Definition of for in English:

for

Line breaks: for
Pronunciation: /fɔː
 
, fə
 
/

preposition

1In support of or in favour of (a person or policy): troops who had fought for Napoleon they voted for independence in a referendum
More example sentences
  • So folks, if you agree with my policies, please vote for me at the next general election.
  • It may be hackneyed to point out that people fought and died for the right to vote, but it's true all the same.
  • This is a good idea and it enjoys the support of most of us who have fought for this country.
2Affecting, with regard to, or in respect of: she is responsible for the efficient running of their department the demand for money
More example sentences
  • It was a success but due to a new demand for money, the WWF had to withdraw after one season.
  • He also learnt a new respect for further education, and those who work in it.
  • Anyone who has ever been down a pit returns to the surface with deep respect for those who make a career of mining.
3On behalf of or to the benefit of: I got a present for you these parents aren’t speaking for everyone
More example sentences
  • It is nice to see people giving some of their leisure time for the benefit of others.
  • We can bring in the expertise and we can manage that for the customers' benefit.
  • We have a flexible benefits package for women and this is a woman-friendly company.
3.1Employed by: she is a tutor for the Open University
More example sentences
  • He has been working for the tyre-fitting firm since he left school.
  • You will be able to draw on your company scheme while working for the same firm.
  • The nationality of the hostages and the name of the firm they work for was last night unclear.
4Having (the thing mentioned) as a purpose or function: networks for the exchange of information the necessary tools for making a picture frame
More example sentences
  • This is fun, and can be a powerful tool for learning and exchanging information.
  • The old doorman's room, which was not being used, was just right for the purpose, she said.
  • Have you ever used these fake papers to prove your identity for some purpose?
5Having (the thing mentioned) as a reason or cause: Aileen is proud of her family for their support I could dance and sing for joy
More example sentences
  • The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, gave evidence to the court via video link.
  • In America, it is much harder for dissent to make such a breakthrough, for various reasons.
  • We have to do this for moral reasons, and because our security depends on it.
6Having (the place mentioned) as a destination: they are leaving for London tomorrow
More example sentences
  • He missed the following two Cup games but will leave with the team for Perth tomorrow.
  • As we left the stadium for the airport, bottles and bricks smacked against our coach.
  • The survivors, who are Spanish and Portuguese, are expected to leave for home today.
7Representing (the thing mentioned): the ‘F’ is for Fascinating
More example sentences
  • The ‘T’ is for telecommunications.
  • The initials C.P.R. stand for Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation.
8In place of or in exchange for: will you swap these two bottles for that one?
More example sentences
  • There was no denying that this was an exchange, their cash for your compliance.
  • He then walked off to try to get help to exchange the coins for larger ones.
  • The food will help make up five-day meal packages handed out in exchange for a meal ticket.
8.1Charged as (a price): copies are available for £1.20
More example sentences
  • The helping was not on the generous side but what do you expect for a fiver?
  • Limited tickets are available for $35 each.
  • Firms that do not complete and submit the online survey can purchase the report for $150.
9In relation to the expected norm of: she was tall for her age it’s quite warm for this time of year
More example sentences
  • Alban was sturdy and tall for his age with tawny locks reaching down to his shoulders.
  • In fact I have eyes like a hawk for someone my age.
  • The number of cattle bones is said to be uniquely large for an Iron Age burial in Britain.
10Indicating the length of (a period of time): he was jailed for 12 years I haven’t seen him for some time
More example sentences
  • Do not stay out in the sun for lengthy periods without covering up and make sure you put on plenty of sun cream.
  • The onus is put on the student's parents to get him or her to school for the period of time the student is suspended.
  • What finally pushed me to this decision was getting stuck in a tunnel on a congested train for a long period.
11Indicating the extent of (a distance): he crawled for 300 yards
More example sentences
  • I only used it for a few hundred yards, perilously close to a stretch of canal.
  • Head back now to the main track and follow it by your outward route for a few 100 yards to an open gate.
  • This went on for about a 100 yards when he finally asked me to wait whilst he pulled over.
12Indicating an occasion in a series: the camcorder failed for the third time
More example sentences
  • So for the third year running here's the low-down on Melas happening in your area.
  • Brian, a Royal Marine home on leave in Blackburn, won the event for the third time.
  • Stay at Marlfield House just one night and you'll spend the next working out how to stay on for a third.

conjunction

literary Back to top  
Because; since: he felt guilty, for he knew that he bore a share of responsibility for Fanny’s death
More example sentences
  • He smiled at this thought for he knew all too well that appearances were not always what they appeared to be.
  • He closed his eyes tightly and longed for death, for surely he would be dead sooner or later.
  • I didn't know what my future held, but God did, for he brought us together only a few months later.

Origin

Old English, probably a reduction of a Germanic preposition meaning 'before' (in place or time); related to German für, also to fore.

Phrases

be for it

British informal Be in imminent danger of punishment or other trouble.
More example sentences
  • We knew it would hurt; we knew we were for it in a big way.
  • God will get you in the end, the devil will not be able to save you from his fury, and then you will be for it.
  • If you're not careful you'll have the matron in here and if she sees the state of this skirt I'm working on I'll be for it.

do something for one's country (or England etc.)

British informal Used to indicate that someone does or can do the specified activity with great enthusiasm or tirelessness: you eating for England, Barry?
More example sentences
  • I used to be greedy and could eat for England, but the great thing is I lost the weight by eating the same things but just more sensibly.
  • There are some people - some of whom I actually know - who could bore for England on the subject of cello strings, but I am not one of them.
  • They might only be young, but toddlers can sulk for Britain.

for Africa

South African informal In huge numbers or quantities; galore: I’ve got homework for Africa
More example sentences
  • There are still bottles for Africa around but in the not too distant future glass of any variety will be a thing of the past.
  • The whole Taiwanese trip was ‘an experience and a privilege’ and they came back with ‘presents for Africa’.

for all ——

see all.

for ever

for why

informal For what reason: you’re going to and I’ll tell you for why
More example sentences
  • Not to be ungrateful, Nod, but I'd want to go into the centre of Warwick for why?
  • But the question remains: is it any good? Well, yes it is. And I'll tell you for why.
  • My wife has to be the important one in our house and I'll tell you for why.

oh for ——

I long for ——: oh for a strong black coffee!
More example sentences
  • Oh for a broadband connection.
  • Oh for more time!
  • There is no electricity and running water on the island, oh for a shower!

there's (or that's) —— for you

Used ironically to indicate a particularly poor example of (a quality mentioned): there’s gratitude for you
More example sentences
  • They needed the stuff immediately and didn't want to invest the time and effort to purify things (by distillation, for example - there's another wonderful job for you.)
  • And the royal family: now there's a minority group for you.
  • Of course he'd buy six cases of bargain dog food and walk right by coffee for a quarter a pound, but that's a guy for you.

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Pronunciation: ˈwīzˌākər
noun
a know-it-all…