Date: 1200-1300
Language: Old French
Origin: purpos, from purposer 'to intend', from Latin proponere; PROPOUND


pur‧pose S1 W3
1 [countable usually singular] the purpose of something is what it is intended to achieve
purpose of
The purpose of this meeting is to elect a new chairman.
What is the purpose of your visit?
the purpose of doing something
The purpose of conducting a business is to make money.
for/with the purpose of doing something
Troops were sent solely for the purpose of assisting refugees.
He came here with the purpose of carrying out the attack.
sole/primary/main etc purpose
The protection of children is the primary purpose of this legislation.


[plural] the reasons that explain why something is needed or why it is considered in a particular way
Several of the items had religious purposes.
for medical/political/decorative etc purposes
It should be legitimate to use cannabis for medical purposes.
For tax purposes, you will be treated as a married couple.
The details are, for the present purposes, irrelevant.
for the purposes of something
For the purposes of this book, America is taken to include the continent north of Mexico.
3 [countable] a plan or aim:
somebody's purpose in doing something
Attending the race was not my purpose in coming to Indianapolis.
serve a purpose (=achieve a particular aim)
It would serve no useful purpose to re-open the investigation.

on purpose

do something on purpose
You make it sound as if I did it on purpose!


[uncountable] a feeling of determination to achieve things in life:
It's so important to have a sense of purpose that it underlies human happiness.
My football career was over and I had no purpose in life.

for all practical purposes

also to all intents and purposes used to say that something is so close to the truth that it can be considered to be the truth:
The war, to all intents and purposes, was over.
We have a Secretary of State for Scotland who is for all practical purposes a Scottish Prime Minister.

serve its purpose

if something has served its purpose, it has done what you needed it to do:
We delete the data once it has served its purpose.

defeat the purpose

to fail to achieve the result you want:
Anxiety will cause tension, which defeats the purpose of the exercise (=the activity or plan).

to no purpose

formal without any useful results:
She called after them, but to no purpose.

to the purpose

old-fashioned useful or helpful

Dictionary results for "purpose"
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