Definition of intention noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//ɪnˈtenʃn//
; NAmE NAmE//ɪnˈtenʃn//
[countable, uncountable]
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  • what you intend or plan to do; your aim intention (of doing something) I have no intention of going to the wedding. He left England with the intention of travelling in Africa. I have every intention of paying her back what I owe her. intention (to do something) He has announced his intention to retire. intention (that…) It was not my intention that she should suffer. The original intention was to devote three months to the project. She's full of good intentions but they rarely work out. I did it with the best (of) intentions(= meaning to help), but I only succeeded in annoying them. Synonymspurposeaim intention plan point ideaThese are all words for talking about what somebody/​something intends to do or achieve.purpose what something is supposed to achieve; what somebody is trying to achieve:Our campaign’s main purpose is to raise money.aim what somebody is trying to achieve; what something is supposed to achieve:She went to London with the aim of finding a job. Our main aim is to increase sales in Europe.purpose or aim?Your purpose for doing something is your reason for doing it; your aim is what you want to achieve. Aim can suggest that you are only trying to achieve something; purpose gives a stronger sense of achievement being certain. Aim can be somebody’s aim or the aim of something. Purpose is more usually the purpose of something: you can talk about somebody’s purpose but that is more formal.intention what you intend to do:I have no intention of going to the wedding. She’s full of good intentions but they rarely work out.plan what you intend to do or achieve:There are no plans to build new offices.intention or plan?Your intentions are what you want to do, especially in the near future; your plans are what you have decided or arranged to do, often, but not always, in the longer term.point (rather informal) the purpose or aim of something:What’s the point of all this violence? The point of the lesson is to compare the two countries.idea (rather informal) the purpose of something; somebody’s aim:The whole idea of going was so that we could meet her new boyfriend. What’s the idea behind this?point or idea?Point is a more negative word than idea. If you say What’s the point…? you are suggesting that there is no point; if you say What’s the idea…? you are genuinely asking a question. Point, but not idea, is used to talk about things you feel annoyed or unhappy about:There’s no idea in… I don’t see the idea of…. Patterns with the purpose/​aim/​intention/​idea of doing something somebody’s intention/​plan to do something to have a(n) purpose/​aim/​intention/​plan/​point to achieve/​fulfil a(n) purpose/​aim see also well intentioned
  • Word Originlate Middle English: from Old French entencion, from Latin intentio(n-) ‘stretching, purpose’, from intendere ‘intend, extend, direct’, from in- ‘towards’ + tendere ‘stretch, tend’.Word Familyintend verbintended adjective (unintended)intention nounintentional adjective (unintentional)intentionally adverb (unintentionally)Extra examples He didn’t make his intentions clear in his letter. His intention in inviting us to dinner was to persuade us to back his project. I have no intention of changing jobs. I went to the bank with the intention of getting some cash. It was done with the best intentions, I assure you. My original intention was to study all morning, but this turned out to be impractical. She may never reveal her true intentions. The council has announced its intention to crack down on parking offences. The general intention behind the project is a good one. The intention by the local authority to build 2 000 new houses is unrealistic. The senator has announced his intention to run for the presidency. We have every intention of winning the next election. I did it with the best (of) intentions , but I only succeeded in annoying them. She’s full of good intentions but they rarely work out.Idioms
    the road to hell is paved with good intentions
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    (saying) it is not enough to intend to do good things; you must actually do them
    See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: intention