Definition of purpose in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpərpəs/


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
More example sentences
  • Stalin expanded the system for the purpose of creating a massive labour pool.
  • If you've made an effort, you should explain the purpose and the reason behind it.
  • It was created for the purpose of promoting advancement and prosperity of our continent.
1.1A person’s sense of resolve or determination: there was a new sense of purpose in her step as she set off
More example sentences
  • We need to infuse our global leadership with a new sense of purpose and lasting resolve.
  • A powerful sense of purpose and contemporary relevance drives the website.
  • Learned grown-ups and leaders have to move with a sense of purpose, in a fixed direction.
determination, resolution, resolve, steadfastness, backbone, drive, push, enthusiasm, ambition, motivation, commitment, conviction, dedication
informal get-up-and-go
1.2 (usually 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
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • That results in their New Zealand business being thinly capitalised for tax purposes.


[with object] formal
Have as one’s intention or objective: God has allowed suffering, even purposed it
More example sentences
  • Informal or intimate talk is purposed to establish and maintain social contacts with others, making social connections, developing and reinforcing intimate relationships.
  • 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.
intend, mean, aim, plan, design, have the intention;
decide, resolve, determine, propose, aspire



on purpose

Example sentences
  • Technically speaking, the Bhopal tragedy was an accident, in that it was not done on purpose.
  • Does anybody realise that buses actually drive through the traffic jams or are they coming late on purpose just to annoy you?
  • Successful people are not gifted; they just work hard, then succeed on purpose.

to no purpose

With no result or effect; pointlessly.
Example sentences
  • A retrial would not benefit him and would result in heavy costs being incurred and court time wasted to no purpose.
  • The military were left to fight it out to no purpose whatsoever.
  • Now it has to be pursued with all vigour, usually to no purpose at all.

to the purpose

Relevant or useful: you may have heard something from them that is to the purpose
More example sentences
  • At the commencement of the mission, all material relevant to the purpose of the mission should be made available to it, with the assistance of the organization concerned.
  • Information provided needs to be accurate, current, and relevant to the purpose of the magazine.
  • More emphasis should be placed on describing interventions that are particularly relevant to the purpose of the case report.


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

Words that rhyme with purpose


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pur·pose

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