purpose


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Related to purpose: Purpose statement

for all intensive purposes

An erroneous misconstruction of the phrase "for all intents and purposes," meaning "in every practical or functional sense." I know the two countries have very distinct differences, but for all intensive purposes, America and Canada are nearly identical.
See also: all, purpose

serve (one's) purpose

To fit or satisfy someone's requirements; to be useful for or fit to achieve someone's aim, goal, or purpose. Well, it isn't a very pretty car, but it should serve our purpose just fine. Child: "But mom, I want a smartphone!" Mother: "Nonsense, the cell phone you already have serves your purpose just fine."
See also: purpose, serve

serve the purpose

To fit or satisfy the necessary requirements; to be useful for or fit to achieve some aim, goal, or purpose. Well, it isn't a very pretty car, but it should serve the purposes of our mission. Child: "But mom, I want a smartphone!" Mother: "Nonsense, the cell phone you have serves the purpose just fine."
See also: purpose, serve

cross purpose

A goal or purpose that conflicts with someone else's. Often used in the phrase "at cross purposes." It sounds like you two are at cross purposes right now, so take a few minutes and reach an agreement about what you hope to achieve.
See also: cross, purpose

to the purpose

To the point; that which is pertinent. We don't have much time left, so please, get to the purpose.
See also: purpose

answer (one's) purpose

To be useful for a particular task. If that's the only paintbrush we have, I think it will answer my purpose.
See also: answer, purpose

at cross purposes

In conflict with or in opposition to. You will never find success if you continue to work at cross purposes with your teammates.
See also: cross, purpose

accidentally on purpose

Seemingly unintentionally but actually deliberately. Paula is pretty shy, so I think she forgot to attend the party accidentally on purpose.
See also: accidentally, on, purpose

serve a purpose

To fit or satisfy the necessary requirements; to be useful for or fit to achieve some aim, goal, or purpose. Well, it isn't very flashy, but this old truck ought to serve a purpose somewhere on the ranch. I hope that my lessons served a purpose in my students' lives. You tripped while making fun of those kids? Serves you right!
See also: purpose, serve

the devil can quote scripture for his own purpose

Be aware that scripture can be manipulated to support nefarious acts. That new guy at church seems unsavory to me, especially because the devil can quote scripture for his own purpose.

for all intents and purposes

In every practical or functional sense; almost completely. The phrase is often misstated as "for all intensive purposes." The game is finished, for all intents and purposes. We just need to iron out a few issues before it's released. I am a doctor for all intents and purposes; I just happen to specialize in treating the feet. Oh for God's sake, I just had the car fixed and now you've put a dent in it!
See also: all, and, intent, purpose

to all intents and purposes

For the most part. To all intents and purposes, the gym is ready for tonight's dance. There's only a few small things we still need to do.
See also: all, and, intent, purpose

accidentally-on-purpose

Inf. deliberate, but meant to look like an accident. Then, I accidentally-on-purpose spilled water on him.

answer someone's purpose

 and serve someone's purpose
to fit or suit someone's aim or goal. This piece of wood will answer my purpose quite nicely. The new car serves our purpose perfectly.
See also: answer, purpose

at cross-purposes

with opposing viewpoints; with goals that interfere with each other. We are arguing at cross-purposes. We aren't even discussing the same thing. Bill and Tom are working at cross-purposes. They'll never get the job done right.

devil can quote Scripture for his own purpose

 and devil can cite Scripture for his own purpose
Prov. Evil people sometimes try to win the confidence of good people by quoting persuasive passages of Scripture.; Just because someone can quote Scripture to support his or her argument does not mean that the argument is virtuous. (Scripture usually refers to the Bible, but it can refer to other religious writings.) Sadie: Dad, you really ought to give me permission to go out with Nathan. He's such a polite boy, and he can even quote the Bible. Father: The devil can quote Scripture for his own purpose.

for all intents and purposes

Cliché seeming as if; looking as if. Tom stood there, looking, for all intents and purposes, as if he could strangle Sally, but, being the gentleman that he is, he just glowered. Mary: Is the car washed now? John: For all intents and purposes, yes, but I didn't dry it yet.
See also: all, and, intent, purpose

for all practical purposes

as might be reasonably expected; essentially. For all practical purposes, this is simply a matter of right and wrong. This should be considered final, for all practical purposes.
See also: all, practical, purpose

for one's (own) sake

for one's good or benefit; in honor of someone. I have to earn a living for my family's sake. I did it for my mother's sake.
See also: sake

for someone (or something's) sake

 and for the sake of someone or something
for the purpose or benefit of someone or something; to satisfy the demands of someone or something. I made a meatless dinner for John's sake; he's a vegetarian. The teacher repeated the assignment for the sake of the slower students.
See also: sake

on purpose

intentionally; in a way that is meant or intended; not an accident. The bully stepped on my foot on purpose. Jealously, Jimmy destroyed Billy's sand castle on purpose.
See also: on, purpose

Serve a (useful) purpose

to be useful in accomplishing some purpose. This large book should serve a useful purpose. We can use it for a doorstop.
See also: purpose, serve

at cross purposes

With aims or goals that conflict or interfere with one another, as in I'm afraid the two departments are working at cross purposes. This idiom, first recorded in 1688, may have begun as a 17th-century parlor game called "cross-purposes," in which a series of subjects (or questions) were divided from their explanations (or answers) and distributed around the room. Players then created absurdities by combining a subject taken from one person with an explanation taken from another.
See also: cross, purpose

on purpose

1. Deliberately, intentionally, as in He left the photo out of the story on purpose. Shakespeare's use of this idiom was among the earliest; it appears in The Comedy of Errors (4:3): "On purpose shut the doors against his way."
2. accidentally on purpose. Seemingly accidentally but actually deliberately, as in She stepped on his foot accidentally on purpose. This generally jocular phrase was first recorded in 1862.
See also: on, purpose

serve a purpose

Also, serve one's or the purpose . Be useful, meet the needs or requirements, satisfy, as in I don't know why they've added all this information but it probably serves a purpose, or It often serves his purpose to be vague, or We don't have a spading fork but this shovel should serve the purpose. This idiom was first recorded in 1513.
See also: purpose, serve

to all intents and purposes

Also, for all intents and purposes; for all practical purposes. In every practical sense, virtually. For example, For all intents and purposes the case is closed, or For all practical purposes the Vice-President is the chief executive while the President is in the hospital . The first phrase, dating from the 1500s, originated in English law, where it was to all intents, constructions, and purposes. A shorter synonym is in effect, def. 1.
See also: all, and, intent, purpose

to good purpose

To effective use, as in A donation to the homeless shelter will be put to good purpose. This idiom was first recorded in 1553. Also see to little or no purpose.
See also: good, purpose

to little purpose

Also, to no purpose. Of little or no use, in vain, as in Hiring a new lawyer will be to little purpose. The related phrases are sometimes combined in to little or no purpose and used as a general indicator of futility. To little purpose was first recorded in 1560. For a synonym, see to no avail; also see to good purpose.
See also: little, purpose

to all intents and purposes

COMMON You say to all intents and purposes to suggest that a situation is not exactly as you describe it but the effect is the same as if it were. To all intents and purposes he was my father. Note: People sometimes just say to all intents with the same meaning. For the first time in many years he was, to all intents, a free man.
See also: all, and, intent, purpose

at cross purposes

If two people are at cross purposes, they think they are talking about or trying to do the same thing as each other, but they are actually talking about or trying to do different things. They had been talking at cross purposes earlier, he realized. The Hungarian hadn't been offering him a share of the deal at all. Now that Council members are working together instead of at cross purposes, the chances of success look considerably brighter.
See also: cross, purpose

accidentally-on-purpose

mod. deliberate, but meant to look like an accident. Then I accidentally-on-purpose spilled water on him.

at cross-purposes

Pursuing conflicting or contrary goals, usually unintentionally: We're working at cross-purposes.

on purpose

Intentionally; deliberately.
See also: on, purpose

to good purpose

With good results.
See also: good, purpose
References in classic literature ?
It is a duty from which they may not shrink to decide cases properly brought before them, and it is no fault of theirs if others seek to turn their decisions to political purposes.
With what propriety, therefore, or for what good purposes, are attempts at this particular period made by some men to depreciate the importance of the Union?
From these two acts, it appears, 1st, that the object of the convention was to establish, in these States, A FIRM NATIONAL GOVERNMENT; 2d, that this government was to be such as would be ADEQUATE TO THE EXIGENCIES OF GOVERNMENT and THE PRESERVATION OF THE UNION; 3d, that these purposes were to be effected by ALTERATIONS AND PROVISIONS IN THE ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION, as it is expressed in the act of Congress, or by SUCH FURTHER PROVISIONS AS SHOULD APPEAR NECESSARY, as it stands in the recommendatory act from Annapolis; 4th, that the alterations and provisions were to be reported to Congress, and to the States, in order to be agreed to by the former and confirmed by the latter.
For this purpose, the inflammable gas which exudes plentifully from the soil is collected by means of pipes, and thence communicated to a quadruple row of lamps along the whole extent of the passage.
You came to Mercy Farm on purpose to break her--if you could.
There is then in all persons a natural impetus to associate with each other in this manner, and he who first founded civil society was the cause of the greatest good; for as by the completion of it man is the most excellent of all living beings, so without law and justice he would be the worst of all, for nothing is so difficult to subdue as injustice in arms: but these arms man is born with, namely, prudence and valour, which he may apply to the most opposite purposes, for he who abuses them will be the most wicked, the most cruel, the most lustful, and most gluttonous being imaginable; for justice is a political virtue, by the rules of it the state is regulated, and these rules are the criterion of what is right.
When bills are on the eve of falling due, with not a dollar in hand with which to meet them, it is pretty difficult to learn not to worry, although I think I am learning more and more each year that all worry simply consumes, and to no purpose, just so much physical and mental strength that might otherwise be given to effective work.
Only by renouncing our claim to discern a purpose immediately intelligible to us, and admitting the ultimate purpose to be beyond our ken, may we discern the sequence of experiences in the lives of historic characters and perceive the cause of the effect they produce (incommensurable with ordinary human capabilities), and then the words chance and genius become superfluous.
I look at him quite impartially, and I see that he has some notions--that he has set things on foot-- which I can turn to good public purpose.
When he came again to the stream, the Ass fell down on purpose in the same spot, and, regaining his feet with the weight of his load much diminished, brayed triumphantly as if he had obtained what he desired.
This instrument was designed for the purpose of rendering visible on the surface of the moon any object exceeding nine feet in diameter.
In these cases, one of the two organs might with ease be modified and perfected so as to perform all the work by itself, being aided during the process of modification by the other organ; and then this other organ might be modified for some other and quite distinct purpose, or be quite obliterated.
This honest purpose you have been pleased to think I have attained: and to say the truth, it is likeliest to be attained in books of this kind; for an example is a kind of picture, in which virtue becomes, as it were, an object of sight, and strikes us with an idea of that loveliness, which Plato asserts there is in her naked charms.
And thereupon it suffereth, and thinketh how it may put an end thereto--and for that very purpose it IS MEANT to think.
It is natural to regard desire as in its essence an attitude towards something which is imagined, not actual; this something is called the END or OBJECT of the desire, and is said to be the PURPOSE of any action resulting from the desire.