in·​ten·​tion | \in-ˈten(t)-shən \

Definition of intention 

1 : a determination to act in a certain way : resolve

3a : what one intends to do or bring about

b : the object for which a prayer, mass, or pious act is offered

4 : a process or manner of healing of incised wounds

5 : concept especially : a concept considered as the product of attention directed to an object of knowledge

6 intentions plural : purpose with respect to marriage

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Choose the Right Synonym for intention

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 intention in a Sentence

She announced her intention to run for governor. He seemed to think that I was trying to cause problems, but that was never my intention. He bought a dog with the intention of training it to attack intruders. He has good intentions, but his suggestions aren't really helpful.
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Recent Examples on the Web

But physicists have no intention of throwing in the towel. Adam Hadhazy, Discover Magazine, "Scientists Hunt for A Seeming Paradox: A Magnet With Only One Pole," 13 Nov. 2018 Since the Navy chair is a classic design and is made in a very particular way using specific machinery, Buchbinder has no intentions of changing it. Diana Budds, Curbed, "How Trump’s tariffs are affecting the furniture industry," 7 Aug. 2018 While the intention was probably well-meaning, in reality, the sign was offensive. SELF, "Trainers and Fitness Pros Can't Help People of Color While Remaining Silent About Racism," 1 Nov. 2018 The intention behind this series of photos was to play with the concept of dimension and space. Ebonee Davis, Harper's BAZAAR, "How Model Ebonee Davis Is Normalizing Being Abnormal," 23 Oct. 2018 Google had every intention of bidding for, and possibly winning, the JEDI contract. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "How tech employees are pushing Silicon Valley to put ethics before profit," 18 Oct. 2018 And Jamil steals the show as the socialite philanthropist with less-than-honorable intentions. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "Jameela Jamil Wants to Upend the "Body Positivity" Movement," 26 Sep. 2018 Like joining a gym on on the first day of January, wanting to learn a new language begins with good intentions. Mary Holland, Condé Nast Traveler, "This Is the Coolest Way to Learn a New Language," 13 Sep. 2018 Like the fetal pain laws, the intention of one such category is to roll back viability dates, which goes to the heart of Roe. New York Times, "Bulwark Against an Abortion Ban? Medical Advances," 1 July 2018

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

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First Known Use of intention

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for intention

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for intention

The first known use of intention was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for intention



English Language Learners Definition of intention

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


in·​ten·​tion | \in-ˈten-shən \

Kids Definition of intention

1 : a determination to act in a particular way She announced her intention to run for president.

2 : an aim or plan It's his intention to win.


in·​ten·​tion | \in-ˈten-chən \

Medical Definition of intention 

1 : a determination to act in a certain way

2 : a process or manner of healing of incised wounds — see first intention, second intention

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in·​ten·​tion | \in-ˈten-chən \

Legal Definition of intention 

: something intended : intent the intention of the testator

Note: Intent is more commonly used than intention when speaking technically especially about the criminal and tort concepts of intent (senses 1a and 1b).

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Comments on intention

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


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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