in·​ten·​tion | \ in-ˈten(t)-shən How to pronounce intention (audio) \

Definition of intention

1a : what one intends to do or bring about
b : the object for which a prayer, mass, or pious act is offered
2 : a determination to act in a certain way : resolve
3 intentions plural : purpose with respect to marriage
5 : a process or manner of healing of incised wounds
6 : concept especially : a concept considered as the product of attention directed to an object of knowledge

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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 The post-holiday intentions come out strong but fizzle as routine sets in. Claire Goodman, Houston Chronicle, "Katy fitness expert, model weighs in on keeping resolutions," 17 Jan. 2020 This pattern endures regardless of who is telling the truth, these studies conclude, and regardless of either candidate’s intentions. Alexander Burns, New York Times, "Warren Told Sanders After Debate, ‘I Think You Called Me a Liar on National TV’," 15 Jan. 2020 The shakeup sent shock waves through Russia’s political elites who were left pondering what Putin’s intentions were and speculating about future Cabinet appointments. Washington Post, "Putin engineers shake-up that could keep him in power longer," 15 Jan. 2020 The White House officials, who were not authorized to speak publicly, reiterated the president's intention to claim executive privilege if necessary to block Bolton from testifying. Ben Tracy And Kathryn Watson, CBS News, "White House expects GOP defections on calling witnesses in Senate impeachment trial," 14 Jan. 2020 Attempting to navigate the white conscience in the age of Black Lives Matter, Reid unsparingly maps the moments when good intentions founder. Elizabeth C. Gorski, The New Yorker, "Briefly Noted," 13 Jan. 2020 LSU’s ability to make a defense reveal its intentions presnap via formation vs. Venables’ ability to spring surprises on opposing quarterbacks after the snap with disguised coverages or blitzes. Paul Daugherty,, "Doc's Morning Line: NFL's Rooney Rule needs sharper teeth or it's all bark and no bite.," 13 Jan. 2020 William has yet to to publicly break his silence on Harry and Meghan’s intentions to step back from royal life. Stephanie Petit,, "Prince Harry, Prince William and Prince Charles Leave Sandringham After Historic Family Summit," 13 Jan. 2020 Want some simple recipes to kick off those excellent intentions? Katie Workman, NBC News, "8 tips to make weeknight dinner more doable in 2020," 9 Jan. 2020

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 2

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Time Traveler for intention

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for intention

Last Updated

27 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Intention.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for intention


How to pronounce intention (audio)

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 How to pronounce intention (audio) \

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 How to pronounce intention (audio) \

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 How to pronounce intention (audio) \

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).


showing steady, earnest care and effort

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