raison d'être

play
noun rai·son d'être \ ˌrā-ˌzōⁿ-ˈdetrᵊ \
variants: or less commonly raison d'etre

Definition of raison d'être

plural raisons d'être also raisons d'etre play \-ˌzōⁿz-\
:reason or justification for existence

Examples of raison d'être in a Sentence

  1. Art is his raison d'être.

Origin and Etymology of raison d'être

French


RAISON D'ÊTRE Defined for English Language Learners

raison d'être

play
noun

Definition of raison d'être for English Language Learners

  • : the thing that is most important to someone or something : the reason for which a person or organization exists


Learn More about raison d'être


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

of yeast or being unsettled or frivolous

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!

  • young-plant-shoots
  • Which of the following is a new sense of the word bunny?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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