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[in-tent] /ɪnˈtɛnt/
firmly or steadfastly fixed or directed, as the eyes or mind:
an intent gaze.
having the attention sharply focused or fixed on something:
intent on one's job.
determined or resolved; having the mind or will fixed on some goal:
intent on revenge.
earnest; intense:
an intent person.
Origin of intent2
1600-10; < Latin intentus taut, intent, past participle of intendere to intend; cf. intense
Related forms
intently, adverb
intentness, noun
1, 2. concentrated. 3. resolute, set.
3. irresolute. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for intentness
Historical Examples
  • The regard they fixed on his face was baleful in its intentness.

  • All the while I looked at him steadily, until his eyes began to lose their intentness.

    Wood Folk at School William J. Long
  • His vision was not unconscious of her presence; he stared at her with intentness.

    Tancred Benjamin Disraeli
  • Beneath the intentness of the scrutiny Ellen colored uneasily.

    The Wall Between

    Sara Ware Bassett
  • All the factors were present to him and he dwelt upon them with intentness.

    Gulmore, The Boss Frank Harris
  • By the intentness of their gaze it was evident that all were willing enough to look.

    The Lady Doc

    Caroline Lockhart
  • She was a wonderful listener, sympathetic in her intentness.

    Carl and the Cotton Gin

    Sara Ware Bassett
  • She was looking at him with an intentness which was almost tragical.

    The Double Four E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • Sir Hugh and the baby eyed each other, with some intentness.

    Amabel Channice Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  • For the past two weeks, he had watched her with an intentness that was embarrassing.

    The Scarlet Feather Houghton Townley
British Dictionary definitions for intentness


something that is intended; aim; purpose; design
the act of intending
(law) the will or purpose with which one does an act
implicit meaning; connotation
to all intents and purposes, for all practical purposes; virtually
firmly fixed; determined; concentrated: an intent look
(postpositive; usually foll by on or upon) having the fixed intention (of); directing one's mind or energy (to): intent on committing a crime
Derived Forms
intently, adverb
intentness, noun
Word Origin
C13 (in the sense: intention): from Late Latin intentus aim, intent, from Latin: a stretching out; see intend
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 intentness



"purpose," early 13c., from Old French entente, from Latin intentus "a stretching out," in Late Latin "intention, attention," noun use of past participle of intendere "stretch out, lean toward, strain," literally "to stretch out" (see intend).



"very attentive," late 14c., from Latin intentus "attentive, eager, waiting, strained," past participle of intendere "to strain, stretch" (see intend). Related: Intently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with intentness
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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