[ pur-puhs-fuhl ]
See synonyms for: purposefulpurposefullypurposefulness on Thesaurus.com

  1. full of meaning; significant.

Origin of purposeful

First recorded in 1850–55; purpose + -ful

Other words from purposeful

  • pur·pose·ful·ly, adverb
  • pur·pose·ful·ness, noun

Words that may be confused with purposeful

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use purposeful in a sentence

  • There was a solemnity, a wrapped-up purposefulness about him this morning; she dared not ask him what he was going to do.

    The Pioneers | Katharine Susannah Prichard
  • There was a dumb purposefulness about the men's movements that sickened Rhoda.

    The Heart of the Desert | Honor Willsie Morrow
  • She saw his tenderness, his purposefulness, the bigness of his mind and spirit.

    The Heart of the Desert | Honor Willsie Morrow
  • It was ugly—ugly in its pink shapelessness, ugly in its slimy half-sentient movements, in its very purposefulness.

    Contamination Crew | Alan Edward Nourse
  • The rest shifted from deliberate purposefulness to cold fury, and Barr's face turned white.

    Trading Jeff and his Dog | James Arthur Kjelgaard

British Dictionary definitions for purposeful


/ (ˈpɜːpəsfʊl) /

  1. having a definite purpose in view

  2. fixed in one's purpose; determined

usage For purposeful

Purposefully is sometimes wrongly used where purposely is meant: he had purposely (not purposefully) left the door unlocked

Derived forms of purposeful

  • purposefully, adverb
  • purposefulness, noun

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