have fought for this country.’
    • ‘But whether you were for or against the decision when it was made, I think it is largely irrelevant now.’
    • ‘The war is over and, no matter whether we were for it or against it, it is now time to move on.’
    • ‘There is a very good case for knocking these flats down because it will cost more to repair them than to start building from scratch.’
    • ‘The British public might vote for you but don't expect them to support you afterwards.’
    • ‘So folks, if you agree with my policies, please vote for me at the next general election.’
    • ‘Anyone who votes for them is betraying the memory of all those who fought and died fighting the Nazis.’
    • ‘Bravery is climbing over a trench and fighting for your country in a war.’
    • ‘It may be hackneyed to point out that people fought and died for the right to vote, but it's true all the same.’
    • ‘It is in their interests to argue for a policy of dialogue with so called rogue states.’
    • ‘On the website there is the chance to vote for the favourite place in Wiltshire.’
    • ‘However, within Scotland the Commission on Local Government and the Scottish Parliament has argued for an overall review of the system of local government finance.’
    • ‘Readers were able to vote for their favourite and the tough decision came down to the judges.’
    • ‘The suffragettes claimed their place in social history by fighting for women to get the vote.’
    • ‘At the time, young men were signing up in their droves to fight for their country.’
    • ‘At that time Swindon south Tories were against the development while the north Swindon Tories were for it.’
    • ‘Four were against the proposal, three were unwilling to say and 19 were for it.’
    on the side of, pro, for, all for, giving support to, giving backing to, right behind, encouraging of, approving of, sympathetic to
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  • 2Affecting, with regard to, or in respect of.

    ‘she is responsible for the efficient running of their department’
    ‘the demand for money’
    • ‘The Careers Advisory Service will be responsible for the administration of the project.’
    • ‘This is a very common problem and one that is most distressing for women of any age.’
    • ‘I think we all made this movie out of deep respect and admiration for the original work.’
    • ‘The government suggested that the retirement age for women might have to rise to 65.’
    • ‘We have been trying to give them an idea of how devastating it is for the communities affected.’
    • ‘She had been missing from her home in since July 22 and her family was growing increasingly worried for her safety.’
    • ‘I pick my battles and have enough respect for myself to know when it is time to walk away.’
    • ‘It is not yet known whether employees will be paid for their work this month.’
    • ‘The rise in pension costs will also affect earnings for a number of public companies.’
    • ‘No date has yet been set for the employment tribunal hearing which is likely to be held in Leeds.’
    • ‘You can make a claim via an employment tribunal for compensation if you think this has happened.’
    • ‘The family said they now hoped the media would respect their wish for privacy to be left alone to grieve.’
    • ‘We knew there were problems at the car company but we did expect to be paid for the work we have done.’
    • ‘It was a success but due to a new demand for money, the WWF had to withdraw after one season.’
    • ‘Even if every household in town had only one car, there would still not be enough space for everyone.’
    • ‘He had been treated for depression after a failed suicide attempt earlier in the year.’
    • ‘He also learnt a new respect for further education, and those who work in it.’
    • ‘The weather forecast for today was scattered showers with clear spells and strong winds.’
    • ‘Anyone who has ever been down a pit returns to the surface with deep respect for those who make a career of mining.’
    • ‘So we gave him a call, and luckily for us, he was available.’
    • ‘He said he had no firm plans for his retirement and he was keeping his options open.’
    in honour of, as a tribute to, as a mark of respect to, the same as
    View synonyms
  • 3On behalf of or to the benefit of.

    ‘I got a present for you’
    ‘these parents aren't speaking for everyone’
    • ‘We have a flexible benefits package for women and this is a woman-friendly company.’
    • ‘It is more than probable that the busy agent will employ a reader to do the job for her.’
    • ‘She is also a noted children's author, who has written two dozen books for children.’
    • ‘Are you holding an event to raise money for those affected by the tsunami disaster?’
    • ‘There is no pension scheme in operation for employees working less than twenty hours per week.’
    • ‘Obviously there's a business benefit for us in recycling as it cuts down the number of bags we use.’
    • ‘Bedford believes what works about London is that there is something for everyone.’
    • ‘Swindon went into Comic Relief overdrive as hundreds of people raised money for charity.’
    • ‘One of the huge benefits for companies is the ability to make claims retrospectively.’
    • ‘I was on my way out to buy a present for my mother.’
    • ‘I forgot to tell you but there's a package for you downstairs in the front hall on the mail table.’
    • ‘We can bring in the expertise and we can manage that for the customers' benefit.’
    • ‘It's always an honour to play for your country and to test yourself against some of the top teams in the world.’
    • ‘So there you are - a blog that is genuinely for anyone and everyone, but mainly for me.’
    • ‘If you love a particular design but don't like the colour, the firm will change it for you.’
    • ‘It is nice to see people giving some of their leisure time for the benefit of others.’
    • ‘The mayor will hold a special celebration dinner for the club tomorrow night.’
    • ‘I talked to the superintendent about the incident, but he didn't indicate to me exactly what his opinion was, so I can't speak for him.’
    • ‘There were plenty of refreshments for everyone at the Coronation party.’
    • ‘They told the receptionist they had a letter for the ambassador and asked to see him.’
    1. 3.1 Employed by.
      ‘she is a tutor for the Open University’
      • ‘Ms Tshabangu then went to work for a white farmer who had employed her mother.’
      • ‘Liubov worked as laundress and cook while Degaev worked for a while for a chemical firm.’
      • ‘I used to work for a company that developed and sold computer systems for smaller businesses.’
      • ‘They had friends from the Asian community and had worked for an Asian employer in the past.’
      • ‘The nationality of the hostages and the name of the firm they work for was last night unclear.’
      • ‘They are workers who do work for the alleged discriminator, but they are not employed by him.’
      • ‘He has been working for the tyre-fitting firm since he left school.’
      • ‘I was asked to do the programme the year before, but I was still working for the BBC then and couldn't do it.’
      • ‘He worked as a sales representative for an air conditioning company in Shrewsbury.’
      • ‘She is not very happy about it but she can't say too much because she works for the council.’
      • ‘You will be able to draw on your company scheme while working for the same firm.’
  • 4Having (the thing mentioned) as a purpose or function.

    ‘networks for the exchange of information’
    ‘the necessary tools for making a picture frame’
    • ‘It's the first time we have ever had a room inside the church that can be used for any community purpose.’
    • ‘I arrived much too early, despite having stopped for a coffee on the way.’
    • ‘This is the age of technology where a phone is no longer just a device for making and receiving calls.’
    • ‘The old doorman's room, which was not being used, was just right for the purpose, she said.’
    • ‘Yet what if a member of one of these sites intended to use it for criminal purposes?’
    • ‘Later she asked if he could do a cartoon animated version of her, for publicity purposes.’
    • ‘The police just give you a crime number for insurance purposes and this only puts up the premiums.’
    • ‘Hence the gardens get used for corporate functions from time to time, but that's it.’
    • ‘We also want the Government to make it illegal to traffic a child for any purpose.’
    • ‘This is fun, and can be a powerful tool for learning and exchanging information.’
    • ‘It doesn't matter that you've gone out and bought this service for business purposes.’
    • ‘Although Suzanne and Inacio travel a lot for work, they make the most of their family time together.’
    • ‘After lunch, Michelle and her uncle went for a walk in the park.’
    • ‘Some of these are young American adults who come to work in London for work placement purposes.’
    • ‘Have you ever used these fake papers to prove your identity for some purpose?’
    • ‘Without question, the Internet and e-mail are essential tools for conducting business in a modern world.’
    • ‘Ouch, what did you do that for?’
    • ‘Many Israelis who visit Poland for this purpose do not get to make the acquaintance of Poles.’
    • ‘We have therefore stumbled on a method for calculating distances in any number of dimensions.’
    • ‘If there looks to be too much fat, pour some into a small bowl to use for another purpose.’
    because, since, seeing that, seeing as, considering that, on account of the fact that, in view of the fact that, owing to the fact that
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  • 5Having (the thing mentioned) as a reason or cause.

    ‘Aileen is proud of her family for their support’
    ‘I could dance and sing for joy’
    • ‘Arthur told me he was going to sue me for the way I represented him in the book.’
    • ‘The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has given a statement to Austrian police.’
    • ‘He believes one reason for not putting on weight is the calories he burns off through nervous energy.’
    • ‘When the war ended, they were awarded the George Cross for bravery.’
    • ‘Travel is easy because so many people have stayed at home, and the office is quiet for just the same reason.’
    • ‘They deserve our utmost respect and recognition for simply making the Olympic team.’
    • ‘I'm particularly proud of her for maintaining her sense of humor despite some ongoing health problems.’
    • ‘Three other men were also jailed for their subordinate roles in the operation.’
    • ‘In America, it is much harder for dissent to make such a breakthrough, for various reasons.’
    • ‘She jumped up and down, shouting for joy.’
    • ‘Women want to be respected for being women, and they want to be able to respect a man for being a man.’
    • ‘The city is world famous for being home to some of the greatest rock bands.’
    • ‘Our mum didn't attend the inquest for such reasons, and is now deeply distressed.’
    • ‘I'd like to take her somewhere in the US or Europe as a surprise for her birthday.’
    • ‘I am grateful for all his help and advice over the years.’
    • ‘Now, the central African country is back in the spotlight for the right reasons.’
    • ‘I can't bear to walk past a broken bottle or can for fear that some child may one day step on it.’
    • ‘We have to do this for moral reasons, and because our security depends on it.’
    • ‘The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, gave evidence to the court via video link.’
    • ‘It did not work for a variety of reasons, but the appointment was imaginative and innovative.’
    cause, purpose, reason, aim, end, objective, object, goal, motive
    View synonyms
  • 6Having (the place mentioned) as a destination.

    ‘they are leaving for London tomorrow’
    • ‘He missed the following two Cup games but will leave with the team for Perth tomorrow.’
    • ‘The survivors, who are Spanish and Portuguese, are expected to leave for home today.’
    • ‘When we initially left for Africa we headed for Namibia and we really didn't have a detailed plan of how or where we were going to set up the education centre.’
    • ‘She has written a screenplay, set in the Twenties, in which a woman and her boyfriend leave Britain for Africa to start a new life.’
    • ‘He made the comments before leaving for Tokyo to attend Saturday's meeting of finance ministers and central bankers.’
    • ‘As we left the stadium for the airport, bottles and bricks smacked against our coach.’
    • ‘The last train for Newbridge leaves Heuston at 10.45 pm, arriving at 11.20 pm.’
  • 7Representing (the thing mentioned)

    ‘the ‘F’ is for Fascinating’
    • ‘The initials C.P.R. stand for Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation.’
    • ‘The ‘T’ is for telecommunications.’
  • 8In place of or in exchange for.

    ‘will you swap these two bottles for that one?’
    • ‘He also learns that he agreed to the memory wipe in exchange for a huge sum of money.’
    • ‘All he had time to do was to exchange his regimental kilt for a pair of shorts, the better to look younger.’
    • ‘I wouldn't swap this job for anything.’
    • ‘I now eat one biscuit instead of a packetful, but the main thing is I have swapped high-fat foods for low-fat.’
    • ‘Can you change a twenty pound note for two tens?’
    • ‘He then offers to write a story about the Air Force in exchange for being allowed a ride in a jet.’
    • ‘The food will help make up five-day meal packages handed out in exchange for a meal ticket.’
    • ‘There was no denying that this was an exchange, their cash for your compliance.’
    • ‘Has he struck a Faustian pact with the devil so he gets all the money in the world in exchange for his soul.’
    • ‘Take a number and walk down a few stairs into the cafe and exchange the number for a red tray.’
    • ‘Others offered promises to build a cathedral in his honour in exchange for a donation.’
    • ‘In exchange for his liberation he worked hard on the great vessel as a deck hand.’
    • ‘Bonded workers agree to sell their labour in exchange for a lump sum, perhaps to pay a big medical bill.’
    • ‘An early commission was from a student of mine, who gave me six bottles of wine for writing her a song.’
    • ‘If as dealer you do not like your hand you can exchange it for the spare hand.’
    • ‘He agreed to give evidence in return for a lighter sentence.’
    • ‘In exchange for this, you also lose the chance of being able to benefit from a temporary fall in price.’
    • ‘Girls tie threads around their brothers wrists in exchange for protection and a small gift.’
    • ‘He then walked off to try to get help to exchange the coins for larger ones.’
    1. 8.1 Charged as (a price)
      ‘copies are available for £1.20’
      • ‘Limited tickets are available for $35 each.’
      • ‘Firms that do not complete and submit the online survey can purchase the report for $150.’
      • ‘According to records, he bought the house in 1998 for $1.1 million.’
      • ‘The helping was not on the generous side but what do you expect for a fiver?’
  • 9In relation to the expected norm of.

    ‘she was tall for her age’
    ‘it's quite warm for this time of year’
    • ‘The water was surprisingly cold for the time of year.’
    • ‘Alban was sturdy and tall for his age with tawny locks reaching down to his shoulders.’
    • ‘This weather is certainly unseasonal for July, with the combination of strong winds, heavy rain and depressed temperatures making it feel more like November.’
    • ‘Then the friend told me that he was told by many people that he looked unusually young for his age.’
    • ‘The number of cattle bones is said to be uniquely large for an Iron Age burial in Britain.’
    • ‘In fact I have eyes like a hawk for someone my age.’
    • ‘The risk of chromosomal abnormalities is very low for my age which is also a relief.’
  • 10Indicating the length of (a period of time)

    ‘he was jailed for 12 years’
    ‘I haven't seen him for some time’
    • ‘She paid tribute to her tutors at Footsteps where she has trained for eight years.’
    • ‘He told me that I would have to remain in the hospital for a few days to make sure there was no infection before I could go home.’
    • ‘A fleeing thief who jumped into the River Ouse in York while it was in flood has been jailed for six months.’
    • ‘You can also cook it on the stove of course, at a low heat, for about the same length of time.’
    • ‘Another teacher was employed to take the class for the remainder of the week.’
    • ‘It involves attendance at weekly two hour workshops for a period of seven weeks.’
    • ‘They are often employed on a casual basis with employment lasting for only a few days.’
    • ‘Do not stay out in the sun for lengthy periods without covering up and make sure you put on plenty of sun cream.’
    • ‘The onus is put on the student's parents to get him or her to school for the period of time the student is suspended.’
    • ‘The trial was swift and Billy found himself sentenced to prison for a term of ten years.’
    • ‘Having worked at the shop for 23 years, everyone at the store felt she had earned a break.’
    • ‘I've known him for some time and he's very committed to reform.’
    • ‘We do celebrate after matches but we can't get out of the ground because of the crowds, so we have to wait in the dressing rooms for ages.’
    • ‘Students have been able to have water bottles on their desks for three years.’
    • ‘It advised that the area be closed to new admissions straight away and it is expected to remain so for a couple of days.’
    • ‘The maternity unit itself is expected to be closed for just over three months.’
    • ‘Her parents and relations fretted over her for days as she lay in bed, burning with fever.’
    • ‘What finally pushed me to this decision was getting stuck in a tunnel on a congested train for a long period.’
    • ‘A driver who caused a crash that seriously injured two people has been jailed for eight months.’
    • ‘You may show some public sympathy and support him for a while, but in the end he has to go.’
  • 11Indicating the extent of (a distance)

    ‘he crawled for 300 yards’
    • ‘Follow the river upstream from the weir for about two hundred yards and you will come to a clearing.’
    • ‘I only used it for a few hundred yards, perilously close to a stretch of canal.’
    • ‘Head back now to the main track and follow it by your outward route for a few 100 yards to an open gate.’
    • ‘This went on for about a 100 yards when he finally asked me to wait whilst he pulled over.’
    • ‘The Colorado Trail extends for almost 500 miles between Denver and Durango and thousands of people hike at least a portion of it each year.’
    • ‘The dog has just run at full speed for 400 metres along the river bank scattering hundreds of rabbits.’
    • ‘She headed east on Highway 36 for a mile or so, then turned south on a gravel road.’
    • ‘On the way back to the hotel I got completely lost and walked for miles.’
  • 12Indicating an occasion in a series.

    ‘the camcorder failed for the third time’
    • ‘Plans for a crematorium in Radcliffe have been given the go-ahead for a third time.’
    • ‘Stay at Marlfield House just one night and you'll spend the next working out how to stay on for a third.’
    • ‘She laughed and nodded, taking Paris' hand as she walked out of the office for the last time.’
    • ‘Ken Doherty was left to rue what might have been after losing for the third time in the final of this tournament.’
    • ‘Brian, a Royal Marine home on leave in Blackburn, won the event for the third time.’
    • ‘Painter and printmaker Kirsten Baron took part in the event for the third year running.’
    • ‘I pulled out my favorite book, How to Kill a Mockingbird, and started to read it for the billionth time.’
    • ‘Officials said that for the second time in a row, ticket sales had exceeded £1m.’
    • ‘In the end it was Chris Tarrant's show which took the award for the third year running.’
    • ‘So for the third year running here's the low-down on Melas happening in your area.’
    • ‘She came back in October and set out to rearrange her wedding for a third time.’
    • ‘Accrington Stanley got back to the drawing board for the third time in as many games.’
    • ‘He crossed the Atlantic for the first time in 1932.’
    • ‘He won the Taiwan Open last week for the fourth time in a row.’
    • ‘You can do only so much bowling in the nets, and I just have to see if they are willing to take the risk for the third Test.’


  • Because; since.

    ‘he felt guilty, for he knew that he bore a share of responsibility for Fanny's death’
    • ‘I didn't know what my future held, but God did, for he brought us together only a few months later.’
    • ‘He smiled at this thought for he knew all too well that appearances were not always what they appeared to be.’
    • ‘He closed his eyes tightly and longed for death, for surely he would be dead sooner or later.’


  • be for it

    • informal Be in imminent danger of punishment or other trouble.

      • ‘We knew it would hurt; we knew we were for it in a big way.’
      • ‘If you're not careful you'll have the matron in here and if she sees the state of this skirt I'm working on I'll be for it.’
      • ‘Cook will be worried sick and Mrs Benson might very well have noticed my absence by now and I'll be for it when I get back.’
      • ‘God will get you in the end, the devil will not be able to save you from his fury, and then you will be for it.’
      • ‘‘If Sheila finds out I'll be for it,’ said Jim looking worried.’
      be punished, be blamed, take the blame, pay, suffer, suffer the consequences, pay the price
      View synonyms
  • do something for one's country (or England etc.)

    • informal Used to indicate that someone does or can do the specified activity with great enthusiasm or tirelessness.

      ‘you eating for England, Barry?’
      • ‘There are some people - some of whom I actually know - who could bore for England on the subject of cello strings, but I am not one of them.’
      • ‘I used to be greedy and could eat for England, but the great thing is I lost the weight by eating the same things but just more sensibly.’
      • ‘His natural exuberance - the man could talk for Scotland - played a large factor in his being where he is professionally.’
      • ‘They might only be young, but toddlers can sulk for Britain.’
  • for Africa

    • informal In huge numbers or quantities; galore.

      ‘I've got homework for Africa’
      • ‘The whole Taiwanese trip was ‘an experience and a privilege’ and they came back with ‘presents for Africa’.’
      • ‘There are still bottles for Africa around but in the not too distant future glass of any variety will be a thing of the past.’
  • for why

    • informal For what reason.

      ‘you're going to and I'll tell you for why’
      • ‘Not to be ungrateful, Nod, but I'd want to go into the centre of Warwick for why?’
      • ‘My wife has to be the important one in our house and I'll tell you for why.’
      • ‘But the question remains: is it any good? Well, yes it is. And I'll tell you for why.’
  • oh for —

    • I long for —

      ‘oh for a strong black coffee!’
      • ‘Oh for a broadband connection.’
      • ‘Oh for more time!’
      • ‘Oh for a government that can make decisions and spend money wisely.’
      • ‘I mean hey, I have emails to type, a blog to fiddle with and friends to talk to, oh for a job with internet access!’
      • ‘There is no electricity and running water on the island, oh for a shower!’
  • there's (or that's) — for you

    • Used ironically to indicate a particularly poor example of (a quality mentioned)

      ‘there's gratitude for you’
      • ‘Cunningham hasn't said a thing about that - there's gratitude for you.’
      • ‘And the royal family: now there's a minority group for you.’
      • ‘If this all sounds fishy, then that's boxing for you.’
      • ‘They needed the stuff immediately and didn't want to invest the time and effort to purify things (by distillation, for example - there's another wonderful job for you.)’
      • ‘Of course he'd buy six cases of bargain dog food and walk right by coffee for a quarter a pound, but that's a guy for you.’


Old English, probably a reduction of a Germanic preposition meaning ‘before’ (in place or time); related to German für, also to fore.