Definition of for in English:


Pronunciation /fə//fɔː/


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

    ‘troops who had fought for Napoleon’
    ‘they voted for independence in a referendum’
    • ‘It is in their interests to argue for a policy of dialogue with so called rogue states.’
    • ‘Anyone who votes for them is betraying the memory of all those who fought and died fighting the Nazis.’
    • ‘It had no army capable of intervening in Europe and no politician arguing for such a policy.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It may be hackneyed to point out that people fought and died for the right to vote, but it's true all the same.’
    • ‘So folks, if you agree with my policies, please vote for me at the next general election.’
    • ‘The British public might vote for you but don't expect them to support you afterwards.’
    • ‘On the website there is the chance to vote for the favourite place in Wiltshire.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Readers were able to vote for their favourite and the tough decision came down to the judges.’
    • ‘Peter has now set up an online poll on his site, asking you to vote for your favourite.’
    • ‘The suffragettes claimed their place in social history by fighting for women to get the vote.’
    • ‘But whether you were for or against the decision when it was made, I think it is largely irrelevant now.’
    • ‘The report makes a strong case for more government funding.’
    • ‘At the time, young men were signing up in their droves to fight for their country.’
    • ‘This is a good idea and it enjoys the support of most of us who have fought for this country.’
    • ‘Four were against the proposal, three were unwilling to say and 19 were for it.’
    • ‘The war is over and, no matter whether we were for it or against it, it is now time to move on.’
    • ‘Bravery is climbing over a trench and fighting for your country in a war.’
    • ‘At that time Swindon south Tories were against the development while the north Swindon Tories 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’
    • ‘I pick my battles and have enough respect for myself to know when it is time to walk away.’
    • ‘He also learnt a new respect for further education, and those who work in it.’
    • ‘She had been missing from her home in since July 22 and her family was growing increasingly worried for her safety.’
    • ‘This is a very common problem and one that is most distressing for women of any age.’
    • ‘It was a success but due to a new demand for money, the WWF had to withdraw after one season.’
    • ‘We have been trying to give them an idea of how devastating it is for the communities affected.’
    • ‘Anyone who has ever been down a pit returns to the surface with deep respect for those who make a career of mining.’
    • ‘He had been treated for depression after a failed suicide attempt earlier in the year.’
    • ‘So we gave him a call, and luckily for us, he was available.’
    • ‘Even if every household in town had only one car, there would still not be enough space for everyone.’
    • ‘The Careers Advisory Service will be responsible for the administration of the project.’
    • ‘The family said they now hoped the media would respect their wish for privacy to be left alone to grieve.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The weather forecast for today was scattered showers with clear spells and strong winds.’
    • ‘It is not yet known whether employees will be paid for their work this month.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He said he had no firm plans for his retirement and he was keeping his options open.’
    • ‘You can make a claim via an employment tribunal for compensation if you think this has happened.’
    • ‘We knew there were problems at the car company but we did expect to be paid for the work we have done.’
    in honour of, as a tribute to, as a mark of respect to, the same as
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  • 3On behalf of or to the benefit of.

    ‘I got a present for you’
    ‘these parents aren't speaking for everyone’
    • ‘Obviously there's a business benefit for us in recycling as it cuts down the number of bags we use.’
    • ‘There is no pension scheme in operation for employees working less than twenty hours per week.’
    • ‘It is more than probable that the busy agent will employ a reader to do the job for her.’
    • ‘If you love a particular design but don't like the colour, the firm will change it for you.’
    • ‘It's always an honour to play for your country and to test yourself against some of the top teams in the world.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is nice to see people giving some of their leisure time for the benefit of others.’
    • ‘I forgot to tell you but there's a package for you downstairs in the front hall on the mail table.’
    • ‘Are you holding an event to raise money for those affected by the tsunami disaster?’
    • ‘We can bring in the expertise and we can manage that for the customers' benefit.’
    • ‘We have a flexible benefits package for women and this is a woman-friendly company.’
    • ‘One of the huge benefits for companies is the ability to make claims retrospectively.’
    • ‘She is also a noted children's author, who has written two dozen books for children.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The mayor will hold a special celebration dinner for the club tomorrow night.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So there you are - a blog that is genuinely for anyone and everyone, but mainly for me.’
    • ‘I was on my way out to buy a present for my mother.’
    1. 3.1 Employed by.
      ‘she is a tutor for the Open University’
      • ‘The nationality of the hostages and the name of the firm they work for was last night unclear.’
      • ‘He has been working for the tyre-fitting firm since he left school.’
      • ‘She is not very happy about it but she can't say too much because she works for the council.’
      • ‘I used to work for a company that developed and sold computer systems for smaller businesses.’
      • ‘You will be able to draw on your company scheme while working for the same firm.’
      • ‘Liubov worked as laundress and cook while Degaev worked for a while for a chemical firm.’
      • ‘Ms Tshabangu then went to work for a white farmer who had employed her mother.’
      • ‘He worked as a sales representative for an air conditioning company in Shrewsbury.’
      • ‘They are workers who do work for the alleged discriminator, but they are not employed by him.’
      • ‘I was asked to do the programme the year before, but I was still working for the BBC then and couldn't do it.’
      • ‘They had friends from the Asian community and had worked for an Asian employer in the past.’
  • 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.’
    • ‘Although Suzanne and Inacio travel a lot for work, they make the most of their family time together.’
    • ‘Without question, the Internet and e-mail are essential tools for conducting business in a modern world.’
    • ‘Later she asked if he could do a cartoon animated version of her, for publicity purposes.’
    • ‘Yet what if a member of one of these sites intended to use it for criminal purposes?’
    • ‘Ouch, what did you do that for?’
    • ‘Many Israelis who visit Poland for this purpose do not get to make the acquaintance of Poles.’
    • ‘This is the age of technology where a phone is no longer just a device for making and receiving calls.’
    • ‘This is fun, and can be a powerful tool for learning and exchanging information.’
    • ‘Some of these are young American adults who come to work in London for work placement purposes.’
    • ‘If there looks to be too much fat, pour some into a small bowl to use for another purpose.’
    • ‘The old doorman's room, which was not being used, was just right for the purpose, she said.’
    • ‘After lunch, Michelle and her uncle went for a walk in the park.’
    • ‘Have you ever used these fake papers to prove your identity for some purpose?’
    • ‘Hence the gardens get used for corporate functions from time to time, but that's it.’
    • ‘I arrived much too early, despite having stopped for a coffee on the way.’
    • ‘We also want the Government to make it illegal to traffic a child for any purpose.’
    • ‘It doesn't matter that you've gone out and bought this service for business purposes.’
    • ‘We have therefore stumbled on a method for calculating distances in any number of dimensions.’
    • ‘The police just give you a crime number for insurance purposes and this only puts up the premiums.’
    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’
    • ‘Women want to be respected for being women, and they want to be able to respect a man for being a man.’
    • ‘I can't bear to walk past a broken bottle or can for fear that some child may one day step on it.’
    • ‘It did not work for a variety of reasons, but the appointment was imaginative and innovative.’
    • ‘The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, gave evidence to the court via video link.’
    • ‘Our mum didn't attend the inquest for such reasons, and is now deeply distressed.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Arthur told me he was going to sue me for the way I represented him in the book.’
    • ‘We have to do this for moral reasons, and because our security depends on it.’
    • ‘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 am grateful for all his help and advice over the years.’
    • ‘I'd like to take her somewhere in the US or Europe as a surprise for her birthday.’
    • ‘She jumped up and down, shouting for joy.’
    • ‘In America, it is much harder for dissent to make such a breakthrough, for various reasons.’
    • ‘When the war ended, they were awarded the George Cross for bravery.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Now, the central African country is back in the spotlight for the right reasons.’
    • ‘The city is world famous for being home to some of the greatest rock bands.’
    cause, purpose, reason, aim, end, objective, object, goal, motive
    View synonyms
  • 6Having (the place mentioned) as a destination.

    ‘they are leaving for London tomorrow’
    • ‘The last train for Newbridge leaves Heuston at 10.45 pm, arriving at 11.20 pm.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As we left the stadium for the airport, bottles and bricks smacked against our coach.’
    • ‘He missed the following two Cup games but will leave with the team for Perth tomorrow.’
    • ‘He made the comments before leaving for Tokyo to attend Saturday's meeting of finance ministers and central bankers.’
  • 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?’
    • ‘Has he struck a Faustian pact with the devil so he gets all the money in the world in exchange for his soul.’
    • ‘In exchange for his liberation he worked hard on the great vessel as a deck hand.’
    • ‘Take a number and walk down a few stairs into the cafe and exchange the number for a red tray.’
    • ‘I wouldn't swap this job for anything.’
    • ‘All he had time to do was to exchange his regimental kilt for a pair of shorts, the better to look younger.’
    • ‘He then offers to write a story about the Air Force in exchange for being allowed a ride in a jet.’
    • ‘I now eat one biscuit instead of a packetful, but the main thing is I have swapped high-fat foods for low-fat.’
    • ‘He agreed to give evidence in return for a lighter sentence.’
    • ‘Others offered promises to build a cathedral in his honour in exchange for a donation.’
    • ‘In exchange for this, you also lose the chance of being able to benefit from a temporary fall in price.’
    • ‘He then walked off to try to get help to exchange the coins for larger ones.’
    • ‘Can you change a twenty pound note for two tens?’
    • ‘If as dealer you do not like your hand you can exchange it for the spare hand.’
    • ‘He also learns that he agreed to the memory wipe in exchange for a huge sum of money.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The food will help make up five-day meal packages handed out in exchange for a meal ticket.’
    • ‘Girls tie threads around their brothers wrists in exchange for protection and a small gift.’
    • ‘There was no denying that this was an exchange, their cash for your compliance.’
    1. 8.1 Charged as (a price)
      ‘copies are available for £1.20’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Limited tickets are available for $35 each.’
  • 9In relation to the expected norm of.

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

    ‘he was jailed for 12 years’
    ‘I haven't seen him for some time’
    • ‘They are often employed on a casual basis with employment lasting for only a few days.’
    • ‘Another teacher was employed to take the class for the remainder of the week.’
    • ‘The maternity unit itself is expected to be closed for just over three months.’
    • ‘Students have been able to have water bottles on their desks for three years.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You may show some public sympathy and support him for a while, but in the end he has to go.’
    • ‘What finally pushed me to this decision was getting stuck in a tunnel on a congested train for a long period.’
    • ‘It involves attendance at weekly two hour workshops for a period of seven weeks.’
    • ‘It advised that the area be closed to new admissions straight away and it is expected to remain so for a couple of days.’
    • ‘Her parents and relations fretted over her for days as she lay in bed, burning with fever.’
    • ‘A driver who caused a crash that seriously injured two people has been jailed for eight months.’
    • ‘Do not stay out in the sun for lengthy periods without covering up and make sure you put on plenty of sun cream.’
    • ‘She paid tribute to her tutors at Footsteps where she has trained for eight years.’
    • ‘A fleeing thief who jumped into the River Ouse in York while it was in flood has been jailed for six months.’
    • ‘The trial was swift and Billy found himself sentenced to prison for a term of ten years.’
    • ‘You can also cook it on the stove of course, at a low heat, for about the same length of time.’
    • ‘I've known him for some time and he's very committed to reform.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Having worked at the shop for 23 years, everyone at the store felt she had earned a break.’
  • 11Indicating the extent of (a distance)

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

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

      • ‘‘If Sheila finds out I'll be for it,’ said Jim looking worried.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We knew it would hurt; we knew we were for it in a big way.’
      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?’
      • ‘His natural exuberance - the man could talk for Scotland - played a large factor in his being where he is professionally.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘But the question remains: is it any good? Well, yes it is. And I'll tell you for why.’
      • ‘My wife has to be the important one in our house 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?’
  • oh for —

    • I long for —

      ‘oh for a strong black coffee!’
      • ‘There is no electricity and running water on the island, oh for a shower!’
      • ‘Oh for a broadband connection.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘Oh for a government that can make decisions and spend money wisely.’
      • ‘Oh for more time!’
  • there's (or that's) — for you

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

      ‘there's gratitude for you’
      • ‘And the royal family: now there's a minority group 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.’
      • ‘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.)’
      • ‘Cunningham hasn't said a thing about that - there's gratitude for you.’


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