[ pur-puh-siv ]
See synonyms for: purposivepurposivelypurposiveness on Thesaurus.com

  1. having, showing, or acting with a purpose, intention, or design.

  2. adapted to a purpose or end.

  1. serving some purpose.

  2. determined; resolute.

  3. of or characteristic of purpose.

Origin of purposive

First recorded in 1850–55; purpose + -ive

Other words from purposive

  • pur·pos·ive·ly, adverb
  • pur·pos·ive·ness, noun
  • non·pur·pos·ive, adjective
  • non·pur·pos·ive·ly, adverb
  • non·pur·pos·ive·ness, noun
  • pre·pur·pos·ive, adjective
  • sem·i·pur·pos·ive, adjective
  • sem·i·pur·pos·ive·ly, adverb
  • sem·i·pur·pos·ive·ness, noun
  • un·pur·pos·ive, adjective

Words Nearby purposive

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

How to use purposive in a sentence

  • We may have become nicer as individuals, but we’ve also become better at organizing and using purposive violence.

  • Will these ill-effects disappear with the realisation of the modern efforts for a purposive and deliberate sexual enlightenment?

  • The first act is thus for us, the thinkers, not a part of the causal events, but a purposive intention towards an ideal.

    Psychotherapy | Hugo Mnsterberg
  • And now this may be said at once: the causal view only is the view of psychology; the purposive view lies outside of psychology.

    Psychotherapy | Hugo Mnsterberg
  • No doubt in our daily life, our purposive interest and our causal interest may intertwine at any moment.

    Psychotherapy | Hugo Mnsterberg
  • The purposive view of inner life ought not to be in question when the patient enters the doctor's office.

    Psychotherapy | Hugo Mnsterberg

British Dictionary definitions for purposive


/ (ˈpɜːpəsɪv) /

  1. relating to, having, or indicating conscious intention

  2. serving a purpose; useful

Derived forms of purposive

  • purposively, adverb
  • purposiveness, 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