in·​ten·​tion | \ in-ˈten(t)-shən How to pronounce intention (audio) \

Definition of intention

1a : what one intends to do or bring about
b : the object for which a prayer, mass, or pious act is offered
2 : a determination to act in a certain way : resolve
3 intentions plural : purpose with respect to marriage
5 : a process or manner of healing of incised wounds
6 : concept especially : a concept considered as the product of attention directed to an object of knowledge

Choose the Right Synonym for intention

intention, intent, purpose, design, aim, end, object, objective, goal mean what one intends to accomplish or attain. intention implies little more than what one has in mind to do or bring about. announced his intention to marry intent suggests clearer formulation or greater deliberateness. the clear intent of the statute purpose suggests a more settled determination. being successful was her purpose in life design implies a more carefully calculated plan. the order of events came by accident, not design aim adds to these implications of effort directed toward attaining or accomplishing. her aim was to raise film to an art form 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 object may equal end but more often applies to a more individually determined wish or need. his constant object was the achievement of pleasure objective implies something tangible and immediately attainable. their objective is to seize the oil fields goal suggests something attained only by prolonged effort and hardship. worked years to reach her goals

Examples of intention in a Sentence

She announced her intention to run for governor. He seemed to think that I was trying to cause problems, but that was never my intention. He bought a dog with the intention of training it to attack intruders. He has good intentions, but his suggestions aren't really helpful.
Recent Examples on the Web At the time, Senate sponsor Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, said the intention of the bill was to rid beaches of cigarette butts that don’t quickly biodegrade. Sun Sentinel, 17 June 2022 The intention is to provide a comfortable space for migrants arriving in a country with a different culture and language, advocates said. San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 June 2022 The intention might be there, but this verbal relic misses the mark. Shauna Harrison, SELF, 14 June 2022 There are features that don't work yet, but the intention is to get all the smart and automation functionality back online in the near future. Matthew Humphries, PCMAG, 13 June 2022 As Post Malone told Billboard in his January cover story, the intention was always to make a tight album, and the 14 tracks on twelve carat clock in at just over 40 minutes. Lyndsey Havens, Billboard, 3 June 2022 The intention was simply to better envision how the County can provide more alternative responses to law enforcement and reduce violence through other strategies. The Editorial Board, Chicago Tribune, 1 June 2022 The intention, Millstein said, was to highlight shared sonic and artistic elements in disparate works, particularly the way composers have sourced different elements of folk music for their compositions. Eva Barrosse, Los Angeles Times, 29 May 2022 Brenner’s intention is to later use these powers to help the U.S. government spy on the USSR). Josh St. Clair, Men's Health, 20 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'intention.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of intention

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Learn More About intention

Time Traveler for intention

Time Traveler

The first known use of intention was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near intention




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for intention

Last Updated

25 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Intention.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for intention


in·​ten·​tion | \ in-ˈten-shən How to pronounce intention (audio) \

Kids Definition of intention

1 : a determination to act in a particular way She announced her intention to run for president.
2 : an aim or plan It's his intention to win.


in·​ten·​tion | \ in-ˈten-chən How to pronounce intention (audio) \

Medical Definition of intention

1 : a determination to act in a certain way
2 : a process or manner of healing of incised wounds — see first intention, second intention


in·​ten·​tion | \ in-ˈten-chən How to pronounce intention (audio) \

Legal Definition of intention

: something intended : intent the intention of the testator

Note: Intent is more commonly used than intention when speaking technically especially about the criminal and tort concepts of intent (senses 1a and 1b).

More from Merriam-Webster on intention

Nglish: Translation of intention for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of intention for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about intention


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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