AskDefine | Define intentional

Dictionary Definition

intentional adj
1 by conscious design or purpose; "intentional damage"; "a knowing attempt to defraud"; "a willful waste of time" [syn: deliberate, knowing, willful, wilful]
2 done or made or performed with purpose and intent; " more than the deliberate and designed creation"- Havelock Ellis; "games designed for all ages"; "well-designed houses" [syn: designed] [ant: undesigned]
3 done by design; "the insult was intentional"; "willful disobedience" [syn: willful, wilful]

User Contributed Dictionary



intention + -al


  1. Intended or planned; done deliberately or voluntarily
  2. Done with intent


Derived terms


intended or planned; done deliberately or voluntarily
done with intent

Extensive Definition

An agent's intention in performing an action is their specific purpose in doing so, the end or goal they aim at, or intend to accomplish. Whether an action is successful or unsuccessful depends at least on whether the intended result was brought about. Other consequences of someone's acting are called unintentional. Intentional behavior can also be just thoughtful and deliberate goal-directedness.

In Philosophy

G.E.M Anscombe made the topic of intentional action a major topic of analytic philosophy with her 1957 work Intention. She argued that intentional action was coextensive with action of which you could ask "why were you doing that?" In the sense that she meant that question, it was "refused application" by the answer "I was not aware that I was doing that," but not by "for no reason at all." Therefore she held that it was possible to act intentionally for no reason at all. She also claimed that intentional action was subject to "knowledge without observation."

Related terms

  • In the philosophy of mind, intentionality is the property of being "about" something else, or to have some subject matter, in a certain way. Many states of mind, such as thinking about the pyramids, are characteristically about things (in this case the pyramids). Other things, such as words and paintings, can also have kinds of intentionality. Rocks and tables, in general, do not have intentional states.


intentional in German: Willenserklärung
intentional in French: Intention
intentional in Korean: 의사표시
intentional in Japanese: 意思表示
intentional in Russian: Интенция
intentional in Sicilian: Ntinzioni
intentional in Chinese: 意思表示

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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