Definition of purport in English:



  • [with infinitive] Appear to be or do something, especially falsely.

    ‘she is not the person she purports to be’
    ‘the purported marriage was void’
    • ‘The person purporting to exercise his discretion has acted in abuse or excess of his power.’
    • ‘In doing this, the government is conceding victory to the very people whom it purports to be fighting.’
    • ‘Clearly she has achieved the good life, but what about the people she purports to represent?’
    • ‘Even when it tramples all over other principles that he purports to hold dear.’
    • ‘An enquiry would have revealed that the man who opened the account was not the person he purported to be.’
    • ‘I am shocked that a newspaper which purports to serve the interests of its readers should attack such an eminent social engineer.’
    • ‘The institution of marriage they are purporting to protect is an abstraction.’
    • ‘They now deserve a decent answer from the people who got their votes, those who purported to be in a position to deliver.’
    • ‘It is part of the problem which it purports to address, rather than the solution.’
    • ‘Well, your Honour, in our submission, they were not purporting to pretend.’
    • ‘This would be an easy and lucrative way to take but, somehow, if one purports to be a local supplier, then a local supplier you have to be.’
    • ‘The mayor warned people to beware of bogus charities purporting to be collecting money for victims' families.’
    • ‘A constable had purported to arrest a person for obstruction, an offence which did not carry any power of arrest.’
    • ‘Has this man no respect for the people who he is purported to serve?’
    • ‘A person purporting to be a doctor may carry more credible messages about a new toothpaste than a television presenter, for example.’
    • ‘Note that this is a theory which purports to explain the opinions of people, not government.’
    • ‘It may be, however, that the person purporting to grant the lease proves to have a defective title himself.’
    • ‘In the programme, former jockey Osborne was approached by people purporting to be considering buying a horse from him.’
    • ‘He is held out as a director by the company, claims and purports to be a director, although never actually or validly appointed as such.’
    • ‘I was planning to write at length about the film, and the danger it poses by purporting to be an accurate representation of the truth about capitalism.’
    claim, lay claim, profess, pretend
    appear, seem
    allege that one is, assert that one is, imply that one is, maintain that one is, proclaim that one is, be apparently, be ostensibly, pose as, impersonate, pass oneself off as, be disguised as, masquerade as, feign the identity of, pass for, represent oneself as
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  • 1[mass noun] The meaning or sense of something, typically a document or speech.

    ‘I do not understand the purport of your remarks’
    • ‘This film does purport to have something to say, believe it or not.’
    • ‘The BBC now insists that Fields of Gold ‘is a fictional drama which does not purport to be a documentary’.’
    • ‘It does not purport to be definitive, but all future scholarship will have to take account of it.’
    • ‘The arguments concerning the amendment to Model Rule 1.6 purport to be about an empirical question: How will clients act under the new rule?’
    • ‘More New Zealanders will be killed by those two conditions than by smoking, in spite of the concocted figures she likes to purport are figures that represent deaths caused by smoking.’
    • ‘As to ratification, the common law rule about unbiased advice of the directors again puts that decision into the hands of the shareholders and companies' articles do not in practice purport to allocate the decision elsewhere.’
    • ‘Notably, these documents purport to describe only lawful campaign activities, and committee Democrats acknowledge they find no fault with those activities.’
    • ‘More than three dozen of these notes purport to document various fictional characters Morris scatters through his text.’
    • ‘More importantly, what on earth does that quote purport to show?’
    • ‘Mr. Hobbs submits that the subsection cannot apply where, as here, the clause under consideration defines the service to be provided and does not purport to permit substandard or partial performance.’
    • ‘The purport and effect of those documents are one of the matters in issue in this case.’
    • ‘There, in introducing and explaining the meaning and purport of Article 2 and having regard to the grave breaches system of the Geneva Conventions, reference is made to international armed conflicts.’
    • ‘Secondly, he submitted that the case had never been pleaded or presented in the court below as one falling within the exceptional category, nor did the judge purport to find that it did.’
    • ‘Do I correctly understand the purport of your submissions to be that if the Full Court should have dealt with these issues, we should go on and deal with them rather than send them back to the Full Court to deal with them now?’
    • ‘The film does not purport to be a documentary, but its depiction of the events of January 30 1972 is uncannily accurate.’
    • ‘Ordinarily, it is not sufficient to give the tenor, substance or purport of the libel or slander, or an approximation of the words, or words to a certain ‘effect’, or any other words of a similar import.’
    • ‘The purport of this motion is to adjourn the House until 2 p.m. on Tuesday, 10 February and to set the sitting days for next year.’
    • ‘The conduct or act has intrinsically no definite significance, or only an ambiguous one, and its whole legal purport or tenor is to be more precisely ascertained by considering the words accompanying it.’
    • ‘Critical analysis and constructive criticism are only possible after understanding the purport of the theme asserted.’
    • ‘That kind of message is sent for the purpose of concealing from the telegraph company, as well as all other parties, except the person to whom it is sent, the purport of the message.’
    gist, substance, drift, implication, intention, meaning, significance, signification, sense, essence, import, tenor, thrust, message, spirit
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    1. 1.1The purpose or intention of something.
      ‘the purport of existence’
      • ‘It did not purport to be a notice conveying any such intention on the part of the Secretary of State.’
      • ‘Although many use the mobile clinic as a medical home, it does not purport to have that designation.’
      • ‘Big men often purport to be powerful spirit mediums and to possess both healing powers and deadly war sorcery.’
      • ‘Unlike patent, it does not purport to draw bright lines around ideas but proscribes what is, by consensus, objectionable behavior.’
      • ‘He contended that the delay was remedied before any harm or prejudice was caused, and moreover, the defendant Vendors did not object or purport to rescind the agreement until after the breach had been remedied.’
      • ‘Under the Guarantee Boot agreed to answer for Construction's performance and observance of the Main Contract ‘according to the true purport intent and meaning thereof’.’
      • ‘But this does not affect the argument from design which, as Cleanthes admits, does not purport to show that the designer of the universe does have these characteristics.’
      • ‘Some purport to function as collections for the Frankish and Visigothic kingdoms, like the Vetus Gallica of c.700 or the Hispana, c.700, respectively.’
      intention, purpose, intent, object, objective, aim, goal, target, end, plan, scheme, design, idea, ambition, desire, wish, hope
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Late Middle English (in the sense ‘express, signify’): from Old French purporter, from medieval Latin proportare, from Latin pro- forth + portare carry, bear. The sense ‘appear to be’ dates from the late 18th century.