Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Anglicized spelling of raison d'être; a reason for living.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. reason for being
  • n. the purpose that justifies a thing's existence

Etymologies

From French raison d'être (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • My lady amanuensis, who at one time was a member of the sisterhood at Clewer, has been spending part of her summer there again, and returns to me with a new semi (if semi) Catholic badge round her neck – a blue ribbon with a St. Andrew's cross suspended to it – the insignia of a new sisterhood, whose special raison d'etre (as far as she would make it known to me) was that its members were to be kind to one another.

    Further Records, 1848-1883: A Series of Letters

  • This is the sonata the name of which Count Leo Tolstoi took for his famous book, though to the vast majority of hearers it will always remain a mystery how the classical harmonies of the sonata could have aroused the passions which form the raison d'etre of the book.

    Famous Violinists of To-day and Yesterday

  • It is true that de la Salle, in establishing his institute, had in mind principally the primary and elementary school, which was the real raison d'etre for the existence of the Brothers of the Christian

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 8: Infamy-Lapparent

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