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 The grind of daily Roman life was punctuated by frequent and purposeful reminders of mortality: Symbols of skeletons adorned feasting cups and dining room walls. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, "Dine Like a Doomed Pompeiian at This Upscale Eatery," 27 Dec. 2019 That was a purposeful tactic by the coaches, who wanted to get the freshmen as much experience as possible. Cameron Teague Robinson, The Courier-Journal, "Music City Bowl could give a glimpse into the future for the Louisville offensive line," 27 Dec. 2019 How Santa Tracker got started This holiday tradition dates to 1955 but its beginnings were anything but purposeful. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, "How to track Santa: Where is Santa now? When does NORAD tracking start?," 23 Dec. 2019 The First Lady also opted for a bright cape at last night's NATO reception at Buckingham Palace and Kate Bennett, CNN journalist and author of the unauthorized biography, Free, Melania, says Trump's choices are purposeful. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Melania Trump’s ‘Ridiculous’ Coat Has People Talking," 4 Dec. 2019 While job decisions are based on merit, the purposeful inclusion of candidates from all groups in all job openings and hires will result in progress toward equality. Julie Fletcher, Quartz at Work, "Real equality means inclusion at every level of your organization," 2 Oct. 2019 The omission is purposeful, because studies that purport to show that a certain month or date is best are not really accurate. Lew Sichelman | Andrews Mcmeel Syndication, courant.com, "Housing Scene: Best time to show, best day to list," 16 Aug. 2019 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

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

5 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Purposeful.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/purposefully. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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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

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


to insert between existing elements

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