pur·​pose·​ful | \ ˈpər-pəs-fəl How to pronounce purposeful (audio) \

Definition of purposeful

1 : having a purpose: such as
a : meaningful purposeful activities
b : intentional purposeful ambiguity
2 : full of determination was soft-spoken but purposeful

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from purposeful

purposefully \ ˈpər-​pəs-​fə-​lē How to pronounce purposefully (audio) \ adverb
purposefulness noun

Examples of purposeful in a Sentence

a soft-spoken but purposeful criminal investigator there's a difference between a purposeful lie and an accidental untruth
Recent Examples on the Web The ban on purposeful gatherings of 10 or more people will remain in place. Tyler Arnold, Washington Examiner, "Northam confirms Virginia will enter first phase of reopening on Friday," 14 May 2020 NetHack's purposeful, learned precision versus Angband's open-ended, calculated exploration. Richard C. Moss, Ars Technica, "ASCII art + permadeath: The history of roguelike games," 19 Mar. 2020 But a source tells PEOPLE that the timing — as people around the world shelter at home amid the coronavirus pandemic – was purposeful. Jodi Guglielmi, PEOPLE.com, "Why Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler Announced Split Now After Having 'Problems for a Long Time'," 27 Apr. 2020 The misinformation, the disinformation — that sometimes feels purposeful — is the same. Evan Real, The Hollywood Reporter, "Billy Porter Says New Single Is a "Call to Arms" for People to Vote in 2020," 24 Apr. 2020 At first glance, the GLA has grown up and looks far more contemporary and purposeful. Jens Meiners, Car and Driver, "2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4Matic Shows Real Growth," 15 Apr. 2020 The uneven geographical spread of the virus — London, the West Midlands, and parts of Wales currently being the areas worst hit — makes the purposeful use of any volunteers a daunting logistical challenge, to say the least. K. V. Turley, National Review, "A Letter from Locked-Down London," 2 Apr. 2020 The scholars also pointed to a contemporary law like the National Disaster Management Act of 2005 (NDMA) as being more valid and purposeful. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "A 123-year-old law, once used to imprison freedom fighters, is India’s primary weapon against coronavirus," 22 Mar. 2020 The place feels the way a US Navy shipyard must have felt in the weeks after Pearl Harbor—insanely busy but also purposeful. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Inside Elon Musk’s plan to build one Starship a week—and settle Mars," 5 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'purposeful.' 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 purposeful

1853, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about purposeful

Time Traveler for purposeful

Time Traveler

The first known use of purposeful was in 1853

See more words from the same year

Statistics for purposeful

Last Updated

24 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Purposeful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/purposeful. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for purposeful


How to pronounce purposeful (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of purposeful

: having a clear aim or purpose


pur·​pose·​ful | \ ˈpər-pəs-fəl How to pronounce purposeful (audio) \

Kids Definition of purposeful

: having a clear intention or aim

Other Words from purposeful

purposefully \ -​fə-​lē \ adverb
purposefulness noun

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on purposeful

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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