Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The object toward which one strives or for which something exists; an aim or a goal: "And ever those, who would enjoyment gain/Must find it in the purpose they pursue” ( Sarah Josepha Hale).
  • n. A result or effect that is intended or desired; an intention. See Synonyms at intention.
  • n. Determination; resolution: He was a man of purpose.
  • n. The matter at hand; the point at issue.
  • transitive v. To intend or resolve to perform or accomplish.
  • idiom on purpose Intentionally; deliberately.
  • idiom to good purpose With good results.
  • idiom little With few or no results.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An object to be reached; a target; an aim; a goal.
  • n. A result that is desired; an intention.
  • n. The act of intending to do something; resolution; determination.
  • n. The subject of discourse; the point at issue.
  • n. The reason for which something is done, or the reason it is done in a particular way.
  • v. Have set as one's purpose; resolve to accomplish; intend; plan.
  • v. (passive) Designed for some purpose.
  • v. To have a purpose or intention; to discourse.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. That which a person sets before himself as an object to be reached or accomplished; the end or aim to which the view is directed in any plan, measure, or exertion; view; aim; design; intention; plan.
  • n. Proposal to another; discourse.
  • n. Instance; example.
  • intransitive v. To have a purpose or intention; to discourse.
  • transitive v. To set forth; to bring forward.
  • transitive v. To propose, as an aim, to one's self; to determine upon, as some end or object to be accomplished; to intend; to design; to resolve; -- often followed by an infinitive or dependent clause.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To propose; intend; design; mean: generally with an infinitive.
  • To resolve; determine, or determine on.
  • Synonyms To mean, meditate.
  • To have intention or design; intend; mean.
  • To discourse.
  • n. A thing proposed or intended; an object to be kept in view or subserved in any operation or course of action; end proposed; aim.
  • n. Proposition; proposal; point to be considered or acted upon.
  • n. Hence Intended or desired effect; practical advantage or result; use; subject or matter in hand; question at issue: as, to speak to the purpose.
  • n. Intention; design; resolve; resolution; determination.
  • n. Import; meaning: purport; intent.
  • n. Discourse; conversation.
  • n. Instance; example.
  • n. plural A sort of conversational game. Compare cross-purpose, 2.
  • n. A dance resembling a cotillion, a characteristic feature of which was the introduction of confidential or coquettish conversation.
  • n. In biology, the result which a structure tends to secure, without any reference to an intelligent agent.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an anticipated outcome that is intended or that guides your planned actions
  • v. propose or intend
  • v. reach a decision
  • n. what something is used for
  • n. the quality of being determined to do or achieve something; firmness of purpose

Etymologies

Middle English purpos, from Anglo-Norman, from purposer, to intend : pur-, forth (from Latin prō-; see pro-1) + poser, to put; see pose1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English purpos, from Old French purposer ("to propose"), from Latin prō ("forth") + pausāre, present active infinitive of pausō ("halt, cease, pause"). (Wiktionary)
From Middle English purposen, from Old French purposer ("to propose") (Wiktionary)

Examples

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Comments

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  • the point of ones life. a reason one gives for being and continuing in this life. if there is no purpose or meaning than what is the point of life. is it necessary to have purpose in order to want to stay alive?

    May 3, 2011

  • There's something strange and troubling about this word. In modern usage, "purpose" is a noun, and yet it take affixes as if it were some other part of speech.

    Example 1: "Purposely". The suffix "-ly" is supposed to take an adjective and turn it into an adverb. But "purpose" is not an adjective.

    Example 2: "Repurpose". The prefix "re-" is supposed to take a verb and turn it into another verb. But "purpose" is not a verb.

    This is really creepy. "Purpose" is some kind of uncanny monster. I'm getting the cold shivers just thinking about it.

    June 21, 2009