"accomplishing some end; having an aim or purpose," 1849, from purpose (n.) + -ive. By 1884 in psychology, etc., "relating to conscious or unconscious purpose in behavior." Related: Purposively; purposiveness.
c. 1300, purpus, "intention, aim, goal; object to be kept in view; proper function for which something exists," from Anglo-French purpos, Old French porpos "an aim, intention" (12c.), from porposer "to put forth," from por- "forth" (from a variant of Latin pro- "forth;" see pur-) + Old French poser "to put, place" (see pose (v.1)).
Etymologically it is equivalent to Latin propositium "a thing proposed or intended," but evidently formed in French from the same elements. From mid-14c. as "theme of a discourse, subject matter of a narrative (as opposed to digressions), hence to the purpose "appropriate" (late 14c.). On purpose "by design, intentionally" is attested from 1580s; earlier of purpose (early 15c.).
word-forming element making adjectives from verbs, meaning "pertaining to, tending to; doing, serving to do," in some cases from Old French -if, but usually directly from Latin adjectival suffix -ivus (source also of Italian and Spanish -ivo). In some words borrowed from French at an early date it has been reduced to -y (as in hasty, tardy).
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Definitions of purposive from WordNet
having or showing or acting with a purpose or design;