pur·​view | \ˈpər-ˌvyü \

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

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman said questions about the census fall within the purview of the courts, rejecting the Trump administration’s argument that courts lack jurisdiction on the issue. Corinne Ramey, WSJ, "Judge Clears Path for Lawsuits Challenging Citizenship Question on Census," 26 July 2018 Basically this is a struggle to define what is within the purview of oversights and what is overreach. Fox News, "Political fallout from Trump's informant claim," 22 May 2018 The congressman already earned the GOP nomination at the end of March, so, according to Virginia law, his replacement is up to the purview of the Republican Party of Virginia. Sophie Tatum, CNN, "Virginia Rep. Tom Garrett won't seek re-election to get treatment for alcoholism," 28 May 2018 Felix Browne, an agency spokesman, reiterated Thursday that Riccobene was demoted and is no longer directly supervising any staff, including the legal department, which once fell under her purview in her previous $112,000-a-year position. Matt Stout, BostonGlobe.com, "Duties of demoted executive in medical examiner’s office ‘remain largely the same’," 9 July 2018 An analysis of a movie studio’s practices, drawing connections between internal strife and creative output, falls beyond my critical purview. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "How the dazzling, overstuffed ‘Incredibles 2’ holds up a cracked mirror to present-day reality," 4 July 2018 Wimbledon has also expanded its purview to consider fans around the world. Jacob Feldman, SI.com, "Wimbledon Embraces Technology and Tradition in Unique Way," 2 July 2018 Once considered the purview of business travelers, dining solo has become a significant part of leisure travel, as well as of everyday life. Dana Snitzky, Longreads, "Eating Alone," 6 July 2018 An 82-24 vote provided the two-thirds majority needed to enlarge the purview of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Raf Casert, Fox News, "Watchdog gets authority to assign blame in chemical attacks," 27 June 2018

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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Last Updated

21 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for purview

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

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English Language Learners Definition of purview

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


pur·​view | \ˈpər-ˌvyü \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on purview

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with purview

Nglish: Translation of purview for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of purview for Arabic Speakers

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