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See more synonyms for purposive on Thesaurus.com
  1. having, showing, or acting with a purpose, intention, or design.
  2. adapted to a purpose or end.
  3. serving some purpose.
  4. determined; resolute.
  5. of or characteristic of purpose.
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Origin of purposive

First recorded in 1850–55; purpose + -ive
Related formspur·pos·ive·ly, adverbpur·pos·ive·ness, nounnon·pur·pos·ive, adjectivenon·pur·pos·ive·ly, adverbnon·pur·pos·ive·ness, nounpre·pur·pos·ive, adjectivesem·i·pur·pos·ive, adjectivesem·i·pur·pos·ive·ly, adverbsem·i·pur·pos·ive·ness, nounun·pur·pos·ive, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for purposive

Historical Examples

  • Causal effects are sought in a sphere which belongs to purposive values.


    Hugo Mnsterberg

  • I understand his inner life by taking a purposive point of view.


    Hugo Mnsterberg

  • One moves in the purposive sphere, the other in the causal sphere.


    Hugo Mnsterberg

  • According to the older Darwinism the lungs are just as purposive as the corkscrew.

  • Since the ability to live is threatened by this specialization it cannot be purposive.

British Dictionary definitions for purposive


  1. relating to, having, or indicating conscious intention
  2. serving a purpose; useful
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Derived Formspurposively, adverbpurposiveness, 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

Word Origin and History for purposive


1849, from purpose + -ive.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper