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


  • Have as one's intention or objective.

    ‘God has allowed suffering, even purposed it’
    • ‘That is the destination he has purposed for redeemed sinners.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You must repent of any callous attitude to the right use of the means God has purposed to accomplish his will.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is asserted that God, purposing to reveal himself to persons, ‘speaks to them in human words.’’
    • ‘Informal or intimate talk is purposed to establish and maintain social contacts with others, making social connections, developing and reinforcing intimate relationships.’
    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).