Definition for PUR'POSE

PUR'POSE, n. [Fr. propos; Sp. and It. proposito; propositum, propono; pro, before, and pono, to set or place.]

  1. That which a person sets before himself as an object to be reached or accomplished; the end or aim to which the view is directed in any plan, measure or exertion. We believe the Supreme Being created intelligent beings for some benevolent and glorious purpose, and if so, how glorious and benevolent must be his purpose in the plan of redemption! The ambition of men is generally directed to one of two purposes, or to both; the acquisition of wealth or of power. We build houses for the purpose of shelter; we labor for the purpose of subsistence.
  2. Intention; design. This sense, however, is hardly to be distinguished from the former; as, purpose always includes the end in view. Every purpose is established by counsel. – Prov. xx. Being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will. – Eph. i.
  3. End; effect; consequence, good or bad. What good purpose will this answer? We sometimes labor to no purpose. Men often employ their time, talents and money for very evil purposes. To what purpose is this waste? – Matth. xxvi.
  4. Instance; example. [Not in use.]
  5. Conversation. [Not in use.] – Spenser. Of purpose, on purpose, with previous design; with the mind directed to that object. On purpose is more generally used, but the true phrase is of purpose.

Return to page 245 of the letter “P”.