Define: Intention

UK Accounting Glossary

Definition: Intention


Full Definition of Intention

Intention is the purpose or design with which an act is done.  It is the fore-knowledge of the act, coupled with the desire to do it, such fore-knowledge and desire being the cause of the act.  Intention may not necessarily involve expectation.  Intention is the foresight of a desired issue, however improbable, and not eh foresight of an undesired issue, however probable.  If X fires a rifle in the direction of a man at a great distance, X might very well know that chances of hitting him are desires to do so. In the same way, expectation also does not amount to intention.  A doctor operating on a patient might expect that the operation might result in the death of the patient; yet he does not intend the death of the patient.  He intends, in fact, to cure the patient by such operation.  Very often, one may intend a thing, not for its own sake, but as a means to an end.

A very important ingredient of criminal liability is that the wrongdoer must have a guilty mind.  The term guilty mind is very general, but in jurisprudence, it is understood in a technical sense.  The guilty mind that constitutes a condition of liability might be intention, negligence or sometimes even knowledge, which almost always indicates intention; but this does not mean that there should be any general kind of guilty which does not come under intention, negligence or knowledge.


Cite Term

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Modern Language Association (MLA):
Intention. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. March 31, 2020
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Intention. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: March 31, 2020).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Intention. Retrieved March 31, 2020, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Intention are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 18th March 2020.