[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 purposefulness

Historical Examples of purposefulness

  • He was looking for others who shared not only his viewpoint but his purposefulness.

    This Crowded Earth

    Robert Bloch

  • She saw his tenderness, his purposefulness, the bigness of his mind and spirit.

    The Heart of the Desert

    Honor Willsie Morrow

  • They had retrieved their own weapons, and they advanced upon Roddy with a purposefulness that seemed horrible to him.

    Penrod and Sam

    Booth Tarkington

  • She knew that if she relaxed her purposefulness for an instant the love for him would rush over her, weaken her.

  • There was a sort of contagion of purposefulness in this eccentric small group on the Esperance.

    Creatures of the Abyss

    Murray Leinster

British Dictionary definitions for purposefulness



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 purposefulness



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper