Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

  

English definition of “purpose”

purpose

noun     /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 Letters whose sole purpose is to make a political point will not be published.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).Goals and purposes 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.Planning, expecting and arrangingPlotting and trapping 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.Strength of will and determination [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).Goals and purposes serve a purpose C2 to have a use: These small village shops serve a very useful purpose.Performing a functionFunctioning
(Definition of purpose noun from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of purpose

Definitions of “purpose” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

exercise

physical activity that you do to make your body strong and healthy

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More