Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “purpose”

purpose

noun uk   /ˈpɜː.pəs/ us    /ˈpɝː-/
B1 [C] why you do something or why something exists: The purpose of the research is to try and find out more about the causes of the disease. His only purpose in life seems to be to enjoy himself. Her main/primary purpose in suing the newspaper for libel was to clear her name. I came to Brighton for/with the express purpose of seeing you. Letters whose sole purpose is to make a political point will not be published. She had the operation entirely for cosmetic purposes. a multi-purpose kitchen knife I can see no useful purpose in continuing this conversation. All my efforts were to no purpose (= failed). He gave her a sum of money which she used to good purpose (= well). on purpose B1 If you do something on purpose, you do it intentionally, not by accident: I didn't do it on purpose - it was an accident. C2 [U] determination or a feeling of having a reason for what you do: I've always admired her for her strength of purpose. Parenthood would give him a sense of purpose. [C] a need: We haven't yet managed to find new premises that are suitable for our purposes. The fabric I bought isn't exactly what I wanted, but it will serve my purposes (= fulfil my needs). serve a purpose C2 to have a use: These small village shops serve a very useful purpose.
(Definition of purpose from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of purpose?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “purpose” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

mutant

an organism that is different from others of its type because of a permanent change in its genes

Word of the Day

What’s that lovely smell?

by Kate Woodford,
October 29, 2014
As adult humans, we can distinguish about 10,000 different smells. It’s no wonder, then, that we have so many words and expressions to describe them. This week we’re taking a look at those smell words – words that describe good smells and words that describe bad smells. Most smell words are either

Read More 

high-frequency trading noun

October 27, 2014
a type of stock market trading that uses very complex technology to trade extremely quickly, often making tiny profits which nevertheless add up to substantial sums Lewis’s book, Flash Boys, is driving a huge amount of attention toward the topic of high frequency trading, and it has rekindled some of

Read More