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[in-ten-shuh n] /ɪnˈtɛn ʃən/
intensification; increase in degree.
intensity; high degree.
relative intensity; degree.
exertion of the mind; determination.
Logic. (of a term) the set of attributes belonging to all and only those things to which the given term is correctly applied; connotation; comprehension.
Compare extension (def 12).
Origin of intension
1595-1605; < Latin intēnsiōn- (stem of intēnsiō). See intense, -ion
Related forms
intensional, adjective
intensionally, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for intension
Historical Examples
  • In other words, Action is capable of increase or decrease both in extension and intension.

  • The woman's task is less in extension, but great in intension.

    Ethics John Dewey and James Hayden Tufts
  • From this arises the distinctive terms known as the content, extension and intension of concepts, respectively.

    Thought-Culture William Walker Atkinson
  • In the final generalization, extension and intension coalesce.

    The Philosophy of Evolution Stephen H. Carpenter
  • Our different concepts were seen to vary in their intension, or meaning, according to the number of attributes suggested by each.

  • Accordingly its intension must be small for it can include only the qualities common to all animals, which are very few indeed.

    The Art of Logical Thinking William Walker Atkinson
  • The technical name for any meaning which is thus individualized is intension.

    How We Think John Dewey
  • Another narrows the intension still further when he defines animal as: "a creature which possesses, or has possessed, life."

    The Art of Logical Thinking William Walker Atkinson
  • The extension and intension of terms has been referred to in the previous chapter.

    The Art of Logical Thinking William Walker Atkinson
  • The intension or increase of a thing makes it more or greater, but does not make the subject of another kind.

British Dictionary definitions for intension


  1. the set of characteristics or properties by which the referent or referents of a given word are determined: thus, the intension of marsupial is the set containing the characteristics suckling its young and having a pouch Compare extension (sense 11a)
  2. Compare subjective intension
a rare word for intensity, determination
a rare word for intensification See intensification
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
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Word Origin and History for intension

c.1600, from Latin intensionem (nominative intensio) "a stretching, straining, effort," noun of action from past participle stem of intendere (see intend).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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