from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The object toward which one strives or for which something exists; an aim or goal: synonym: intention.
  • noun Determination; resolution.
  • transitive verb To intend or resolve.
  • idiom (on purpose) Intentionally; deliberately.
  • idiom (to good purpose) With good results.
  • idiom (little/no) With few or no results.

from The Century Dictionary.

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb obsolete To have a purpose or intention; to discourse.
  • transitive verb obsolete To set forth; to bring forward.
  • transitive verb 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun obsolete Proposal to another; discourse.
  • noun obsolete Instance; example.
  • noun with previous design; with the mind directed to that object; intentionally. On purpose is the form now generally used.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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


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

[Middle English purpos, from Anglo-Norman, from purposer, to intend : pur-, forth (from Latin prō-; see pro–) + poser, to put; see pose.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English purpos, from Old French purposer ("to propose"), from Latin prō ("forth") + pausāre, present active infinitive of pausō ("halt, cease, pause").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English purposen, from Old French purposer ("to propose")


The word purpose has been adopted by Darrell Estabrook.

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  • 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

  • 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

  • If something is not done on purpose it is happening by accident.

    July 20, 2015

  • All-accident flour.

    July 20, 2015

  • *snicker*

    July 21, 2015