intent-n; 2 Senses

Sense Number 1: The goal or anticipated outcome of an action.

Commentary: INTENT[+outcome]

The intent was to provide security for civilians.
His intent was never to harm anyone.

WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 1

Sense Number 2: The intended meaning of an instance of communication.

Commentary: INTENT[+linguistic]
NOTE: Use this sense only for acts of speaking.

The intent of her utterance was unclear.
I don't know what the overall intent of the essay is.

WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 2