Definition of purpose in English:



  • 1The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.

    ‘the purpose of the meeting is to appoint a trustee’
    ‘the building is no longer needed for its original purpose’
    • ‘If you've made an effort, you should explain the purpose and the reason behind it.’
    • ‘They concluded in terms that she would not be prepared to attend any meeting save for the purpose of her reinstatement.’
    • ‘As we used registries created for other purposes, the data should be unbiased.’
    • ‘The prosecution case was that the purpose of the meetings was to facilitate money laundering.’
    • ‘This is a reasonable choice, keeping in mind the purpose of the Act to promote animal welfare.’
    • ‘The law says your used car must be of satisfactory quality, as described and reasonably fit for its purpose.’
    • ‘Thus the reasons for and the purpose behind a person's detention are all-important.’
    • ‘What is reasonable in a given case depends on the purpose for which the bail is demanded.’
    • ‘It was created for the purpose of promoting advancement and prosperity of our continent.’
    • ‘Can you talk about who your viewers are, what audience, or for whom are you making a film, if such a purpose exists?’
    • ‘Nor did they change my understanding as to what the purpose of the meeting had been.’
    • ‘It is grossly unfair and it is defeating the purpose of these meetings.’
    • ‘That gave him his certainty of purpose and defined the purpose of his politics.’
    • ‘Remember that Kant emphasized formal features and the idea of purposiveness without a purpose.’
    • ‘Maybe the training workshop has a secondary purpose, which is to give some of us the space to let off steam.’
    • ‘The student said the purpose of the meeting was to discuss how Massad could be kicked off campus.’
    • ‘Stalin expanded the system for the purpose of creating a massive labour pool.’
    • ‘The trust has decided to rename it Chorister's House to reflect the original purpose of the building.’
    • ‘The majority of his subject paintings concern childhood, frequently with a moral purpose.’
    • ‘They understood the purpose of the meeting was to discuss incorporating a new company.’
    motive, motivation, grounds, cause, impetus, occasion, reason, point, basis, justification
    intention, aim, object, objective, goal, end, plan, scheme, target
    advantage, benefit, good, use, usefulness, value, merit, worth, gain, profit, avail, result, outcome, effect
    function, role
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A person's sense of resolve or determination.
      ‘there was a new sense of purpose in her step as she set off’
      • ‘He appealed to the teachers to inculcate human values and a sense of purpose in life among children.’
      • ‘Looking within ourselves, we are immediately aware of our own sense of purpose and destiny.’
      • ‘There is a palpable new confidence and sense of purpose in the squad.’
      • ‘How he handles the tabloid tales and maintains a higher sense of purpose could be his key to a happy and fulfilled life.’
      • ‘Strong traditions can give you guidance, a sense of belonging and a sense of purpose in life.’
      • ‘It strikes me that Tunstall has two important attributes in life: sense of purpose and lack of fear.’
      • ‘He is a great man to turn up year after year and his stamina and sense of purpose is unequalled.’
      • ‘He checked into rehab, straightened out his head and re-emerged with a new sense of purpose.’
      • ‘The midfield pairing provided Rangers with a dynamic, unrelenting sense of purpose.’
      • ‘There's a high degree of trust, a very high degree of camaraderie and sense of purpose.’
      • ‘There, amid the danger and terrible conditions, he found a new sense of purpose.’
      • ‘Ball believes the high rate of share ownership has contributed to a strong sense of purpose.’
      • ‘Duncan Smith has approached the past week with the focus and sense of purpose to be expected of a former Scots Guard.’
      • ‘In short it has no sense of purpose and responds to the glare of scrutiny like a deer caught in the head lights.’
      • ‘A powerful sense of purpose and contemporary relevance drives the website.’
      • ‘It is a self-conscious feeling of insecurity about their own status and sense of purpose in society today.’
      • ‘The soldiers of the Bengal Army might have been disgruntled but they were well led and were fired by a sense of purpose.’
      • ‘Learned grown-ups and leaders have to move with a sense of purpose, in a fixed direction.’
      • ‘It was in imparting this knowledge that teachers gained their sense of purpose.’
      • ‘We need to infuse our global leadership with a new sense of purpose and lasting resolve.’
      determination, resoluteness, resolution, resolve, steadfastness, backbone, drive, push, thrust, enthusiasm, ambition, initiative, enterprise, motivation, single-mindedness, commitment, conviction, dedication
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2usually purposes A particular requirement or consideration, typically one that is temporary or restricted in scope or extent.
      ‘pensions are considered as earned income for tax purposes’
      • ‘The employer in turn can treat these passes as an expense for tax purposes.’
      • ‘Access to the system is restricted to the sole purposes stated in the Regulation.’
      • ‘Railways were among the first business entities to be brought within central supervision for tax purposes.’
      • ‘It is important to know whether you will be UK resident or non-resident for tax purposes.’
      • ‘You pay money out of the fund and it is deductible, and if it exceeds your income then you have a loss for tax purposes.’
      • ‘The depreciating effect of the gift had had a beneficial effect on the estate for inheritance tax purposes.’
      • ‘It only took three years for the government to start using them for tax purposes.’
      • ‘At Rick's request I would like your blessing of this gift transaction for UK tax purposes.’
      • ‘He loved his game of cards and supported card games for charitable purposes.’
      • ‘It is allocated for employment purposes in the council's Unitary Development Plan.’
      • ‘The tax relief is treated for tax purposes as if it were a loss in a separate trade carried out by the owner.’
      • ‘You can offset the interest against the rental income for tax purposes.’
      • ‘Any matched donations you make will be allowed as a deduction against your profits for tax purposes.’
      • ‘Any income or capital gain is treated for tax purposes as the child's.’
      • ‘That results in their New Zealand business being thinly capitalised for tax purposes.’
      • ‘Can you tell me when a person aged 75 is given an extra allowance for tax purposes?’
      • ‘For tax purposes, a company is resident in the UK and liable to UK tax if it is registered here.’
      • ‘As it is based on your National Insurance contributions it counts as your income for tax purposes.’
      • ‘This forbids politicians from using their government position for party purposes.’
      • ‘The child's income is not taken into account for the purposes of the Tax Credit.’


  • Have as one's intention or objective.

    ‘God has allowed suffering, even purposed it’
    • ‘It is asserted that God, purposing to reveal himself to persons, ‘speaks to them in human words.’’
    • ‘One is left to wonder if there is any shred of piety remaining in the one institution God purposed to be a life-long union but is being defiled at will.’
    • ‘That is the destination he has purposed for redeemed sinners.’
    • ‘This artful temple was purposed to inspire, still and deeply touch the traveller.’
    • ‘This lane is purposed to speed the transport of vehicles who were deliberate about pooling resources, and conserving time and energy.’
    • ‘Situated in the heart of Lusaka's Chawama township, the Chawama Youth Project has purposed to change the lives of unemployed youths into viable self-reliant and respectable people.’
    • ‘Informal or intimate talk is purposed to establish and maintain social contacts with others, making social connections, developing and reinforcing intimate relationships.’
    • ‘You must repent of any callous attitude to the right use of the means God has purposed to accomplish his will.’
    intend, mean, aim, plan, design, have the intention, have in mind, have a mind
    decide, resolve, determine, propose, have plans, set out, aspire, desire, want, wish, expect, hope
    set one's sights on, have in view, contemplate, think of
    View synonyms


Middle English: from Old French porpos, from the verb porposer, variant of proposer (see propose).