Definition of raison d'être in English:

raison d'être

nounPlural raisons d'être

  • The most important reason or purpose for someone or something's existence.

    ‘seeking to shock is the catwalk's raison d'être’
    • ‘‘Every project has to have its own raison d'être, something that makes it unique to the catalog,’ he explains.’
    • ‘Finally, this new account of exploitation abandons what was the raison d'être of the original Marxist exploitation argument - namely, the claim that there is an inherent injustice in wage-labour.’
    • ‘After all, is this not its entire raison d'être, in contrast to the anarchy of capitalism?’
    • ‘Moreover, says Schein, the raison d'être of general management lies in getting sub-cultures to work together.’
    • ‘In the former, the raison d'être of most experiments appears to be the elucidation of points of purely scientific interest.’
    • ‘In this, the first of three explorations into what peace might mean for a small country like New Zealand, we start with the real raison d'être for our armed forces.’
    • ‘The main raison d'être for the ‘new police’ was crime prevention by regular patrol (that is, intervention in situations before crimes occurred) as well as order maintenance in the sense of crowd control.’
    • ‘We started with the real raison d'être for our armed forces.’
    responsibility, duty, concern, province, aim, activity, assignment, obligation, charge
    View synonyms


French, literally ‘reason for being’.


raison d'être

/ˌreɪzɒ̃ ˈdɛtrə//ʀɛzɔ̃ dɛtʀ/