\ ˈām How to pronounce aim (audio) \
aimed; aiming; aims

Definition of aim

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

1a : point aim a gun
b : to direct toward a specified object or goal a story aimed at children
2 obsolete : guess, conjecture



Definition of aim (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : the pointing of a weapon at a mark She took careful aim.
b : the ability to hit a target a shooter with good aim
c : a weapon's accuracy or effectiveness The gun's aim is off.
2 : a clearly directed intent or purpose Our aim is to win.

3 obsolete

b : the directing of effort toward a goal
4 obsolete : mark, target

Definition of AIM (Entry 3 of 3)

American Indian Movement

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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

Examples of aim in a Sentence


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.


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Since beginning his time in the NHL, Subban has worked with — and founded — several philanthropic organizations, and aimed to be a role model for his youngest fans. Georgia Slater,, "Lindsey Vonn’s New Fiancé P.K. Subban Has Given Millions of NHL Salary to Charity — What to Know," 23 Aug. 2019 Parents were understandably outraged as this was a concert aimed pretty much solely at tweens. Ross Raihala, Twin Cities, "How Miley Cyrus and a shared love of music led to a friendship cut short by cancer," 23 Aug. 2019 Carlos is especially drawn to the confrontational performance art of Nico and his friends, much of it aimed at raising AIDS awareness and calling out anti-LGBT discrimination. Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘This Is Not Berlin’ vividly conjures a bygone Mexican counterculture," 22 Aug. 2019 While lying on his back, Drejka pulled his gun and aimed it at McGlockton. Terry Spencer,, "In trial of suspect who shot unarmed black man after argument over handicap parking space, shooter told detectives he feared severe injury," 22 Aug. 2019 The program has about three dozen birds and aims to release some into the wild in 2020. National Geographic, "The ‘king of birds’ dresses the part when pursuing a mate," 21 Aug. 2019 Rosie's Water Works is gone, but not forgotten. Elwood's Liquor & Tap, the bar that took its place at 1111 N. Water St., aimed to make sure of that. Jordyn Noennig, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Elwood's Liquor & Tap on Water aims to keep the feel of Rosie's Water Works with a modern twist," 21 Aug. 2019 Meanwhile, Gardner’s campaign on Wednesday aimed to lump Hickenlooper with the rest of the Democratic field. Justin Wingerter, The Denver Post, "John Hickenlooper is running for U.S. Senate: “I’m not done fighting for the people of Colorado”," 21 Aug. 2019 Enter private developers, and a network of builders and consultants who aim to provide new on- and off-campus options for colleges without requiring them to take on debt or tap too far into their capital reserves. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Back on campus, students confront a challenging housing market," 20 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The powerful hurricane hit the Bahamas, dealt a glancing blow to Central Florida’s coast and then took aim at the Carolinas. Roger Simmons,, "Hurricane Dorian de’ja vu: 40 years ago today, Hurricane David passed Orlando on way to Carolinas," 5 Sep. 2019 The furor then took direct aim at Judge Aaron Persky, who was recalled in June 2018. Anna Bauman,, "Stanford sex assault survivor ‘Emily Doe’ reveals name with new memoir," 4 Sep. 2019 The Brownsville incident was also the second fatal shooting in the past several days involving a man taking aim at New York City police officers who were attempting to stop him. Sharon Otterman, New York Times, "Masked Gunman Opens Fire on Police in Brooklyn Backyard," 2 Sep. 2019 Netanyahu has increasingly turned to tactics favored by his good friend President Donald Trump in recent years, taking aim at the media, prosecutors, judges and Israel’s Arab minority to shore up the support of his base. Washington Post, "Israeli PM infuses campaign with anti-media incitement," 2 Sep. 2019 Dave Chappelle continues to court controversy in his Netflix comedy specials, using his latest to take aim at Michael Jackson’s accusers, the #MeToo movement, transgender people, and more. Derek Lawrence,, "Dave Chappelle takes aim at Michael Jackson accusers, #MeToo movement in new Netflix special," 27 Aug. 2019 Trump officials are taking aim at the 1997 Flores settlement that set minimum standards of care for youths in U.S. custody. Los Angeles Times, "California to sue Trump administration over new migrant children detention policy, Newsom says," 22 Aug. 2019 Trump has also taken aim at California's more stringent standards, which the federal government historically allowed under a special exemption. John Fritze, USA TODAY, "Trump: Henry Ford would be 'disappointed' automakers are developing cars with lower emissions," 21 Aug. 2019 In the past decade, lawmakers in Congress (mostly Republicans) have introduced more than three hundred bills taking aim at the Endangered Species Act. Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, "The Trump Administration Finds a New Target: Endangered Species," 16 Aug. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of aim


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


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for aim

Verb and Noun

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

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Statistics for aim

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for aim

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

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More Definitions for aim



English Language Learners Definition of aim

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to point (a weapon) at a target
: to point (a device) at something
: to direct (something, such as a missile, a ball, a punch, or a kick) at a target



English Language Learners Definition of aim (Entry 2 of 2)

: a goal or purpose
: the ability to hit a target


\ ˈām How to pronounce aim (audio) \
aimed; aiming

Kids Definition of aim

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to point a weapon toward an object
2 : intend We aim to please.
3 : to direct toward an object or goal He aimed the stone at the tree. The exercise is aimed at improving balance.



Kids Definition of aim (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the ability to hit a target His aim was excellent.
2 : the pointing of a weapon at a target She took careful aim.
3 : a goal or purpose Our aim is to win.

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More from Merriam-Webster on aim

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with aim

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for aim

Spanish Central: Translation of aim

Nglish: Translation of aim for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of aim for Arabic Speakers

Comments on aim

What made you want to look up aim? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


concealment of treason or felony

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