Definition of purpose in English:

Share this entry


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

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.