Meaning of purpose in English:


Pronunciation /ˈpəːpəs/

See synonyms for purpose

Translate purpose into Spanish


  • 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Can you talk about who your viewers are, what audience, or for whom are you making a film, if such a purpose exists?’
    • ‘Thus the reasons for and the purpose behind a person's detention are all-important.’
    • ‘The majority of his subject paintings concern childhood, frequently with a moral purpose.’
    • ‘It is grossly unfair and it is defeating the purpose of these meetings.’
    • ‘As we used registries created for other purposes, the data should be unbiased.’
    • ‘Remember that Kant emphasized formal features and the idea of purposiveness without a purpose.’
    • ‘Maybe the training workshop has a secondary purpose, which is to give some of us the space to let off steam.’
    • ‘They concluded in terms that she would not be prepared to attend any meeting save for the purpose of her reinstatement.’
    • ‘They understood the purpose of the meeting was to discuss incorporating a new company.’
    • ‘The student said the purpose of the meeting was to discuss how Massad could be kicked off campus.’
    • ‘The prosecution case was that the purpose of the meetings was to facilitate money laundering.’
    • ‘That gave him his certainty of purpose and defined the purpose of his politics.’
    • ‘Nor did they change my understanding as to what the purpose of the meeting had been.’
    • ‘The trust has decided to rename it Chorister's House to reflect the original purpose of the building.’
    • ‘The law says your used car must be of satisfactory quality, as described and reasonably fit for its purpose.’
    • ‘This is a reasonable choice, keeping in mind the purpose of the Act to promote animal welfare.’
    • ‘What is reasonable in a given case depends on the purpose for which the bail is demanded.’
    motive, motivation, grounds, cause, impetus, occasion, reason, point, basis, justification
    intention, aim, object, objective, goal, end, plan, scheme, target
    advantage, benefit, good, use, usefulness, value, merit, worth, gain, profit, avail, result, outcome, effect
    function, role
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1usually purposesA particular requirement or consideration, typically one that is temporary or restricted in scope or extent.
      ‘state pensions are considered as earned income for tax purposes’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The tax relief is treated for tax purposes as if it were a loss in a separate trade carried out by the owner.’
      • ‘The employer in turn can treat these passes as an expense for tax purposes.’
      • ‘The child's income is not taken into account for the purposes of the Tax Credit.’
      • ‘Any income or capital gain is treated for tax purposes as the child's.’
      • ‘You can offset the interest against the rental income for tax purposes.’
      • ‘It only took three years for the government to start using them for tax purposes.’
      • ‘As it is based on your National Insurance contributions it counts as your income for tax purposes.’
      • ‘Any matched donations you make will be allowed as a deduction against your profits for tax purposes.’
      • ‘Can you tell me when a person aged 75 is given an extra allowance for tax purposes?’
      • ‘You pay money out of the fund and it is deductible, and if it exceeds your income then you have a loss for tax purposes.’
      • ‘At Rick's request I would like your blessing of this gift transaction for UK tax purposes.’
      • ‘The depreciating effect of the gift had had a beneficial effect on the estate for inheritance tax purposes.’
      • ‘For tax purposes, a company is resident in the UK and liable to UK tax if it is registered here.’
      • ‘It is important to know whether you will be UK resident or non-resident for tax purposes.’
      • ‘He loved his game of cards and supported card games for charitable purposes.’
      • ‘It is allocated for employment purposes in the council's Unitary Development Plan.’
      • ‘This forbids politicians from using their government position for party purposes.’
  • 2mass noun A person's sense of resolve or determination.

    ‘there was a new sense of purpose in her step as she set off’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is a self-conscious feeling of insecurity about their own status and sense of purpose in society today.’
    • ‘He appealed to the teachers to inculcate human values and a sense of purpose in life among children.’
    • ‘There is a palpable new confidence and sense of purpose in the squad.’
    • ‘Duncan Smith has approached the past week with the focus and sense of purpose to be expected of a former Scots Guard.’
    • ‘It strikes me that Tunstall has two important attributes in life: sense of purpose and lack of fear.’
    • ‘Strong traditions can give you guidance, a sense of belonging and a sense of purpose in life.’
    • ‘There's a high degree of trust, a very high degree of camaraderie and sense of purpose.’
    • ‘The soldiers of the Bengal Army might have been disgruntled but they were well led and were fired by a sense of purpose.’
    • ‘In short it has no sense of purpose and responds to the glare of scrutiny like a deer caught in the head lights.’
    • ‘How he handles the tabloid tales and maintains a higher sense of purpose could be his key to a happy and fulfilled life.’
    • ‘He checked into rehab, straightened out his head and re-emerged with a new sense of purpose.’
    • ‘The midfield pairing provided Rangers with a dynamic, unrelenting sense of purpose.’
    • ‘There, amid the danger and terrible conditions, he found a new sense of purpose.’
    • ‘Looking within ourselves, we are immediately aware of our own sense of purpose and destiny.’
    • ‘It was in imparting this knowledge that teachers gained their sense of purpose.’
    • ‘He is a great man to turn up year after year and his stamina and sense of purpose is unequalled.’
    • ‘Ball believes the high rate of share ownership has contributed to a strong sense of purpose.’
    determination, resoluteness, resolution, resolve, firmness, firmness of purpose, steadfastness, backbone, drive, push, thrust, enthusiasm, ambition, initiative, enterprise, motivation, single-mindedness, commitment, conviction, dedication
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[with object] formal
  • Have as one's intention or objective.

    ‘God has allowed suffering, even purposed it’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is asserted that God, purposing to reveal himself to persons, ‘speaks to them in human words.’’
    • ‘Situated in the heart of Lusaka's Chawama township, the Chawama Youth Project has purposed to change the lives of unemployed youths into viable self-reliant and respectable people.’
    • ‘One is left to wonder if there is any shred of piety remaining in the one institution God purposed to be a life-long union but is being defiled at will.’
    • ‘You must repent of any callous attitude to the right use of the means God has purposed to accomplish his will.’
    • ‘That is the destination he has purposed for redeemed sinners.’
    intend, mean, aim, plan, design, have the intention, have in mind, have a mind
    View synonyms


    accidentally on purpose
    • Apparently by accident but in fact intentionally.

      • ‘it was not so easy for him to contrive to meet her accidentally on purpose’
      • ‘Seriously, my last passport picture was so ugly, I used to contemplate losing the passport accidentally on purpose, to get out of ten years of having to show that monstrosity to immigration officers around the world.’
      • ‘Somehow, possibly accidentally on purpose, this festival seems to have managed to almost totally exclude the student body.’
      • ‘Was that an accident, or accidentally on purpose?’
      • ‘Accordingly, she dropped her fork accidentally on purpose and gasped with false surprise.’
      • ‘Making a quick motion, she acted like she was reaching for a piece of silverware and instead accidentally on purpose knocked over the glass so the wine spilled and the glass cracked in half.’
    on purpose
    • Intentionally.

      ‘he was being annoying on purpose’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The wife thought I'd done it on purpose, so I was in the doghouse for a while.’
      • ‘I'm only glad that it was an accident and that he didn't do it on purpose.’
      • ‘Are we to think again that he doesn't understand the law, or did he hide some of the facts on purpose?’
      • ‘Firefighters believe youths who were waiting for them on the estate had started the blazes on purpose.’
      • ‘Trying to be annoying on purpose doesn't strike me as the pinnacle of political broadcasting.’
      • ‘Many within the industry and in the rail driving unions stress that no train driver runs a red light on purpose.’
      • ‘It was only later that I realised that the boy had probably done it on purpose.’
    to no purpose
    • With no result or effect; pointlessly.

      ‘there's no point in hanging about to no purpose’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A foot high girder ran around the edge of the building, probably just for insurance purposes, since it served next to no purpose.’
      • ‘She lifted her hands to push him away but to no purpose.’
      • ‘But the Chief Justice said that, if that was the case, a habeas corpus hearing could go on for weeks to no purpose.’
      • ‘They would simply be standing there risking their lives to no purpose.’
      • ‘They had possession of the ball in the lineouts and scrummage but to no purpose.’
      • ‘This speculation contains three conjectures within the space of one sentence to no purpose.’
      • ‘Your company is burning money, wasting it to no purpose other than stupidity and selfishness.’
    to the purpose
    • Relevant or useful.

      ‘you may have heard something from them which is to the purpose’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Other information was not included, such as growth and development, since it was not relevant to the purpose of the case.’
      • ‘This title bears no relevance whatsoever to the purpose of this legislation.’
      • ‘Ironically, we fear a further consequence of the legislation could be a sudden increase in the number of these guns in criminal hands, in direct opposition to the purpose of the Act.’
      • ‘Each colony has access to modern technology but they are both dedicated to the purpose of reviving their respective ancient culture.’
      • ‘An academic boycott is a political act with a political goal, and if it is unsuited to the purpose then it is bad politics.’
      • ‘It works directly counter to the purpose of a system predicated on greater democracy and enhanced representation.’
      • ‘According to this view, advertising is central to the purpose and meaning of a city street.’


Middle English from Old French porpos, from the verb porposer, variant of proposer (see propose).