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[pur-puh s-fuh l] /ˈpɜr pəs fəl/
having a purpose.
determined; resolute.
full of meaning; significant.
Origin of purposeful
First recorded in 1850-55; purpose + -ful
Related forms
purposefully, adverb
purposefulness, noun
Can be confused
purposefully, purposely. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for purposefulness
Historical Examples
  • He was looking for others who shared not only his viewpoint but his purposefulness.

    This Crowded Earth Robert Bloch
  • She saw his tenderness, his purposefulness, the bigness of his mind and spirit.

    The Heart of the Desert

    Honor Willsie Morrow
  • They had retrieved their own weapons, and they advanced upon Roddy with a purposefulness that seemed horrible to him.

    Penrod and Sam Booth Tarkington
  • She knew that if she relaxed her purposefulness for an instant the love for him would rush over her, weaken her.

    The Seventh Man Max Brand
  • There was a sort of contagion of purposefulness in this eccentric small group on the Esperance.

    Creatures of the Abyss Murray Leinster
  • And it has been used in the war with a purposefulness of aim and a versatility of method that betoken long and systematic study.

    Raemaekers' Cartoons Louis Raemaekers
  • Men of ferocious concentration and women detestable in their purposefulness were to be seen through the passing windows.

  • The marvel she inspired in him deepened daily, so wonderful seemed her purposefulness, her energy, her faith in herself.

    Cleo The Magnificent

    Louis Zangwill
British Dictionary definitions for purposefulness


having a definite purpose in view
fixed in one's purpose; determined
Derived Forms
purposefully, adverb
purposefulness, noun
Usage note
Purposefully is sometimes wrongly used where purposely is meant: he had purposely (not purposefully) left the door unlocked
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 purposefulness



1835, from purpose (n.) + -ful. Related: Purposefully.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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