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for - definition and synonyms

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90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

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preposition, conjunction strong    for pronunciation in British English
/fɔː(r)/ weak    for pronunciation in British English
For can be used in the following ways:
as a preposition (followed by a noun): I bought some flowers for Chloe.Wait there for a while.
as a conjunction (connecting two clauses): I told her to leave, for I was very tired.
  1. 1
    intended to help or benefit someone/something
    1. a.
      used for saying who or what is intended to receive something or get the benefit of it

      I’ve brought a cup of tea for you.

      Claudia, this present is for you.

      So, what can I do for you?

      They’ll have to buy furniture for the new house.

    2. b.
      used for saying that someone does something so that someone else does not have to do it

      Betty will take care of things for us while we’re away.

    3. c.
      in order to protect someone or something

      We are here today to honour those who died for their country.

  2. 2
    used for stating the purpose of an object or action

    We use the basement for storage.

    The red button is for turning the machine off.

  3. 3
    used for saying a length of time or a distance
    1. a.
      used for saying how long something lasts or continues

      There have been drought conditions for the last two summers.

      I’ve been waiting for 20 minutes.

      for a while:

      We haven’t seen Kim for a while.

    2. b.
      used for saying how far something reaches, or how far someone goes

      They must have walked for at least three miles.

  4. 4
    used for saying the particular time or date that something is planned to happen

    The meeting was planned for 10 o’clock.

    The release of her new album is scheduled for next August.

  5. 5
    used for saying the person or organization that someone is employed by

    She works for a firm of accountants.

  6. 6
    used for saying how much money is paid
    1. a.
      used for saying the cost of a product or a service

      I sold my car for £900.

      How much do you want for those two lamps?

      They bought the entire business for around £15m.

      He says he won’t fix the bike for less than sixty pounds.

      Synonyms and related words
    2. b.
      used for saying how much someone earns

      Some labourers were working for less than £3 a day.

  7. 7
    used for saying who or what you support or prefer
    1. a.
      used for saying which person or thing someone supports or agrees with

      Everyone says they are for equal opportunities.

      Eight members voted for the proposal and six against.

      all for (=supporting something completely):

      Of course, I’m all for (=I completely support) freedom of speech.

    2. b.
      if you are for a particular plan or activity, you want to take part in it

      I’m for a picnic by the river.

      Anyone for tennis?

  8. 8
    relating to or concerning someone or something

    Living conditions for most of the citizens are very bad.

  9. 9
    used for talking about reasons or causes
    1. a.
    2. b.
      mainly literary because

      She began to grow nervous, for he had promised to meet her at dawn.

    3. c.
      used after nouns such as ‘reason’ or ‘cause’

      Did he give any reason for arriving so late?

      The current inflation rate is a cause for concern.

  10. 10
    used for showing that your feelings are directed towards a particular person or thing

    I’m so happy for you!

    I feel sorry for his wife.

    It’s clear that she has great affection for her grandchildren.

    I feel nothing but disgust for the whole process.

  11. 11
    used for saying who you represent when you say or do something

    I’m speaking for all of us when I say how sorry we are.

  12. 12
    used for saying the place you are going to when you leave another place

    What time are you leaving for home?

    He got on the next plane for San Francisco.

  13. 13
    used after some adjectives, nouns, and verbs for saying who or what does the action of the following verb
    for someone/something to do something:

    It was difficult for me to understand what he was saying.

    All I want is for you to be happy.

    It is time for Congress to begin exploring some new approaches.

  14. 14
    in order to celebrate a holiday or special occasion

    John gave me a tie for Christmas, as usual.

    We haven’t decided what to do for her birthday.

  15. 15
    used for saying what a particular amount of time, money, space etc makes possible

    We haven’t got the money for a new car right now.

    Come in – there’s room for two.

    There just isn’t enough time for everyone to have a try.

  16. 16
    used for saying who has a particular feeling or opinion about something

    For me personally, it was a complete disaster.

    The biggest concern for most Americans was the quality of public education.

  17. 17
    used for saying that a particular fact about someone or something is surprising when you consider who or what they are

    She sings amazingly well for a child.

    It’s awfully expensive for a child’s toy.

  18. 18
    used for saying what something means or represents

    What’s the Italian word for ‘Goodbye’?

    Red roses are for love.

  19. 19
    informal used for saying which person a particular thing, activity, or person would be suitable for

    I just know this girl will be the one for you.

    Mountain climbing’s not for me – it looks too dangerous.

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a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

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a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

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