[fawr; unstressed fer]
See more synonyms for for on
  1. with the object or purpose of: to run for exercise.
  2. intended to belong to, or be used in connection with: equipment for the army; a closet for dishes.
  3. suiting the purposes or needs of: medicine for the aged.
  4. in order to obtain, gain, or acquire: a suit for alimony; to work for wages.
  5. (used to express a wish, as of something to be experienced or obtained): O, for a cold drink!
  6. sensitive or responsive to: an eye for beauty.
  7. desirous of: a longing for something; a taste for fancy clothes.
  8. in consideration or payment of; in return for: three for a dollar; to be thanked for one's efforts.
  9. appropriate or adapted to: a subject for speculation; clothes for winter.
  10. with regard or respect to: pressed for time; too warm for April.
  11. during the continuance of: for a long time.
  12. in favor of; on the side of: to be for honest government.
  13. in place of; instead of: a substitute for butter.
  14. in the interest of; on behalf of: to act for a client.
  15. in exchange for; as an offset to: blow for blow; money for goods.
  16. in punishment of: payment for the crime.
  17. in honor of: to give a dinner for a person.
  18. with the purpose of reaching: to start for London.
  19. contributive to: for the advantage of everybody.
  20. in order to save: to flee for one's life.
  21. in order to become: to train recruits for soldiers.
  22. in assignment or attribution to: an appointment for the afternoon; That's for you to decide.
  23. such as to allow of or to require: too many for separate mention.
  24. such as results in: his reason for going.
  25. as affecting the interests or circumstances of: bad for one's health.
  26. in proportion or with reference to: He is tall for his age.
  27. in the character of; as being: to know a thing for a fact.
  28. by reason of; because of: to shout for joy; a city famed for its beauty.
  29. in spite of: He's a decent guy for all that.
  30. to the extent or amount of: to walk for a mile.
  31. (used to introduce a subject in an infinitive phrase): It's time for me to go.
  32. (used to indicate the number of successes out of a specified number of attempts): The batter was 2 for 4 in the game.
  1. seeing that; since.
  2. because.
  1. for it, British. in(def 32).

Origin of for

before 900; Middle English, Old English; cognate with Old Saxon for; akin to fore1, Latin per through, Greek pró before, ahead
Can be confusedfor fore four

Synonym study

33. See because.


  1. a prefix meaning “away,” “off,” “to the uttermost,” “extremely,” “wrongly,” or imparting a negative or privative force, occurring in verbs and nouns formed from verbs of Old or Middle English origin, many of which are now obsolete or archaic: forbid; forbear; forswear; forbearance.

Origin of for-

Middle English, Old English; compare German ver-, Greek peri-, Latin per-




or f.o.r.

  1. free on rails. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for for


  1. intended to reach; directed or belonging tothere's a phone call for you
  2. to the advantage ofI only did it for you
  3. in the direction ofheading for the border
  4. over a span of (time or distance)working for six days; the river ran for six miles
  5. in favour of; in support ofthose for the proposal; vote for me
  6. in order to get or achieveI do it for money; he does it for pleasure; what did you do that for?
  7. appropriate to; designed to meet the needs of; meant to be used inthese kennels are for puppies
  8. in exchange for; at a cost of; to the amount ofI got it for hardly any money
  9. such as explains or results inhis reason for changing his job was not given
  10. in place ofa substitute for the injured player
  11. because of; throughshe wept for pure relief
  12. with regard or consideration to the usual characteristics ofhe's short for a man; it's cool for this time of year
  13. concerning; as regardsdesire for money
  14. as beingwe took him for the owner; I know that for a fact
  15. at a specified timea date for the next evening
  16. to do or partake ofan appointment for supper
  17. in the duty or task ofthat's for him to say
  18. to allow oftoo big a job for us to handle
  19. despite; notwithstandingshe's a good wife, for all her nagging
  20. in order to preserve, retain, etcto fight for survival
  21. as a direct equivalent toword for word; weight for weight
  22. in order to become or enterto go for a soldier; to train for the priesthood
  23. in recompense forI paid for it last week; he took the punishment for his crime
  24. for it British informal liable for punishment or blameyou'll be for it if she catches you
  25. nothing for it no choice; no other course
  1. (coordinating) for the following reason; because; seeing thatI couldn't stay, for the area was violent

Word Origin for for

Old English; related to Old Norse fyr for, Old High German fora before, Latin per through, prō before, Greek pro before, in front


  1. indicating rejection or prohibitionforbear; forbid
  2. indicating falsity or wrongnessforswear
  3. used to give intensive forceforgive; forlorn

Word Origin for for-

Old English for-; related to German ver-, Latin per-, Greek peri-



abbreviation for
  1. free on rail
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

Word Origin and History for for

Old English for "for, before, on account of," from Proto-Germanic *fura (cf. Old Saxon furi "before," Old Frisian for, Middle Dutch vore, Dutch voor "for, before;" German für "for;" Danish for "for," før "before;" Gothic faur "for," faura "before"); see fore (adv.).

Use of for and fore gradually was differentiated in Middle English. Its use alone as a conjunction (not found before 12c.) probably is a shortening of common Old English phrases such as for þon þy "therefore," literally "for the (reason) that."


prefix usually meaning "away, opposite, completely," from Old English for-, indicating loss or destruction, or completion, also used as an intensive or pejorative element, which is related to Old Norse for-, Dutch ver-, Old High German fir-, German ver-; from PIE *pr-, from root *per- (1) "forward, through" (see per). Probably originally in Germanic with a sense of "forward, forth," but with complex sense developments in the various languages. Ultimately from the same root as fore (adv.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with for


In addition to the idioms beginning with for

  • for a change
  • for all
  • for all intents and purposes
  • for all one is worth
  • for all that
  • for all the world
  • for a loop
  • for a song
  • for a wonder
  • for better or for worse
  • for certain
  • for chicken feed
  • for crying out loud
  • for days on end
  • for dear life
  • fore and aft
  • for example
  • for fear of
  • for free
  • for fun
  • for God's sake
  • for good
  • for good measure
  • for heaven's sake
  • for keeps
  • for love or money
  • for one
  • for one's money
  • for one's pains
  • for one's part
  • for one's sake
  • for one thing
  • for openers
  • for Pete's sake
  • for real
  • for shame
  • for short
  • for show
  • for starters
  • for sure
  • for that matter
  • for the asking
  • for the best
  • for the birds
  • for the hell of it
  • for the life of one
  • for the love of
  • for the moment
  • for the most part
  • for the present
  • for the record
  • for the sake of
  • for the time being
  • for two cents
  • for what it's worth

also see:

  • all for
  • as for
  • but for
  • do for
  • done for
  • except for
  • go for
  • going for
  • good for
  • in for
  • out for
  • uncalled for
  • what for
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.