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 purposeful (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 move was purposeful, according to left back Crystal Dunn, who said players' focuses regarding racial justice have evolved into action rather than simply starting a conversation. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, "Crystal Dunn on USWNT all standing for anthem: 'Past the protesting phase'," 22 Feb. 2021 In a more purposeful but still undesirable software change, Facebook’s WhatsApp has set a new deadline of May 15 for users to approve its privacy policy changes or lose access to the messaging service. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Google could improve Fitbit or make it much, much worse," 22 Feb. 2021 Would taking it up a notch—not only spending more time outside, but, as Arc’teryx recommends with Outer Peace, being purposeful and deliberate once there—be a recipe for a weller me? Alex Frank, Vogue, "Is Outdoor Adventure the Key to Inner Peace? Arc’teryx Thinks So," 27 Jan. 2021 The grand jury that indicted Coy also considered a purposeful murder charge but did not indict him on that one. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "Fired Ohio police officer charged with murder in shooting of unarmed black man," 4 Feb. 2021 And how to do so in a way that feels purposeful and personal? Stephen Daw, Billboard, "Want To Make Meaningful Change In The Industry? Here's How," 28 Jan. 2021 The effect was purposeful, collaborative, and coherent—we are not used to seeing political figures working together on something as simple and soothing as color blocking. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, "Jewel Tones and Bernie Sanders’s Mittens: Inauguration Day Fashion 2021," 21 Jan. 2021 Different townspeople espouse multiple and contradictory ideologies; none translates into purposeful action. Ani Kokobobo, The Conversation, "Dostoevsky warned of the strain of nihilism that infects Donald Trump and his movement," 13 Jan. 2021 The tieless look should state clearly that losing the tie is a purposeful choice on your part and not related to laziness, comfort, or neglect. Arkansas Online, "OPINION | MALE CALL: Going tieless requires specific shirt to look well dressed," 11 Jan. 2021

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

26 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Purposeful.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/purposeful. Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for purposeful



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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