Definition of intent in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪnˈtɛnt/


[mass noun]
Intention or purpose: with alarm she realized his intent [count noun]: a real intent to cut back on social programmes
aim, purpose, intention, objective, object, goal, target, end;
design, plan, scheme;
resolve, resolution, determination;
wish, desire, ambition, idea, dream, aspiration, hope


1 (intent on/upon) Determined to do (something): the government was intent on achieving greater efficiency
More example sentences
  • Chip's face was firm and Kim could tell he was intent on keeping himself above water.
  • He also warned their opposition could backfire because he was now intent on deregulating the restaurant sector.
  • He said he was intent on protecting direct payments to Ireland which were worth 2 billion euro annually.
bent, set, determined, insistent, fixed, resolved, hell-bent, keen;
firm about, committed to;
single-minded about, inflexible about, obsessive about, obsessed with, fanatical about, fixated on;
determined to, resolved to, anxious to, impatient to
1.1Attentively occupied with: Gill was intent on her gardening magazine
More example sentences
  • He was very intent on this task, as if he fancied himself a latter-day St. Francis.
  • Mr McCall said the management was still ‘more intent on imposition than negotiation’.
  • But the women take no notice of their admirers, so intent are they on their own conversation.
attentive, absorbed, engrossed, fascinated, enthralled, enrapt, rapt, focused, earnest, concentrated, concentrating, intense, studious, fixed, steady, steadfast, occupied, preoccupied, wrapped up, alert, watchful, observant
2(Of a look or expression) showing earnest and eager attention: a curiously intent look on her face
More example sentences
  • She has an unsettling intent look, and seems to see things the people around her don't.
  • I was preoccupied with this useless energy when a huge man approached with an intent look on his face.
  • Danny looked up to see Cameron at the door, leaning back against it with an intent look in his eyes.



to all intents and purposes

In all important respects: a man who was to all intents and purposes illiterate
More example sentences
  • I am, to all intents and purposes, a private person.
  • It is, to all intents and purposes, an attempt to rebrand Egypt.
  • But as Harold says, to all intents and purposes, they are very accepting of Camilla.
in effect, effectively, in essence, essentially, virtually, practically, in practical terms, for all practical purposes, in all important respects;
more or less, just about, all but, as good as, in all but name, as near as dammit;
almost, nearly, verging on, bordering on, well nigh, nigh on;
South African  plus-minus
informal pretty much, pretty nearly, pretty well

with intent

Law With the intention of committing a crime: he denied arson with intent to endanger life
More example sentences
  • At an earlier hearing Carter pleaded guilty to arson with intent to endanger life.
  • That certainly could not have affected the verdict on the wounding with intent.
  • He faces charges of attempted arson and having articles with intent to destroy or damage property.



Pronunciation: /ɪnˈtɛntnəs/
Example sentences
  • With singular intentness, a procession of men carry a body.
  • ‘What do you think these aliens would look like?’ she asked with the same intentness as her first question.
  • He watched those games from the baseline underneath the basket with a level of intentness belying his youth.


Middle English: from Old French entent, entente, based on Latin intendere (see intend). The adjective is from Latin intentus, past participle of intendere.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: in¦tent

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