pur·​pose·​ful | \ˈpər-pəs-fəl \

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 \ 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

All of those factors were at least somewhat linked with purposeful injury. Emily Baumgaertner, New York Times, "How Many Teenage Girls Deliberately Harm Themselves? Nearly 1 in 4, Survey Finds.," 2 July 2018 Bark Your Head Off, Dog sounds effortless upon first blush, but repeat listens reveal the careful guitar work, subtle string arrangements and purposeful cracks in Quinlan’s imagery. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 50 Best Albums of 2018 (So Far): Critics' Picks," 5 June 2018 To avoid getting caught flat footed again, city officials have set about making detailed deals and writing purposeful regulations before the new forms of transport find too many users. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "Lyft Wants to Dominate Transportation, and That Means Bike Share," 1 June 2018 In one of his motions, a chip flies off in a very purposeful way. Graham Ambrose, BostonGlobe.com, "The star of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ discusses the iconic film 50 years later," 21 June 2018 This raised the question of whether the process is irrational or is, in some way, a purposeful evolutionary advantage. Maya Miller, Scientific American, "Why It’s So Hard to Junk Bad Decisions—Edging Closer to Understanding “Sunk Cost”," 12 July 2018 Paying Too Much Robin White’s overpayments were purposeful. Ron Lieber, New York Times, "A $350 Million Fund Helps Many Public Servants. Meet the Ones Left Out.," 6 Apr. 2018 Combined with the 37-inch BFGoodrich K02 tires, the effect is a purposeful, burly stance entirely unlike that of the rather spindly, low-slung 1960s-era Jeepster Commando. Alexander Stoklosa, Car and Driver, "Jeep’s Jeepster Concept Is a New Wrangler JL with 1960s Retro Style," 20 Mar. 2018 Tana's conference fell on the same weekend as another creator conference called VidCon, a decision that was purposeful, according to the YouTube star. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "YouTube Star Tana Mongeau's TanaCon Shut Down Due to Safety Concerns," 24 June 2018

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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The first known use of purposeful was in 1853

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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 \

Kids Definition of purposeful

: having a clear intention or aim

Other Words from purposeful

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

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