Purpose vs porpoise

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Purpose and porpoise are two words that are very close in pronunciation and are sometimes confused. We will examine the definitions of purpose and porpoise, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Purpose is the reason something exists, the reason something is created. Purpose may also mean a person’s plan or resolve, a person’s determination to do something. Most often, purpose is used as a noun, though it may be used as a verb to mean to have as an objective. In this case, purpose is a transitive verb, which is a verb that takes an object. Related words are purposes, purposed, purposing. The word purpose is derived from the Old French word porpos which means intention.

A porpoise is a marine mammal that is considered a small, toothed whale. A porpoise has a torpedo-shaped body, a triangular dorsal fin and resembles a dolphin. The word porpoise is also most often used as a noun, but may be used as an intransitive verb to mean to move through the water like a porpoise. Related words are porpoises, porpoised, porpoising. The word porpoise is derived from the Old French word porpais which translates as pig fish.


Give your team a sense of purpose and not only will it increase their likelihood of success, it may also contribute to their overall happiness. (Forbes Magazine)

Studies have shown globally that people with a definite purpose or strong passion in their lives lead far better lives than the ones who don’t. (The Times of India)

He was looking at photos of two conjoined harbour porpoises, newborns sharing a single body, a rarity among rarities in all the oceans in the world. (The Toronto Star)

The marine mammal, estimated to be about 1m in length, is believed to be a finless porpoise due to its lack of a dorsal fin. (The Borneo Post)