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

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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 Some of the hotspots though, says Niday, are purposeful, people ignoring the Radio Astronomy Zoning Act and installing WiFi in their homes. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "WiFi Is Illegal in This American Town. (And Yes, People Actually Live There.)," 28 Oct. 2019 But having somebody youthful, energetic and purposeful will eventually resonate. Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY, "Will Pete Buttigieg become the first gay president? Older LGBTQ celebrate historic run," 18 Nov. 2019 In the District of Columbia, even with some turnover at the top, the city has charted a steady and purposeful course; for more than a decade, leadership has made a big bet on teacher quality and expanding school choice. Arne Duncan, Twin Cities, "Arne Duncan: The nation’s report card offers lessons," 7 Nov. 2019 When thinking about your own productivity, moments that are characterized by high task orientation feel driven and purposeful. Akhila Satish, Quartz at Work, "Your productivity hacks are useless without this one essential theory," 28 Oct. 2019 Offering a more fully dimensional snapshot of her entire present-day family dynamic and pulling back on the Beethoven of it all might have made this watchable film more wholly fulfilling and purposeful. Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times, "Documentary ‘Moonlight Sonata’ fitfully connects deafness, family and Beethoven," 19 Sep. 2019 Like the mechanical framework, everything feels tight and purposeful. Charlie Theel, Ars Technica, "The new Terminator board game is actually worth your time," 20 July 2019 But larger shares of wealthy-feeling Americans preferred work that's purposeful and meaningful to society – 19% versus 9%. Janna Herron, USA TODAY, "How many Americans with $1 million feel wealthy? Fewer than you may think.," 17 July 2019 To Sprague, who grew up on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, misdirection about whom the memorial benefitted seemed especially purposeful when donors visited. Brooke Jarvis, The New Yorker, "Who Speaks for Crazy Horse?," 16 Sep. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of purposeful

1853, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for purposeful

Time Traveler

The first known use of purposeful was in 1853

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Statistics for purposeful

Last Updated

7 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Purposeful.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/purposeful?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=p&file=purpos03. Accessed 9 December 2019.

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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

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Comments on purposeful

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