[rey-zohn de-truh; French re-zawn de-truh]
noun, plural rai·sons d'ê·tre [rey-zohnz de-truh; French re-zawn de-truh] /ˈreɪ zoʊnz ˈdɛ trə; French rɛ zɔ̃ ˈdɛ trə/.
reason or justification for being or existence: Art is the artist's raison d'être.
Origin of raison d'être
Borrowed into English from French around 1865–70
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for raison d'etre
noun plural raisons d'être (rɛzɔ̃ dɛtrə)
reason or justification for existence
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 raison d'etre
"excuse for being," 1864, first recorded in letter of J.S. Mill, from French raison d'être, literally "rational grounds for existence."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
A basic, essential purpose; a reason to exist: “Professor Naylor argues that in the nuclear age, infantry forces have lost their raison d'être.” From French, meaning “reason for being.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.