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[in-ten-shuh n] /ɪnˈtɛn ʃən/
an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.
the end or object intended; purpose.
  1. purpose or attitude toward the effect of one's actions or conduct:
    a bungler with good intentions.
  2. purpose or attitude with respect to marriage:
    Our friends are beginning to ask what our intentions are.
the act or fact of intending.
  1. Also called first intention, primary intention. reference by signs, concepts, etc., to concrete things, their properties, classes, or the relationships among them.
  2. Also called second intention, secondary intention. reference to properties, classes, or the relationships among first intentions.
Surgery, Medicine/Medical. a manner or process of healing, as in the healing of a lesion or fracture without granulation (healing by first intention) or the healing of a wound by granulation after suppuration (healing by second intention)
meaning or significance:
The intention of his words was clear.
the person or thing meant to benefit from a prayer or religious offering.
Archaic. intentness.
Origin of intention
1300-50; Middle English intencio(u)n < Latin intentiōn- (stem of intentiō). See intent2, -ion
Related forms
intentionless, adjective
misintention, noun
preintention, noun
subintention, noun
2. goal. Intention, intent, purpose all refer to a wish that one means to carry out. Intention is the general word: His intention is good. Intent is chiefly legal or literary: attack with intent to kill. Purpose implies having a goal or determination to achieve something: Her strong sense of purpose is reflected in her studies. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for intention
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Now, so there will be no misunderstanding, it is not my intention to do away with government.

  • The intention is, I tell you plainly, to mortify you into a sense of your duty.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • She could feel its false precision, its intention, its repulse of her.

  • He turned toward the hall door as if with the intention of lighting the chandelier.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
  • And, if it's any comfort to you, I have no intention of interfering in any way.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
British Dictionary definitions for intention


a purpose or goal; aim: it is his intention to reform
(law) the resolve or design with which a person does or refrains from doing an act, a necessary ingredient of certain offences
(med) a natural healing process, as by first intention, in which the edges of a wound cling together with no tissue between, or by second intention, in which the wound edges adhere with granulation tissue
(usually pl) design or purpose with respect to a proposal of marriage (esp in the phrase honourable intentions)
an archaic word for meaning, intentness
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for intention

mid-14c., from Old French entencion "stretching, intensity, will, thought" (12c.), from Latin intentionem (nominative intentio) "a stretching out, straining, exertion, effort; attention," noun of action from intendere "to turn one's attention," literally "to stretch out" (see intend).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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intention in Medicine

intention in·ten·tion (ĭn-těn'shən)

  1. An aim that guides action.

  2. The process by which or the manner in which a wound heals.

in·ten'tion·al adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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