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

French President Emmanuel Macron said allies had reaffirmed in their communique their intention to meet the goal of 2 percent by 2024 and no more. Calvin Woodward And Hope Yen,, "Trump is in Europe and the truth is not with him: A fact check," 14 July 2018 Many variables are still uncertain about the tournament, including recent reports that FIFA might accelerate its intention to expand the number of teams from 32 to 48. Hayden Bird,, "What to know about the World Cup title match," 14 July 2018 Government officials and corporate executives attending the summit will discuss ways to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, even though President Trump has stated his intention to withdraw the United States from it. David R. Baker,, "California and New York City: We’ll buy more electric cars. How about you?," 10 July 2018 When the cashier rings up the item, the criminal reveals his true intentions along with a gun. David J. Neal, miamiherald, "A robber stuck his fingers in the register. That's when the clerk made a quick move," 9 July 2018 There are deep disagreements over Iran, and strains with Turkey over its intention to buy a Russian air-defence system. The Economist, "Will Donald Trump be Triumphant, Tetchy or Torpedo?," 5 July 2018 Zeman reiterated his intention to eventually transfer the Czech Embassy from Tel Aviv to the capital. Ariel Kahana, Jewish Journal, "Slovakia declares it will move its embassy to Jerusalem," 5 July 2018 Though many have expressed their disappointment over the move, few are surprised, as the administration has been signaling its intentions to dismantle the policies for months. Monica Rodriguez, Fortune, "Obama-Era Guidelines on Using Race in College Admissions Decisions To Be Reversed by Trump Administration," 3 July 2018 Elsewhere, Emily is also rebelling against the confines of Gilead – only her intentions are more murderous., "The Handmaid's Tale Recap Season 2, Episode 13: The Martha Express," 11 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

10 Nov 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).


noxious or harmful

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