\ˈgōl, chiefly Northern US especially in senses 3b and 2a also ˈgül\

Definition of goal 

1 : the end toward which effort is directed : aim The goal is high-speed rail travel.

2a : an area or object toward which players in various games attempt to advance a ball or puck and usually through or into which it must go to score points

b : the act or action of causing a ball or puck to go through or into such a goal

c : the score resulting from such an act

3a : the terminal point of a race

b : an area to be reached safely in children's games

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from goal

goal intransitive verb
goalless \ˈgō(l)-ləs \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for goal

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 goal in a Sentence

He set a goal for himself of exercising at least three times a week. Her primary goal is to get a college degree. We all share a common goal. She pursued her goal of starting her own business. The company has instituted several new policies with the goal of reducing waste. Last month he had 10 goals and six assists. She scored the winning goal in the game's final minute.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Barrios made 23 league appearances for Boca last season and scored his first goal for the club on their way to retaining the Primera Division title. SI.com, "Colombian Midfielder Wilmar Barrios Coy on Future as He Responds to Tottenham Links," 13 July 2018 The goal of treatment is to minimize any scarring on the face and maximize the cosmetic benefit. Marci Robin, Allure, "Beauty Mark Makeover: Why I Chose to Reduce the Size of My Mole Instead of Getting It Removed," 13 July 2018 The goal of these efforts is not to spend tons of money, but to do something different. Clay Marsh, STAT, "Facing deaths of despair from the depths of despair in West Virginia," 12 July 2018 The goal is to spark interest in continuing these activities in a home setting. Sara Ervin Walser, Laurel Leader, "Montpelier shindig raises repair money [South Laurel]," 12 July 2018 The goal for the app is to help the hip hop industry engage more with fans. Thr Staff, The Hollywood Reporter, "Pusha T Launches Hip Hop App," 12 July 2018 Although few derided past presidents’ ultimately naive dreams of working with Putin, Trump’s professed identical goal is sending visible willies through Democrats and European allies alike. Andrew Malcolm, SFChronicle.com, "Will Trump stand up to Putin or fall for him?," 12 July 2018 The goal of the new services, available this summer, is to put Jerusalem on par with other major cities around the world, such as London, Paris and New York. Jewish Journal, "Visitor pass 'connects the dots' in the city of Jerusalem," 12 July 2018 Gourley added that the goal of partnering with Lynn and the Keep Oregon Well street team at their shows is to inspire their fans to make mental healthy a priority, too. Lyndsey Havens, Billboard, "Portugal. The Man Advocate For Mental Health Awareness At Oregon Tour Stops: Exclusive," 12 July 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of goal

1531, in the meaning defined at sense 3a

History and Etymology for goal

Middle English gol boundary, limit

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about goal

Phrases Related to goal

drop goal

last-gasp goal

own goal

Statistics for goal

Last Updated

20 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for goal

The first known use of goal was in 1531

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for goal



English Language Learners Definition of goal

: something that you are trying to do or achieve

: an area or object into which a ball or puck must be hit, kicked, etc., to score points in various games (such as soccer and hockey)

: the act of hitting, kicking, etc., a ball or puck into a goal or the score that results from doing this


\ˈgōl \

Kids Definition of goal

1 : purpose What is your goal in life?

2 : an area or object into which a ball or puck must be driven in various games in order to score

3 : a scoring of one or more points by driving a ball or puck into a goal

4 : the point at which a race or journey is to end

5 : an area to be reached safely in certain games

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on goal

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


to reject or criticize sharply

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!