raison d'être

[rey-zohn de-truh; French re-zawn de-truh]
noun, plural raisons d'être [rey-zohnz de-truh; French re-zawn de-truh] .
reason or justification for being or existence: Art is the artist's raison d'être.

1865–70; < French

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World English Dictionary
raison d'être (rɛzɔ̃ dɛtrə)
n , pl raisons d'être
reason or justification for existence

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

raison d'être
1864, first recorded in letter of J.S. Mill, from Fr., lit. "rational grounds for existence."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
raison d'être [(ray-zohnn det-ruh)]

A basic, essential purpose; a reason to exist: “Professor Naylor argues that in the nuclear age, infantry forces have lost their raison d'être.” From French, meaning “reason for being.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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