for Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “for” in the English Dictionary

"for" in British English

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forpreposition

uk   strong /fɔːr/  us   /fɔːr/ weak /r/  //
  • for preposition (INTENDED FOR)

A1 intended to be given to: There's a ​phonemessage for you. I'd ​betterbuy something for the new ​baby. There's a ​prize for the ​fastest three ​runners in each ​category.

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  • for preposition (PURPOSE)

A2 having the ​purpose of: There's a ​sign there saying "​boats for ​hire". This ​pool is for the use of ​hotelguests only. I'm ​sorry, the ​books are not for ​sale. They've ​invited us for ​dinner on ​Saturday. Everyone in the ​office is ​contributingmoney for his ​leavingpresent. I need some ​money for ​tonight. Which ​vitamins should you take for (= in ​order to ​cure)skinproblems? Put those ​clothes in a ​pile for ​washing (= so that they can be ​washed).

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  • for preposition (BECAUSE OF)

A2 because of or as a ​result of something: I'm ​feeling all the ​better for my ​holiday. "How are you?" "Fine, and all the ​better for ​seeing you!" She did 15 ​years in ​prison for ​murder. I don't ​eatmeat for ​variousreasons. I couldn't ​see for the ​tears in my ​eyes. The things you do for ​love! He's ​widelydisliked in the ​company for his ​arrogance. She couldn't ​talk for ​coughing (= she was ​coughing too much to ​talk). Scotland is ​famous for ​itsspectacularcountryside. He's ​bestremembered for his ​novels. I didn't say anything for ​fear of (= because I was ​frightened of)offending him.if it wasn't/weren't for (also if it hadn't been for) without: If it wasn't for the ​lifejacket, I would have ​drowned.

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  • for preposition (TIME/DISTANCE)

A1 used to show an ​amount of ​time or ​distance: We ​walked for ​miles. She's out of the ​office for a few ​days next ​week. I'm just going to ​lie down for an ​hour or so. I haven't ​playedtennis for ​years.

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  • for preposition (OCCASION)

A2 on the ​occasion of or at the ​time of: What did you ​buy him for ​Christmas? I'd like an ​appointment with the ​doctor for some ​time this ​week. We're having a ​party for Jim's 60th ​birthday. I've ​booked a ​table at the ​restaurant for nine o'clock.

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  • for preposition (COMPARING)

C1 used for ​comparing one thing with ​others of the same ​type: She's very ​mature for her ​age. For every two ​people in ​favour of the ​law there are three against. The ​winter has been ​unusuallycold for Florida. It was a ​difficultdecision, ​especially for a ​child. For a man of his ​wealth he's not ​exactlygenerous.

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  • for preposition (SUPPORT)

B2 in ​support of or in ​agreement with: I ​voted for the Greens at the last ​election. Those ​voting for the ​motion, 96, and those ​voting against, 54. Most of the Republicans ​voted for the ​measure. So let's ​hear some ​applause for these ​talentedyoungperformers. Who's for (= who ​wants to ​play)tennis?be all for sth to ​approve of or ​support something very much: I've got nothing against ​change - I'm all for it. I'm all for ​genderequality, but I ​think the most ​qualifiedperson should get the ​job.

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  • for preposition (IN RELATION TO)

in ​relation to someone or something: Her ​feelings for him had ​changed. He ​felt nothing but ​contempt for her. I've got a lot of ​admiration for ​people who do that ​sort of ​work. He's ​quitegood-looking but he's too ​short for me. The ice-cream was a little ​bitsweet for me. That ​jacketlooks a little ​big for you. Jackie's already ​left and, as for me, I'm going at the end of the ​month. Luckily for me (= I was ​lucky), I already had another ​job. How are you doing for ​money/​time (= do you have enough ​money/​time)?for all C2 despite: For all her ​qualifications, she's still ​useless at the ​job.

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  • for preposition (PAYMENT)

A2 (getting) in ​exchange: How much did you ​pay for ​yourglasses? I've ​sponsored her £1 for every ​mile that she ​runs. She ​sold the ​house for a lot of ​money. The ​mechanic said he'd ​repair my ​car for £300.

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  • for preposition (REPRESENTING)

B1 being ​employed by or ​representing a ​company, ​country, etc.: She ​works for a ​charity. He ​swam for the United States in the 2000 Olympics.

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  • for preposition (TOWARDS)

A2 towards; in the ​direction of: They ​looked as if they were ​heading for the ​trainstation. Just ​followsigns for the ​museum. This ​timetomorrow we'll be setting off for the States. It says this ​train is for (= going to ​stop at) Birmingham and Coventry only.

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  • for preposition (MEANING)

A2 showingmeaning: What's the ​Spanish word for "​vegetarian"? What does the "M.J." stand for? Maria José?

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  • for preposition (TO GET)

A2 in ​order to get or ​achieve: I ​hatewaiting for ​publictransport. I had to ​run for the ​bus. Did you ​send off for ​details of the ​competition? I've ​applied for a ​job with another ​computercompany.

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forconjunction

uk   strong /fɔːr/  us   /fɔːr/ weak /r/  // old-fashioned or literary
(Definition of for from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"for" in American English

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forpreposition

 us   /fɔr, fər/
  • for preposition (TO BE GIVEN)

intended to be given to: There’s a ​phonemessage for you on ​yourdesk. There will be a ​prize for the ​bestcostume at the ​party.
  • for preposition (PURPOSE)

having the ​purpose of: What do you ​imagine he uses this ​old thing for? Why don’t you take an ​aspirin for ​yourheadache (= to ​stop it)?
  • for preposition (BECAUSE OF)

because of; as a ​result of (doing something): She was ​stopped for ​speeding. The things we do for ​love! For some ​reason, she isn’t ​interested in going out at all ​tonight. Certain Chicago ​restaurants are ​famous for ​their deep-dish ​pizza.
  • for preposition (INSTEAD OF)

instead of; to ​help: Let me ​carry those ​groceries to the ​car for you.
  • for preposition (TIME/DISTANCE)

showingamount of ​time or ​distance: We ​drove for ​miles. She’s out of ​town for a few ​days on ​business.
  • for preposition (OCCASION)

on the ​occasion of or at the ​time of: What are you getting Mom and Dad for ​theiranniversary? We’re ​planning a ​party for Stephen’s ​birthday. The ​neighborsinvited us for ​dinner (= to ​eat with them). What’s for ​lunch (= what will we ​eat)?
  • for preposition (CONSIDERING)

considering (something or someone with ​reference to things or ​people as they usually are): This ​winter has been ​mild for Canada. I ​think Kristy is very ​mature for her ​age.
  • for preposition (SUPPORT)

in ​support of or ​agreement with: I ​voted for her in the last ​election. We ​thought about ​moving, and I was all for it, but my ​wife didn’t ​want to.
  • for preposition (IN RELATION TO)

in ​relation to (someone or something): Her ​feelings for him were ​obvious. That ​jacket is a ​bitbig for you.
  • for preposition (PAYMENT)

(getting) in ​exchange: If I take the ​car in, it’ll be $45 for a tuneup.
  • for preposition (REPRESENTING)

representing (an ​organization or ​country): Michael ​works for a Washington-based ​foundation. She ​carried the ​flag for the US at the ​openingceremonies.
  • for preposition (TOWARD)

toward; in the ​direction of: Just ​followsigns for the ​airportonce you’re on the ​highway.
  • for preposition (MEANING)

meaning; ​representing: What’s another word for "​happy"?
  • for preposition (TO GET)

in ​order to get or have: I had to ​waithalf an ​hour for the ​bus. Call the ​phonenumber below for more ​information.
  • for preposition (DUTY)

the duty or ​responsibility of: It’s not for her to say whether I should ​cut my ​hair.

forconjunction

 us   /fɔr, fər/
  • for conjunction (BECAUSE)

because; as: She told the ​truth, for she had nothing to ​lose.
(Definition of for from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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