[in-ten-shuh n]


intensification; increase in degree.
intensity; high degree.
relative intensity; degree.
exertion of the mind; determination.
Logic. (of a term) the set of attributes belonging to all and only those things to which the given term is correctly applied; connotation; comprehension.Compare extension(def 12).

Origin of intension

First recorded in 1595–1605, intension is from the Latin word intēnsiōn- (stem of intēnsiō). See intense, -ion
Related formsin·ten·sion·al, adjectivein·ten·sion·al·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for intension

Historical Examples of intension

  • In general the greater the intension the less the extension of them.

  • The woman's task is less in extension, but great in intension.


    John Dewey and James Hayden Tufts

  • In the final generalization, extension and intension coalesce.

    The Philosophy of Evolution

    Stephen H. Carpenter

  • The technical name for any meaning which is thus individualized is intension.

    How We Think

    John Dewey

  • Propositions can be understood either in extension or in intension.


    Carveth Read

British Dictionary definitions for intension



  1. the set of characteristics or properties by which the referent or referents of a given word are determined: thus, the intension of marsupial is the set containing the characteristics suckling its young and having a pouchCompare extension (def. 11a)
  2. Compare subjective intension
a rare word for intensity, determination
a rare word for intensificationSee intensification
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 intension

c.1600, from Latin intensionem (nominative intensio) "a stretching, straining, effort," noun of action from past participle stem of intendere (see intend).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper