pur·​view | \ ˈpər-ˌvyü How to pronounce purview (audio) \

Definition of purview

1a : the body or enacting part of a statute
b : the limit, purpose, or scope of a statute
2 : the range or limit of authority, competence, responsibility, concern, or intention
3 : range of vision, understanding, or cognizance

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Did You Know?

You might guess that there is a connection between purview and view. Purview comes from purveu, a word often found in the legal statutes of 13th- and 14th-century England. These statutes, written in Anglo-French, opened with the phrases purveu est and purveu que, which translate literally as "it is provided" and "provided that." Purveu derives from porveu, the past participle of the Old French verb porveeir, meaning "to provide." View derives (via Middle English) from the past participle of another Anglo-French word, veer, meaning "to see," and ultimately from the Latin vidēre, an ancestor of porveeir meaning "to see."

Examples of purview in a Sentence

After the true shock and awe of a campaign of massive surplus, as in the Gulf War, no regime would have risked its survival by failing to go after the terrorists within its purview. — Mark Helprin, Wall Street Journal, 17 May 2004 It is the use of informal, back channels outside public or congressional purview—designed partly to thwart publicity and partly to hold down the temperature of disputes within the government—that critics say denies the protections of open government. — Bob Woodward et al., Washington Post, 20-26 Jan. 1992 … the contemporary university, though, has reached beyond the purview of education, and it has thereby become entangled in problems it lacks the means to resolve. — Louis Menand, Harper's, December 1991 The case is within the court's purview. That question is outside my purview. The moral dilemmas of the early settlers are beyond the purview of this book.
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Recent Examples on the Web So far, development of the electric vertical-lift aircraft that will enable our dreams of future urban air taxis has largely been the purview of small aviation startups. Eric Adams, Wired, "Bell and Hyundai Soar into the Air Taxi Race," 7 Jan. 2020 Open yourself to the idea that messages of devotion, kindness and caring are not the purview of women alone. Washington Post, "Dear men who are afraid to see ‘Little Women’: You can do this.," 1 Jan. 2020 That's the purview of the NBA and Major League Baseball. 3. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "32 things we learned from Week 16 of the 2019 NFL season," 23 Dec. 2019 The prevailing belief has been that addressing economic inequality or poverty is the purview of Congress, not the Fed. Christopher Rugaber, Twin Cities, "An emerging priority for Powell Fed: The plight of the poor," 24 Nov. 2019 But the actual dead animal is the purview of Caltrans. Beth Spotswood, SFChronicle.com, "Danger, and possibly dinner, lurks at edges of suburban freeways," 20 Nov. 2019 The decision whether to remove the executive director is solely the purview of each Board. BostonGlobe.com, "Top Alaska marijuana regulator fired from job - The Boston Globe," 15 Nov. 2019 Right now, oversight of election systems is primarily the purview of state and local authorities. Justin Rohrlich, Quartz, "The US government holds balloons to stricter standards than it does voting machines," 12 Nov. 2019 The two started by creating zines for local artists who were outside the purview of gallery and museum representation. Mackenzie Wagoner, Los Angeles Times, "Can a T-shirt change the world?," 22 Oct. 2019

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for purview

Middle English purveu, from Anglo-French purveu est it is provided (opening phrase of a statute)

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Time Traveler for purview

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The first known use of purview was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

17 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Purview.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/purview. Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for purview


How to pronounce purview (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of purview

formal : an area within which someone or something has authority, influence, or knowledge


pur·​view | \ ˈpər-ˌvyü How to pronounce purview (audio) \

Legal Definition of purview

1 : the body of a statute or the part that begins with Be it enacted and ends before the repealing clause
2 : the limit or scope of a law

History and Etymology for purview

Anglo-French purveu est it is provided (opening phrase of a statute)

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Comments on purview

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


not to be intimidated or subdued

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