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 After all, the intent of the economic impact payments was to stimulate the economy. Washington Post, "No, the IRS should not try to claw back $1.4 billion sent to dead people," 26 June 2020 Democrats have said that was their intent, and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate education committee, has said that’s what most of Congress expected. USA TODAY, "DeVos issues rule requiring public schools share more COVID-19 aid with private schools," 26 June 2020 Frederick said the intent of the bill was to increase public access to footage in a way that would be effective for victims and others. oregonlive, "Body cameras not among Portland City Council priorities for policing reforms," 17 June 2020 The intent is similar back at The Standard, East Village. Erin Florio, Condé Nast Traveler, "Amid COVID-19, Hotels Are Hosting Florists and Red Cross Responders," 16 June 2020 An internal communication reviewed by New Mexico In Depth and ProPublica suggests the intent was to include all Indian reservations on the ZIP code list. Bryant Furlow, ProPublica, "A Hospital’s Secret Coronavirus Policy Separated Native American Mothers From Their Newborns," 13 June 2020 The intent is to provide a roadmap for the city’s Police Commission and city departments, which would hammer out the specific policies. Megan Cassidy, SFChronicle.com, "SF mayor releases police reform plan to deal with racism, use of force, homelessness, mental health," 11 June 2020 The intent of the governor’s directive was to let the Floyd County teams play the other Floyd County teams. David J. Kim, The Courier-Journal, "'We'll roll with it': Indiana businesses prep for early Stage 4 reopening," 11 June 2020 The intent was to create a workout to depict #GeorgeFloyd’s final moments... Li Cohen, CBS News, "Anytime Fitness location under fire for seemingly mocking George Floyd with "I Can't Breathe" workout routine," 10 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Beijing, which under the 1984 Sino-British joint declaration had promised to preserve Hong Kong’s political freedoms until 2047, has been intent on projecting an appearance of rule of law through the process. Shibani Mahtani, Washington Post, "With Hong Kong security law, China writes broad international powers for itself," 1 July 2020 According to Airbnb's search data, Americans intent on a getaway for the summer holiday searched for cabins above all other types of homes. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, "This Is Where People Want to Vacation for the Fourth of July, According to Airbnb," 1 July 2020 Under Georgia law, a felony murder charge means that a death occurred during the commission of an underlying felony and doesn’t require intent to kill. Kate Brumback, Anchorage Daily News, "3 men indicted on murder charges in killing of Ahmaud Arbery," 25 June 2020 That’s why her office is intent on getting rid of both the pimps and their advertising venues. Sharon Grigsby, Dallas News, "Feds rescue a 13-year-old girl from sex trafficker and take down online successor to Dallas’ notorious Backpage site," 24 June 2020 The final – and most important – obstacle for content moderation is intent. Roger Mcnamee, Time, "Social Media Platforms Claim Moderation Will Reduce Harassment, Disinformation and Conspiracies. It Won't," 24 June 2020 These are not politicians intent on cleaning out the rascals of the other party, but the makers of our public opinion. Avis D. Carlson, Harper's Magazine, "The Jitters," 23 June 2020 But the sports industry – from college football to all the major pro leagues – seems intent on forging ahead in the face of positive COVID-19 tests. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "MLB 2020: When, where and how? Answering your burning questions for the (possible) season," 23 June 2020 But the company appeared intent on pushing ahead with the issuance, presumably to capitalize on the interest its existing shares have garnered on the market. Rey Mashayekhi, Fortune, "Hertz suspends $500M stock offering amid SEC investigation," 17 June 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

4 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Intent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intent. Accessed 10 Jul. 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

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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!