Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

intent

play
noun in·tent \in-ˈtent\

Simple Definition of intent

  • : the thing that you plan to do or achieve : an aim or purpose

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of intent

  1. 1 a :  the act or fact of intending :  purpose; especially :  the design or purpose to commit a wrongful or criminal act <admitted wounding him with intent> b :  the state of mind with which an act is done :  volition

  2. 2 :  a usually clearly formulated or planned intention :  aim <the director's intent>

  3. 3 a :  meaning, significance b :  connotation 3

Examples of intent in a sentence

  1. She thinks I'm trying to make things difficult for her, but that's not my intent.

  2. The intent of the law is to protect consumers.

  3. He was charged with assault with intent to kill.



Origin and Etymology of intent

Middle English entente, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin intentus, from Latin, act of stretching out, from intendere


First Known Use: 13th century

Synonym Discussion of intent

intention, intent, purpose, design, aim, end, object, objective, goal mean what one intends to accomplish or attain. intention implies little more than what one has in mind to do or bring about <announced his intention to marry>. intent suggests clearer formulation or greater deliberateness <the clear intent of the statute>. purpose suggests a more settled determination <being successful was her purpose in life>. design implies a more carefully calculated plan <the order of events came by accident, not design>. aim adds to these implications of effort directed toward attaining or accomplishing <her aim was to raise film to an art form>. end stresses the intended effect of action often in distinction or contrast to the action or means as such <willing to use any means to achieve his end>. object may equal end but more often applies to a more individually determined wish or need <his constant object was the achievement of pleasure>. objective implies something tangible and immediately attainable <their objective is to seize the oil fields>. goal suggests something attained only by prolonged effort and hardship <worked years to reach her goals>.

2

intent

adjective in·tent

Simple Definition of intent

  • : showing concentration or great attention

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of intent

  1. 1 :  directed with strained or eager attention :  concentrated

  2. 2 :  having the mind, attention, or will concentrated on something or some end or purpose <intent on their work>

intently

adverb

intentness

noun

Examples of intent in a sentence

  1. <intent on finishing her sculpture in time for the group show>

  2. <he was so intent on his work that he didn't hear the dog bark>



Origin and Etymology of intent

Latin intentus, from past participle of intendere


First Known Use: 14th century



INTENT Defined for Kids

1

intent

play
noun in·tent \in-ˈtent\

Definition of intent for Students

  1. 1 :  what someone plans to do or accomplish :  purpose <Upsetting her was not my intent.>

  2. 2 :  meaning 2 <What is the author's intent?>




2

intent

play
adjective in·tent

Definition of intent for Students

  1. 1 :  showing concentration or great attention <an intent gaze>

  2. 2 :  showing great determination <They were intent on going.>

intently

adverb <I listened intently.>



Law Dictionary

intent

play
noun in·tent \in-ˈtent\

Legal Definition of intent

  1. 1 :  the act or fact of intending: as a :  the design or purpose to commit a wrongful or criminal act —called also criminal intent — compare knowledge, mens rea, motive, negligence b :  the purpose to commit a tortious act having consequences that the actor desires and believes or knows will occur constructive intent :  intent that is inferred to exist (as from willfulness or recklessness) in relation to an act criminal intent :  intent 1a general intent :  intent to perform an illegal act without the desire for further consequences or a precise result <there was a general intent to assault but not to kill> specific intent :  intent to perform an illegal act with the knowledge or purpose that particular results will or may ensue <assaulted him with specific intent to kill> transferred intent 1 :  intent attributed to a person who intends to cause another harm when the harm is accidentally inflicted on an unintended victim 2 :  a doctrine in tort and criminal law: a wrongdoer who causes harm to a person other than the one intended may nevertheless be held to have intended the harmful result

  2. 2a :  intendment — see also legislative intent b :  the purpose of a document (as a contract or will) c :  the aim or goal of a person in creating a document or taking an action <the court's attempt to fulfill the donor's intent> <the intent of the contracting parties implied by their language> — see also original intent

with intent

  1. :  with the intent to commit another sometimes specified crime <entered the apartment with intent to commit theft therein> <a drug dealer charged with possession with intent>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up intent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

mysterious, holy, or spiritual

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

lavender-fields-in-france

Which of these is a synonym of caesura?

interruption megillah torrent rebellion
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ