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From Middle English intenden, entenden (direct (one’s) attention towards), borrowed from Old French entendre, from Latin intendō, intendere. See also intensive. Doublet of entendre.


  • enPR: ĭn-tĕndʹ, IPA(key): /ɪnˈtɛnd/
  • Audio (US):(file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛnd
  • Hyphenation: in‧tend



intend (third-person singular simple present intends, present participle intending, simple past and past participle intended)

  1. (transitive, intransitive, usually followed by particle "to" + verb, or "on"/"upon" + noun) To fix the mind upon (something, or something to be accomplished); be intent upon
    Synonyms: mean, design, plan, purpose, foremind, (Northern England, Scotland) mint
    He intends to go to university.
    They evidently intended some mischief.
    • 1897 December (indicated as 1898), Winston Churchill, chapter I, in The Celebrity: An Episode, New York, N.Y.: The Macmillan Company; London: Macmillan & Co., Ltd., →OCLC:
      The stories did not seem to me to touch life. They were plainly intended to have a bracing moral effect, and perhaps had this result for the people at whom they were aimed. They left me with the impression of a well-delivered stereopticon lecture, with characters about as life-like as the shadows on the screen, and whisking on and off, at the mercy of the operator.
    • 1935, George Goodchild, chapter 1, in Death on the Centre Court:
      She mixed furniture with the same fatal profligacy as she mixed drinks, and this outrageous contact between things which were intended by Nature to be kept poles apart gave her an inexpressible thrill.
    • 2013 June 7, Ed Pilkington, “‘Killer robots’ should be banned in advance, UN told”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 188, number 26, page 6:
      In his submission to the UN, [Christof] Heyns points to the experience of drones. Unmanned aerial vehicles were intended initially only for surveillance, and their use for offensive purposes was prohibited, yet once strategists realised their perceived advantages as a means of carrying out targeted killings, all objections were swept out of the way.
  2. To fix the mind on; attend to; take care of; superintend; regard.
  3. (obsolete) To stretch to extend; distend.
  4. To strain; make tense.
  5. (obsolete) To intensify; strengthen.
    • 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy: [], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: [] John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, →OCLC:
      , Bk.I, New York, 2001, p.139:
      Dotage, fatuity, or folly [] is for the most part intended or remitted in particular men, and thereupon some are wiser than others […].
  6. To apply with energy.
  7. To bend or turn; direct, as one’s course or journey.
  8. To design mechanically or artistically; fashion; mold.
  9. To pretend; counterfeit; simulate.

Usage notes




Derived terms




Further reading

  • intend”, in OneLook Dictionary Search.