1. the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.
  2. an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal.
  3. determination; resoluteness.
  4. the subject in hand; the point at issue.
  5. practical result, effect, or advantage: to act to good purpose.
verb (used with object), pur·posed, pur·pos·ing.
  1. to set as an aim, intention, or goal for oneself.
  2. to intend; design.
  3. to resolve (to do something): He purposed to change his way of life radically.
verb (used without object), pur·posed, pur·pos·ing.
  1. to have a purpose.
  1. on purpose, by design; intentionally: How could you do such a thing on purpose?
  2. to the purpose, relevant; to the point: Her objections were not to the purpose.

Origin of purpose

1250–1300; (noun) Middle English purpos < Old French, derivative of purposer, variant of proposer to propose; (v.) Middle English purposen < Anglo-French, Old French purposer
Related formspre·pur·pose, verb (used with object), pre·pur·posed, pre·pur·pos·ing.re·pur·pose, verb (used with object), re·pur·posed, re·pur·pos·ing.un·pur·posed, adjectiveun·pur·pos·ing, adjective

Synonyms for purpose

1. object, point, rationale. See intention. 7. mean, contemplate, plan.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for purposing

Historical Examples of purposing

  • Then, if he had done that, he had told Peggy to her face how he was purposing to desert her!

    Murder Point

    Coningsby Dawson

  • If madame was not purposing to wear it very long, it might be lightened the sooner.

    Floyd Grandon's Honor

    Amanda Minnie Douglas

  • And she looked at Isaac, as if purposing to go to Pongaudin.

    The Hour and the Man

    Harriet Martineau

  • He was very unhappy, because he knew that he was purposing wrong.

  • Why should any one put you in prison for such a work as you are purposing to carry on?

    Working in the Shade

    Theodore P Wilson

British Dictionary definitions for purposing


  1. the reason for which anything is done, created, or exists
  2. a fixed design, outcome, or idea that is the object of an action or other effort
  3. fixed intention in doing something; determinationa man of purpose
  4. practical advantage or useto work to good purpose
  5. that which is relevant or under consideration (esp in the phrase to or from the purpose)
  6. archaic purport
  7. on purpose intentionally
verb (tr)
  1. to intend or determine to do (something)

Word Origin for purpose

C13: from Old French porpos, from porposer to plan, from Latin prōpōnere to propose
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 purposing



c.1300, "intention, aim, goal," from Anglo-French purpos, Old French porpos "aim, intention" (12c.), from porposer "to put forth," from por- "forth" (from Latin pro- "forth;" see pur-) + Old French poser "to put, place" (see pose (v.1)). On purpose "by design" is attested from 1580s; earlier of purpose (early 15c.).



late 14c., from Anglo-French purposer "to design," Old French porposer "to intend, propose," variant of proposer (see propose).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with purposing


see at cross purposes; for all intents and purposes; on purpose; serve a purpose; to good purpose; to little or no purpose.

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