• Purpose


    • IPA: /ˈpɜː(ɹ)pəs/

    Origin 1

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

    Full definition of purpose



    (plural purposes)
    1. An object to be reached; a target; an aim; a goal.
      • 2013-06-07, Ed Pilkington, ‘Killer robots’ should be banned in advance, UN told, In his submission to the UN, Christof Heyns points to the experience of drones. Unmanned aerial vehicles were intended initially only for surveillance, and their use for offensive purposes was prohibited, yet once strategists realised their perceived advantages as a means of carrying out targeted killings, all objections were swept out of the way.
    2. A result that is desired; an intention.
    3. The act of intending to do something; resolution; determination.
      • 2013, Phil McNulty, "http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/23830980", BBC Sport, 1 September 2013:United began with more purpose in the early phase of the second half and Liverpool were grateful for Glen Johnson's crucial block from Young's goalbound shot.
      • 2013, Sarah Glaz, Ode to Prime Numbers, Some poems, echoing the purpose of early poetic treatises on scientific principles, attempt to elucidate the mathematical concepts that underlie prime numbers. Others play with primes’ cultural associations. Still others derive their structure from mathematical patterns involving primes.
    4. The subject of discourse; the point at issue.
    5. The reason for which something is done, or the reason it is done in a particular way.The purpose of turning off the lights overnight is to save energy.
    6. (obsolete) Instance; example.


    Origin 2

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


    1. (transitive) Have set as one's purpose; resolve to accomplish; intend; plan.
      • MacaulayI purpose to write the history of England from the accession of King James the Second down to a time which is within the memory of men still living.
    2. (transitive) (passive) Designed for some purpose.
    3. (obsolete, intransitive) To have a purpose or intention; to discourse.


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