Definitions

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

  • adjective Having or serving a purpose.
  • adjective Purposeful.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Having an aim or purpose; having an end in view; purposeful.
  • Accomplishing some end; functional; useful in animal or vegetable economy: applied in biology to parts and organs which are not rudimentary or vestigial, and may therefore be regarded as teleological.

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

  • adjective Having or indicating purpose or design.

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

  • adjective having or showing or acting with a purpose or design
  • adjective having a purpose

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From purpose +‎ -ive. Compare purpositive.

Examples

  • There is, moreover, a scientific view and method regarding what he calls the purposive view which he overlooks entirely, and which by emphasis of the causal, makes seemingly impossible.

    The New Avatar and The Destiny of the Soul The Findings of Natural Science Reduced to Practical Studies in Psychology

  • * Behavior which is merely “functional” but not purposive, that is, behavior that is useful as judged by observers but unbeknown to the actor, nor deliberately sought by the actor, is not rational in the terms used here and by many others.

    THE MORAL DIMENSION

  • * Behavior which is merely “functional” but not purposive, that is, behavior that is useful as judged by observers but unbeknown to the actor, nor deliberately sought by the actor, is not rational in the terms used here and by many others.

    THE MORAL DIMENSION

  • Thus we see that while physical causation is still thought to be basic, it is the notion of purposive causa - tion, and of legal policy (the law's purposes) that mod - ern lawyers think of when the idea of legal causation comes to mind.

    CAUSATION IN LAW

  • If Mr. Spencer's "Infinite and Eternal Energy, from which all things proceed" is purposive, that is equivalent to saying that God is what we mean by personal.

    Problems of Immanence: studies critical and constructive

  • On the other hand: nothing better expresses the idea of purposive, responsible, and self-directed guidance of the reproductive powers.

    The Pivot of Civilization

  • Experiment shows that a frog deprived of consciousness and volition by the removal of the front part of its brain, will, under the action of various stimuli, perform many acts which can only be called purposive, such as moving to recover its balance when the board on which it stands is inclined, or scratching where it is made uncomfortable, or croaking when pressed in a particular spot.

    The Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley

  • Experiment shows that a frog deprived of consciousness and volition by the removal of the front part of its brain, will, under the action of various stimuli, perform many acts which can only be called purposive, such as moving to recover its balance when the board on which it stands is inclined, or scratching where it is made uncomfortable, or croaking when pressed in a particular spot.

    Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley — Volume 1

  • U.S. psychologist who developed a system of psychology known as purposive, or molar, behaviourism, which attempts to explore the entire action of the total organism.

    Nothingandall

  • Methodism has, in its tradition, a strong streak of "purposive" endeavors -- study, prayer, and physical exercise were among the things in which one engaged because they pursued a purpose, namely to attain the goal of a blessed life.

    TEXAS FAITH: What do your spiritual paths say about the role of play? | RELIGION Blog | dallasnews.com

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