intent

noun
in·​tent | \ in-ˈtent How to pronounce intent (audio) \

Definition of intent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a usually clearly formulated or planned intention : aim the director's intent
2a : 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

intent

adjective

Definition of intent (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : directed with strained or eager attention : concentrated
2 : having the mind, attention, or will concentrated on something or some end or purpose intent on their work

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from intent

Adjective

intentness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for intent

Noun

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

Examples of intent in a Sentence

Noun She thinks I'm trying to make things difficult for her, but that's not my intent. The intent of the law is to protect consumers. He was charged with assault with intent to kill. Adjective intent on finishing her sculpture in time for the group show he was so intent on his work that he didn't hear the dog bark
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said the rule reflects the intent of Congress to keep workers on payrolls. Mark Niquette, Bloomberg.com, "Trump Administration Keeps Payroll Requirement for PPP Loans," 19 May 2020 Her home is part of the story of Proffitt’s decision to attend Montana State University, because Proffitt’s front yard was the scene of a letter-of-intent signing ceremony on a sunny afternoon Friday. Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, "The school gym wasn’t available, so Adrianna Proffitt has a front-yard signing ceremony," 17 May 2020 However, there are challengers lurking with intent to prevent an eighth straight title. Jim Reineking, USA TODAY, "Bundesliga season resumes Saturday: Here is what we know about soccer's return in Germany," 15 May 2020 Mills was arraigned Friday afternoon on charges of assault with intent to murder and knowingly assault/assault and battery of a pregnant individual for the Dec. 22, 2017 incident. Miriam Marini, Detroit Free Press, "Garden City man arrested in 2017 deaths of 2 sex workers," 15 May 2020 That intent has taken on a new and more ironic meaning today, though, as videos containing massive apparent spoilers for the game have leaked on the Internet—and on the same day that Sony finally confirms the game's June 19 release date. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Sony says major The Last of Us Part 2 leak didn’t come from employee [Updated]," 1 May 2020 Sweeney, however, notes that there are cases where there is, in fact, malicious intent behind sharing false content. Aditi Tandon, Quartz India, "Fake news about wild animals reclaiming urban spaces may seem cute, but it’s dangerous," 30 Apr. 2020 Disinformation is more deliberate and is distributed with the intent to confuse, disturb, or provoke. Christa Case Bryant, The Christian Science Monitor, "Fake news 101: A guide to help sniff out the truth," 30 Apr. 2020 The messengers with ill intent have come a long way since the faked photo 16 years ago purporting to show Jane Fonda with 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry at a 1970 anti-war rally. Darrel Rowland, USA Today, "You're going to face a tsunami of disinformation again this election cycle, experts warn," 24 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective According to a friend, Michelle was still intent on leaving. Caroline Fraser, The New York Review of Books, "When Will We Care About Domestic Violence?," 13 May 2020 Democrats and liberal groups are intent on reminding voters that Republicans insisted on holding the April election despite the public health crisis. Todd Richmond, Anchorage Daily News, "Seven coronavirus cases in Wisconsin appear related to in-person voting, officials say," 21 Apr. 2020 Data from the United States, China, and Italy suggest men are more likely to die from the illness, and health officials are intent on overturning the traditional male reluctance to visit the doctor. Rob Crilly, Washington Examiner, "Men are waiting too long to get tested for coronavirus, task force officials warn," 9 Apr. 2020 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel When an Oconomowoc family canceled their son's birthday party over coronavirus concerns, the boy's mother was intent on finding a way to mark the occasion. Eddie Morales, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Birthdays, weddings and virtual tours: Here's how local fire departments are building community in a pandemic," 3 Apr. 2020 Trump is still intent on boosting his profile in the build-up to the November election, as experts warn the pandemic is already threatening the safety and integrity of the 2020 vote. Eliza Mackintosh, CNN, "What you need to know about coronavirus on Monday, March 30," 30 Mar. 2020 Virginia is a purple state, but the Democratic majority in Richmond seems intent on shoving it into the blue column for good. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Will Public Unions Take Virginia?," 29 Feb. 2020 The president encountered Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who is presiding over the Senate trial and seemed intent on maintaining a studious neutral expression during their brief exchange. Peter Baker, New York Times, "Assured of Acquittal, Trump Makes Case for a Second Term," 5 Feb. 2020 Even so, the Trump administration seems intent on doubling down on its strategy. The Economist, "5Geopolitics Open standards, not sanctions, are America’s best weapon against Huawei," 8 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'intent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of intent

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for intent

Noun

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

Adjective

Latin intentus, from past participle of intendere

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about intent

Time Traveler for intent

Time Traveler

The first known use of intent was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for intent

Last Updated

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Intent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intent. Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for intent

intent

noun
How to pronounce intent (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of intent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

intent

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of intent (Entry 2 of 2)

: showing concentration or great attention

intent

noun
in·​tent | \ in-ˈtent How to pronounce intent (audio) \

Kids Definition of intent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : what someone plans to do or accomplish : purpose Upsetting her was not my intent.
2 : meaning sense 2 What is the author's intent?

intent

adjective

Kids Definition of intent (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : showing concentration or great attention an intent gaze
2 : showing great determination They were intent on going.

Other Words from intent

intently adverb I listened intently.

intent

noun
in·​tent | \ in-ˈtent How to pronounce intent (audio) \

Legal Definition of intent

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
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
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
: 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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on intent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for intent

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with intent

Spanish Central: Translation of intent

Nglish: Translation of intent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of intent for Arabic Speakers

Comments on intent

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

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!