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

When the cable finally arrived, Japan had already composed a 14-part cable announcing the end of negotiations that was to be sent back to America with the intention of delivering it 30 minutes before the strike. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "Pearl Harbor Still Holds a Few Mysteries," 7 Dec. 2018 The researchers were experimenting with systems for a driverless car—which obviously can't make eye contact or use hand gestures—to signal its intentions to other drivers on the road. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Ford’s plan for driverless cars goes beyond technology," 24 Oct. 2018 But since then, North Korea has made few tangible moves signaling an intention to disarm. Joby Warrick, The Seattle Times, "US spy agencies: North Korea is working on new missiles," 30 July 2018 He was sentenced to life in prison, but maintains his innocence. The state’s second-highest court upheld in March a decision to overturn Syed’s 2000 conviction, with the intention of sending it back to Circuit Court for a retrial. Talia Richman,, "Maryland's highest court to weigh in on Syed case," 12 July 2018 Investigators also allege Garrett brought gasoline and charcoal to the home with the intention of burning it down with the woman and the children inside. Raisa Habersham, ajc, "Sheriff: Man planned to burn home with woman, 2 children inside," 11 July 2018 Now, back in Vegas, Niemiera, 27, is prepping for her first season as a G League referee, with the intention of climbing the career ladder to the WNBA and ultimately the NBA. Candace Buckner,, "From NBA summer league intern to referee: Lauren Niemiera makes the calls," 10 July 2018 Jenkins attended the Six-Mile Creek Whitewater and Bluegrass Festival with intentions of being a spectator at the event but he was later persuaded by his friends to join in the festivities in celebration of his 33rd birthday. Karen Zurawski, Houston Chronicle, "Katy jumpers excel in competition," 10 July 2018 Chinese officials, who had signaled their intention to retaliate if Trump went through with his tariff plans, are targeting the president's supporters in farm states and the industrial Midwest. Author: David J. Lynch, Emily Rauhala, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump levies $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, and Beijing retaliates," 15 June 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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Last Updated

6 Jan 2019

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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).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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