something that is intended; purpose; design; intention: The original intent of the committee was to raise funds.
the act or fact of intending, as to do something: criminal intent.
Law. the state of a person's mind that directs his or her actions toward a specific object.
meaning or significance.

Nearby words

  1. intensity,
  2. intensive,
  3. intensive care,
  4. intensive care unit,
  5. intensively,
  6. intention,
  7. intention movement,
  8. intention spasm,
  9. intention tremor,
  10. intentional


    to/for all intents and purposes, for all practical purposes; practically speaking; virtually: The book is, to all intents and purposes, a duplication of earlier efforts.

Origin of intent

1175–1225; Middle English < Late Latin intentus an aim, purpose, Latin: a stretching out (inten(dere) to intend + -tus suffix of v. action); replacing Middle English entent(e) < Old French < Late Latin, as above

1. See intention. 2. aim, plan, plot.

Can be confusedintense intensive intents




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 intent

1600–10; < Latin intentus taut, intent, past participle of intendere to intend; cf. intense

Related formsin·tent·ly, adverbin·tent·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for intent

British Dictionary definitions for intent



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; concentratedan 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 Formsintently, adverbintentness, noun

Word Origin for intent

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

Word Origin and History for intent
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with intent


see to all intents and purposes.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.