[rey-zohn de-truh; French re-zawn de-truh]See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
noun, plural rai·sons d'ê·tre [rey-zohnz de-truh; French re-zawn de-truh] /ˈreɪ zoʊnz ˈdɛ trə; French rɛ zɔ̃ ˈdɛ trə/.
- reason or justification for being or existence: Art is the artist's raison d'être.
Origin of raison d'être
Borrowed into English from French around 1865–70
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for raison d'etre
noun plural raisons d'être (rɛzɔ̃ dɛtrə)
- reason or justification for existence
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for raison d'etre
"excuse for being," 1864, first recorded in letter of J.S. Mill, from French raison d'être, literally "rational grounds for existence."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
A basic, essential purpose; a reason to exist: “Professor Naylor argues that in the nuclear age, infantry forces have lost their raison d'être.” From French, meaning “reason for being.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.