[ pur-puhs-lee ]
/ ˈpɜr pəs li /
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intentionally; deliberately: He tripped me purposely.
with the particular purpose specified; expressly: I wore that suit purposely to make a good impression.



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“Evoke” and “invoke” both derive from the same Latin root “vocāre.”

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Origin of purposely

First recorded in 1485–95; purpose + -ly


un·pur·pose·ly, adverb


purposefully, purposely
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does purposely mean?

Purposely is used to describe an action done intentionally, deliberately, or for a specific reason.

The word purposefully means in a determined way or in a way that’s full of purpose. It should not be used to mean intentionally or deliberately.

Example: I show up late to parties purposely so I’m not the first one there.

Where does purposely come from?

The first records of purposely come from the late 1400s. It’s the adverb form of the noun purpose, meaning “a reason,” “intended result,” or “goal.” (The adverb-forming suffix -ly is usually added to adjectives, but in this case it’s added to a noun.)

When purposely means “intentionally” or “deliberately,” it’s synonymous with the phrase on purpose. It’s often used to indicate that an action was not accidental. Sometimes, it might even imply that an action was malicious, meaning it was done to harm someone, as in You purposely left that there so I would trip over it!

Purposely is also used to emphasize that an action was done with a specific purpose, as in All the paintings have been positioned purposely to recreate the original state of the collection.

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What are some other forms related to purposely?

What are some synonyms for purposely?

What are some words that share a root or word element with purposely

What are some words that often get used in discussing purposely?

What are some words purposely may be commonly confused with?



How is purposely used in real life?

Purposely is often used when talking about people’s intentions. It’s less commonly used than synonyms like intentionally, deliberately, and on purpose.



Try using purposely!

Which of the following words would NOT be used to describe an action that was done purposely?

A. intentional
B. deliberate
C. accidental
D. conscious

How to use purposely in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for purposely

/ (ˈpɜːpəslɪ) /


for a definite reason; on purpose

undefined purposely

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