1 of 3


aimed; aiming; aims

intransitive verb

: to direct a course
specifically : to point a weapon at an object
Aim carefully before shooting.
: aspire, intend
She aims to win.

transitive verb

: point
aim a gun
: to direct toward a specified object or goal
a story aimed at children
obsolete : guess, conjecture


2 of 3


plural aims
: the pointing of a weapon at a mark
She took careful aim.
: the ability to hit a target
a shooter with good aim
: a weapon's accuracy or effectiveness
The gun's aim is off.
: a clearly directed intent or purpose
Our aim is to win.
: the directing of effort toward a goal
obsolete : mark, target

see also take aim at


3 of 3


American Indian Movement
Choose the Right Synonym for aim

intention, intent, purpose, design, aim, end, object, objective, goal mean what one intends to accomplish or attain.

intention implies little more than what one has in mind to do or bring about.

announced his intention to marry

intent suggests clearer formulation or greater deliberateness.

the clear intent of the statute

purpose suggests a more settled determination.

being successful was her purpose in life

design implies a more carefully calculated plan.

the order of events came by accident, not design

aim adds to these implications of effort directed toward attaining or accomplishing.

her aim was to raise film to an art form

end stresses the intended effect of action often in distinction or contrast to the action or means as such.

willing to use any means to achieve his end

object may equal end but more often applies to a more individually determined wish or need.

his constant object was the achievement of pleasure

objective implies something tangible and immediately attainable.

their objective is to seize the oil fields

goal suggests something attained only by prolonged effort and hardship.

worked years to reach her goals

Example Sentences

Verb He aimed the gun carefully before shooting. Don't aim that pistol at me! He aimed carefully before shooting. Try to aim the antenna in the right direction. She aimed the telescope at a point in the eastern sky. She aimed at a point in the eastern sky. He aimed the stone at the dog but missed. The throw from the shortstop was poorly aimed. well-aimed and badly aimed kicks He aimed his criticism primarily at parents. Noun a political movement whose aim is to promote world peace Our ultimate aim is to create something of lasting value. The book has two basic aims. She was unable to achieve her aims. I started this business with the aim of making a profit. He fired at the target but his aim was off and he missed. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Record that number, and aim to beat it the next week. Brett Williams, Men's Health, 3 Feb. 2023 Both adapt the finer aesthetic details of the brand's vehicles to residential complexes and aim to replicate the benefits of single-family homes in a sky-high tower, from ample private outdoor space to in-unit garages. Jacqui Palumbo, CNN, 3 Feb. 2023 While Marvel Studios tends to go for fresh-faced indie directors, DC Studios might go the opposite direction and aim to work with more experienced filmmakers, as veteran director James Mangold taking on Swamp Thing showcases. Richard Newby, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Feb. 2023 Sunshine should dominate Monday, while additional clouds currently aim to move in during the day Tuesday. A. Camden Walker, Washington Post, 3 Feb. 2023 The third is Thrill of the Spill, where players aim at targets attached to a bucket hanging above the head of an opposing coach's heard, trying to dump the water in the bucket on the coach. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 2 Feb. 2023 The forecast covers spending on a variety of decision, process and task automation tools and platforms, which companies aim to deploy for as many IT processes as possible. Angus Loten, WSJ, 2 Feb. 2023 Other states should fully embrace this goal and aim to enact long-lasting reforms that pay off for years to come. Jonathan Wolfson, National Review, 1 Feb. 2023 Multiple studies show that those who aim high in negotiations end up achieving better results. Lynne Curry | Alaska Workplace, Anchorage Daily News, 30 Jan. 2023
In 1998, Alan Graham, a former real-estate developer, took aim at the problem, as an act of Christian charity. Lawrence Wright, The New Yorker, 6 Feb. 2023 Many challenges took aim at multiple books at a time. Brian Macquarrie,, 5 Feb. 2023 Zelenskyy on Wednesday took aim at corrupt officials for the second time in the space of a week. Susie Blann, Anchorage Daily News, 2 Feb. 2023 Trump took aim at DeSantis’s Covid response during campaign stops in New Hampshire and South Carolina, accusing the governor ... Brittany Bernstein, National Review, 1 Feb. 2023 Gunn also took aim at release dates, saying the industry puts far too much emphasis on meeting a date, versus making sure the movie is in good shape. Pamela Mcclintock, The Hollywood Reporter, 31 Jan. 2023 In clearing Vertol, Dempsey also took aim at arguments that text messages related to the contract are public records. Sun Sentinel, 30 Jan. 2023 In clearing Vertol, Dempsey also took aim at arguments that text messages related to the contract are public records. Jim Saunders, Orlando Sentinel, 30 Jan. 2023 The Vermont senator took aim at the Walton family for not paying their workers enough. Heather Hunter, Washington Examiner, 29 Jan. 2023 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aim.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Verb and Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French aesmer & esmer; Anglo-French aesmer, from a- (from Latin ad-) + esmer to estimate, from Latin aestimare

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Time Traveler
The first known use of aim was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near aim

Cite this Entry

“Aim.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
: to point a weapon
: aspire, intend
aims to please
: to direct to or toward an object or goal
aim a camera


2 of 2 noun
: the directing of a weapon or a missile at a mark

More from Merriam-Webster on aim

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