pur·​view ˈpər-ˌvyü How to pronounce purview (audio)
: the body or enacting part of a statute
: the limit, purpose, or scope of a statute
: the range or limit of authority, competence, responsibility, concern, or intention
: range of vision, understanding, or cognizance

Did you know?

It may not be illogical to assume a connection between purview and view, but is there one? Not exactly. Although the two words share a syllable, you’ll find that they have very different histories as viewed in the etymological rearview mirror. Purview comes from purveu, a word often found in the legal statutes of 13th- and 14th-century England. These statutes, written in Anglo-French, regularly open with the phrase purveu est, which translates literally to "it is provided." Purveu in turn comes from porveu, the past participle of the Old French verb porveeir, meaning "to provide." View, on the other hand, comes (via Middle English) from the past participle of another Anglo-French word, veer, meaning "to see," and ultimately from the Latin word vidēre, of the same meaning.

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Historically, landings on the moon and further afield have been the almost exclusive purview of national governments. Robert Hart, Forbes, 14 Feb. 2024 Notably, this conspiracy theory has not been the purview of the sports pundits who are serious about politics. Kellen Browning, New York Times, 10 Feb. 2024 Since then, the Wasserman agency has made almost 40 acquisitions, including the major purchase of Paradigm’s music division in 2021, which brought a massive, multigenre roster including Coldplay, Billie Eilish, Janelle Monáe and Ed Sheeran under its purview. Taylor Mims, Billboard, 8 Feb. 2024 Part of the reason for the Japanese military’s treatment of the hundreds of thousands of Allied prisoners of war who came under its purview, Bass explains, was logistical. Michael Washburn, National Review, 31 Dec. 2023 Behind the scenes, The Idol experienced its own power shift with the departure of original director Amy Seimetz, leading to extensive rewrites and reshoots under Levinson’s purview. Kristen Baldwin, EW.com, 6 Dec. 2023 But until recently, consciousness was the purview of theologians and philosophers. Ben Brubaker, Quanta Magazine, 3 Jan. 2024 Rogers was kept in the dark about initiatives, such as the secret diplomacy that set up Nixon’s trip to China, and was obliged to plead for information about programs that in most administrations were the purview of the State Department. Norman Kempster, Los Angeles Times, 30 Nov. 2023 Trendy new software and flashy young companies were not the purview of Dodge & Cox in the 1990s and early 2000s. Robert Faturechi, ProPublica, 21 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'purview.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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


Dictionary Entries Near purview

Cite this Entry

“Purview.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/purview. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Legal Definition


pur·​view ˈpər-ˌvyü How to pronounce purview (audio)
: the body of a statute or the part that begins with Be it enacted and ends before the repealing clause
: the limit or scope of a law

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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