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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Those are the astronomical odds of winning the Mega Millions, a longshot possibility put even further out of reach after a change in the game’s rules in 2017 aimed at driving up the size of the jackpot. Brian Bushard, Forbes, 21 Feb. 2024 These boats have formed part of a regular deployment since the start of the war, which the IDF has said is aimed at conducting surveillance and attacking Gaza from the west. Katie Polglase, CNN, 21 Feb. 2024 The competition includes fast food companies like Chipotle, which has been increasing the financial and health benefits aimed at members of Generation Z. There are nearly 33 million Americans between the ages of 17 and 24, the age range from which the Marines draw most recruits. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 Feb. 2024 The show, aimed at kids ages 5-8, teaches social language skills, like understanding nonverbal communication; taking others’ perspectives into account; and resolving miscommunication. Kimberly Nordyke, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 Feb. 2024 While some projects are aimed at bringing back natural habitats, others involve flooding agricultural land for part of the year to create habitat for fish and birds. Ian James, Los Angeles Times, 20 Feb. 2024 The new collaboration aims to track both specific point sources of methane emissions and broader dispersed sources, as well as emission rates and how emissions of the gas are changing over time. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 20 Feb. 2024 Many companies have taken advantage of inflation to pad profits, but for the past several years, some portion of grocery and restaurant price increases has been aimed at covering higher costs. Jason Karaian, New York Times, 20 Feb. 2024 The bill, which set aside $121.3 million annually for local policing and another $121.3 million for programs aimed at curbing youth crime and delinquency, was believed to be the country’s largest source of funding at the time for youth crime prevention and intervention. Laura J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times, 9 Feb. 2024
Originally, tourist tax was introduced by certain governments with the aim of tempering overtourism and generating income from large numbers of travelers entering the destination. Olivia Morelli, Condé Nast Traveler, 22 Feb. 2024 Needle exchange programs allow drug users to obtain clean needles and dispose of used ones, with the aim of reducing the spread of infectious diseases. Ian Max Stevenson, Idaho Statesman, 22 Feb. 2024 The Japanese government has implemented corporate governance reforms since 2013, with the aim of making businesses more accountable to their shareholders and promoting their sustainable growth. Laura He, CNN, 21 Feb. 2024 Grounding, representativeness, and scalability are all unsolved challenges Ultimately, the aim is for AI simulations to accurately model real-world, rather than make-believe, scenarios. Joanne Chen, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2024 The government’s efforts to get overseas companies to return after Covid are falling short, and more will be needed if Beijing is to succeed in its aims. Bloomberg, Fortune, 19 Feb. 2024 While some places are lagging, her aim isn't to punish them but to help them get started, adding that every bit helps the state move towards its goal of reducing emissions. Amy Taxin, Quartz, 18 Feb. 2024 The head of the Defense Department appointed a longtime deputy of Apple CEO Tim Cook to direct of the Defense Innovation Unit, a division whose aim is to fast track commercial tech for national security, a role reporting directly to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Elizabeth Dwoskin, Washington Post, 17 Feb. 2024 The strategic level of war relates to the way these military objectives combine to secure political aims, especially ending a war. Paul Lushenko, The Conversation, 16 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'aim.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 4 Mar. 2024.

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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