Synonyms & Antonyms of intent

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 something that one hopes or intends to accomplish
  • I'm sorry that I hurt your feelings; that wasn't my intent

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2 the idea that is conveyed or intended to be conveyed to the mind by language, symbol, or action
  • the wording was a little unclear, but I think I grasped the intent

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Synonyms & Antonyms of intent (Entry 2 of 2)

2 having the mind fixed on something
  • he was so intent on his work that he didn't hear the dog bark

Synonyms for intent

Words Related to intent

Phrases Synonymous with intent

Near Antonyms for intent

Antonyms for intent

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About intent

How does the noun intent contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of intent are aim, design, end, goal, intention, objective, object, and purpose. While all these words mean "what one intends to accomplish or attain," intent suggests clearer formulation or greater deliberateness.

the clear intent of the statute

When can aim be used instead of intent?

In some situations, the words aim and intent are roughly equivalent. However, aim adds to these implications of effort directed toward attaining or accomplishing.

her aim was to raise film to an art form

In what contexts can design take the place of intent?

While the synonyms design and intent are close in meaning, design implies a more carefully calculated plan.

the order of events came by accident, not design

When could end be used to replace intent?

The words end and intent are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, end stresses the intended effect of action often in distinction or contrast to the action or means as such.

willing to use any means to achieve his end

When is it sensible to use goal instead of intent?

While in some cases nearly identical to intent, goal suggests something attained only by prolonged effort and hardship.

worked years to reach her goals

When would intention be a good substitute for intent?

Although the words intention and intent have much in common, intention implies little more than what one has in mind to do or bring about.

announced his intention to marry

How do object and end relate to one another, in the sense of intent?

Object may equal end but more often applies to a more individually determined wish or need.

his constant object was the achievement of pleasure

Where would objective be a reasonable alternative to intent?

The meanings of objective and intent largely overlap; however, objective implies something tangible and immediately attainable.

their objective is to seize the oil fields

When might purpose be a better fit than intent?

The words purpose and intent can be used in similar contexts, but purpose suggests a more settled determination.

being successful was her purpose in life

Learn More About intent

Time Traveler for intent

Time Traveler

The first known use of intent was in the 13th century

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Cite this Entry

“Intent.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on intent

Nglish: Translation of intent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of intent for Arabic Speakers


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