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raison d'être

[rey-zohn de-truh; French re-zawn de-truh] /ˈreɪ zoʊn ˈdɛ trə; French rɛ zɔ̃ ˈdɛ trə/
noun, plural raisons d'être
[rey-zohnz de-truh; French re-zawn de-truh] /ˈreɪ zoʊnz ˈdɛ trə; French rɛ zɔ̃ ˈdɛ trə/ (Show IPA)
1.
reason or justification for being or existence:
Art is the artist's raison d'être.
Origin
1865-1870
1865-70; < French
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for raison-detre

raison d'être

/rɛzɔ̃ dɛtrə/
noun (pl) raisons d'être (rɛzɔ̃ dɛtrə)
1.
reason or justification for existence
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 raison-detre

raison d'etre

n.

"excuse for being," 1864, first recorded in letter of J.S. Mill, from French raison d'être, literally "rational grounds for existence."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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raison-detre in Culture
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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