• IPA: /ɪnˈtɛnʃən/


  1. The goal or purpose behind a specific action or set of actions.
    The intention of this legislation is to boost the economy.
    My intention was to marry a wealthy widow.
    It’s easy to promise anything when you have no intention of fulfilling any of it.
    • (but see Apocryhpha ↗)
      Hell is paved with good intentions.
    • 1908, W[illiam] B[lair] M[orton] Ferguson, chapter IV, in Zollenstein, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 731476803 ↗:
      “My Continental prominence is improving,” I commented dryly. ¶ Von Lindowe cut at a furze bush with his silver-mounted rattan. ¶ “Quite so,” he said as dryly, his hand at his mustache. “I may say if your intentions were known your life would not be worth a curse.”
  2. (obsolete) Tension; straining, stretching.
    • 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy: […], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 54573970 ↗:
      , I.iii.3:
      cold in those inner parts, cold belly, and hot liver, causeth crudity, and intention proceeds from perturbations […].
  3. A stretching or bending of the mind toward an object or a purpose (an intent); closeness of application; fixedness of attention; earnestness.
    • 1689 (indicated as 1690), [John Locke], chapter 2, in An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding. […], London: […] Thomas Basset, […], OCLC 153628242 ↗, book I, page 19 ↗:
      it is attention : when the mind with great earnestness, and of choice, fixes its view on any idea, considers it on all sides, and will not be called off by the ordinary solicitation of other ideas, it is that we call intention or study
  4. (obsolete) The object toward which the thoughts are directed; end; aim.
    • 1732, John Arbuthnot, An Essay Concerning the Nature of Ailments … ↗, Prop. II, p.159:
      In a Word, the most part of chronical Distempers proceed from Laxity of Fibres; in which Case the principal Intention is to restore the Tone of the solid Parts; […].
  5. (obsolete) Any mental apprehension of an object.
  6. (medicine) The process of the healing of a wound.
    • 2007, Carie Ann Braun, ‎Cindy Miller Anderson, Pathophysiology: Functional Alterations in Human Health, p.49 ↗:
      When healing occurs by primary intention, the wound is basically closed with all areas of the wound connecting and healing simultaneously.
Synonyms Related terms Translations Translations Verb

intention (intentions, present participle intentioning; past and past participle intentioned)

  1. Intend

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