the reason for which something exists or is done, made, used, etc.
an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal.
determination; resoluteness.
the subject in hand; the point at issue.
practical result, effect, or advantage: to act to good purpose.
verb (used with object), purposed, purposing.
to set as an aim, intention, or goal for oneself.
to intend; design.
to resolve (to do something): He purposed to change his way of life radically.
verb (used without object), purposed, purposing.
to have a purpose.
on purpose, by design; intentionally: How could you do such a thing on purpose?
to the purpose, relevant; to the point: Her objections were not to the purpose.

1250–1300; (noun) Middle English purpos < Old French, derivative of purposer, variant of proposer to propose; (v.) Middle English purposen < Anglo-French, Old French purposer

prepurpose, verb (used with object), prepurposed, prepurposing.
repurpose, verb (used with object), repurposed, repurposing.
unpurposed, adjective
unpurposing, adjective

1. object, point, rationale. See intention. 7. mean, contemplate, plan.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
purpose (ˈpɜːpəs)
1.  the reason for which anything is done, created, or exists
2.  a fixed design, outcome, or idea that is the object of an action or other effort
3.  fixed intention in doing something; determination: a man of purpose
4.  practical advantage or use: to work to good purpose
5.  that which is relevant or under consideration (esp in the phrase to or from the purpose)
6.  archaic purport
7.  on purpose intentionally
8.  to intend or determine to do (something)
[C13: from Old French porpos, from porposer to plan, from Latin prōpōnere to propose]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 13c., from O.Fr. porpos "aim, intention" (12c.), from porposer "to put forth," from por- "forth" (from L. pro- "forth") + O.Fr. poser "to put, place" (see pose). On purpose "by design" is attested from 1580s; earlier of purpose (early 15c.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see at cross purposes; for all intents and purposes; on purpose; serve a purpose; to good purpose; to little or no purpose.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
There is little actual religious purpose or meaning to them now.
That's why the purpose of my films is not to preach, but to look at things from
  the local point of view, in the local language.
Paying off the debt implies the sort of resolve and collective purpose that
  they lack.
Also, overhead watering defeats the shelter's purpose.
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