\ 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

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Help the team check the health of the local reef, and collect data for projects aimed at protecting native species. National Geographic, "Baja and the Sea of Cortez Expedition: Marine Conservation," 15 Sep. 2019 The Burbank City Council unanimously voted on Tuesday to adopt a new policy aimed at guiding city officials when deciding on new bus routes for the local underutilized transit system. Anthony Clark Carpio, Burbank Leader, "Officials put brakes on BurbankBus Gold Route, steer toward other changes," 13 Sep. 2019 Now the law aimed at Catholics affects all people of faith. David French, National Review, "The Words Missing from a New York Times Essay about Religious Liberty," 12 Sep. 2019 Other awards will be used to create nurseries aimed at developing local, native plant stock, the release said. Courtney Astolfi,, "Cuyahoga County awards nearly $1 million to cities, civic groups in County Executive Budish’s tree canopy restoration plan," 11 Sep. 2019 While manufacturing companies have said the devices and products are aimed at adults, data show that large numbers of youths are vaping. Christine Sexton,, "Vaping-linked lung problems surfacing in Florida," 10 Sep. 2019 Choe's statement and the following projectile launches were apparently aimed at pressuring the United States to make concessions when the North Korea-U.S. talks restart. CBS News, "North Korea fires projectiles hours after offering to resume talks with U.S.," 9 Sep. 2019 His bishop was aimed at the king; his rooks were working together; his knight was ready to leap into the action. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, "Magnus Carlsen Was Defeated, But the Draw Remains Dominant in Chess," 30 Aug. 2019 Buggs said the scholarship will be broadly aimed at helping young women who might follow Cockrell’s footsteps into public service. Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje,, "Friends rushed to create SMU endowment while Lila Cockrell was still alive," 30 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The aim is to develop systems that can automatically detect first-person violent events without also flagging similar footage from movies or video games. Washington Post, "Facebook to train AI systems using police video," 17 Sep. 2019 The aim was to dislodge Afghanistan’s then-ruling Taliban for harboring Al Qaeda leader and Sept. 11 mastermind Osama bin Laden., "NEW YORK — People who were too young on 9/11 to remember their lost loved ones, and others for whom the grief is still raw, paid tribute with wreath-layings and a solemn roll call of the dead Wednesday as America marked the 18th anniversary of the worst terror attack on US soil.," 12 Sep. 2019 The aim was to dislodge Afghanistan’s then-ruling Taliban for harboring al-Qaida leader and Sept. 11 mastermind Osama bin Laden. Jennifer Peltz, The Denver Post, "18 years later, America vows to ‘never forget’ 9/11," 11 Sep. 2019 Mr Ren’s stated aim is to create a rival that could compete in 5G with Huawei (which would keep its existing contracts and continue to sell its own 5G kit). The Economist, "Ren Zhengfei may sell Huawei’s 5G technology to a Western buyer," 11 Sep. 2019 The aim is to raise $6,000 to help the organization’s mission of aiding people with developmental disabilities. Daily Pilot, "Around Town: Blessing of the Waves returns to Surf City on Sunday," 5 Sep. 2019 Ukrainians revolted with the aim of building a modern, transparent state whose fortunes were locked westward to the European Union and no longer to Russia, its neighbor to the east. Washington Post, "Legacy of Ukraine Revolution Rides on March Election: QuickTake," 18 Sep. 2019 State lawmakers enacted the measure with the aim of providing tax relief. Joshua Fechter,, "San Antonio’s new $2.9 billion budget to fund affordable housing, domestic violence prevention," 12 Sep. 2019 The week-long awareness campaign takes place across the country with the aim of educating the public and engaging healthcare professionals to expand knowledge about suicide prevention. Drew Jones, Houston Chronicle, "Humble, Huffman ISDs tackle mental health ahead of Suicide Prevention Week," 9 Sep. 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

5 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for aim

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

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More Definitions for aim


How to pronounce AIM (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for aim

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


a calculated move

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