[pur-puh s-fuh l]


having a purpose.
determined; resolute.
full of meaning; significant.

Origin of purposeful

First recorded in 1850–55; purpose + -ful
Related formspur·pose·ful·ly, adverbpur·pose·ful·ness, noun
Can be confusedpurposefully purposely
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for purposefully

Contemporary Examples of purposefully

Historical Examples of purposefully

  • Then the figure moved forward again, cautiously, purposefully.

    The Monster

    S. M. Tenneshaw

  • Every word was purposefully clear, and at the end she paused invitingly.

    Sonia Married

    Stephen McKenna

  • He came quickly and purposefully, and he was Mr. Schultz—none other.

  • He had walked steadily and purposefully, with some definite destination in mind.

  • He set off for his office, moving quickly, purposefully, head up.


    Cory Doctorow

British Dictionary definitions for purposefully



having a definite purpose in view
fixed in one's purpose; determined
Derived Formspurposefully, adverbpurposefulness, noun


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

Word Origin and History for purposefully



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper