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.
Recent Examples on the Web This marks the first season under the purview of the organization’s new executive and artistic director, Edgar Miramontes. Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times, 4 July 2024 The event, now under the purview of WYCD-FM, moved to Pine Knob in 2016. Brian McCollum, Detroit Free Press, 29 June 2024 Risk management will begin reporting to the chief financial officer, rather than being under the purview of the safety and security department, to be better aligned with the bulk of its work in financial risk management, Acting Chief Operating Officer Daniel Lubeley said. Thomas Goodwin Smith, Baltimore Sun, 14 June 2024 For a time in the twenty-tens, when curation seemed like the purview of social-media platforms, Arts & Letters’ simple aggregative format seemed hopelessly dated. Kyle Chayka, The New Yorker, 1 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for purview 

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 20 Jul. 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
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!