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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Adele has so very carefully crafted her own suicide with the specific intention of getting Louise to come. Samantha Highfill,, "Behind Her Eyes director breaks down the series' shocking twists," 19 Feb. 2021 Zhao wasn’t the first artist to come from outside an Indigenous community with the intention of telling a story set within it. Alison Willmore, Vulture, "Chloé Zhao’s America," 16 Feb. 2021 Decked out with a lavish marble lobby, it was built with the intention of being a comfortable and polished spot for business travelers and Hollywood tourists to enjoy. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "The True Timeline of the Cecil Hotel's Dark History," 13 Feb. 2021 All this is to say Hotel Cecil was built with the intention of being a fancy hotspot for business travelers and tourists (80 percent of the world's films were shot in Los Angeles by 1920, according to Discover Los Angeles). Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "The True and Tragic Stories Beyond Hotel Cecil's Violent Fall From Grace," 10 Feb. 2021 Fox News recently hired former Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow with the intention of giving him a daily program. Author: Stephen Battaglio, Anchorage Daily News, "Fox News cancels Lou Dobbs’ show and is expected to part ways with the pro-Trump host," 6 Feb. 2021 Researchers are currently focused on teens and tweens with the intention of, over time, working their way to younger children as safety in older kids is proven in clinical trials. Elissa Strauss, CNN, "Why parents should brace themselves for another uncertain summer and fall," 30 Jan. 2021 Investigators found out that J.D. was a high school quarterback who enrolled at a Minnesota community college in 2019 with the intention of playing football. Paul Walsh, Star Tribune, "Minnesota attorney general charges 8 in scheme that cheated Medicaid out of $860,000," 28 Jan. 2021 To short a company, a seller typically borrows a stock and then sells it, with the intention of buying the stock back at a later date, once the price drops. Dallas News, "GameStop’s wild trading day: Massive price spike, stunning drop, double-digit bounceback," 25 Jan. 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of intention

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about intention

Time Traveler for intention

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for intention

Last Updated

25 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Intention.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

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 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

Keep scrolling for more


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).

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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