ˈgōl How to pronounce goal (audio)
chiefly Northern US especially in senses 3b and 2a also
ˈgül How to pronounce goal (audio)
plural goals
: the end toward which effort is directed : aim
The goal is high-speed rail travel.
: 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
: the act or action of causing a ball or puck to go through or into such a goal
: the score resulting from such an act
: the terminal point of a race
: an area to be reached safely in children's games
goal intransitive verb
goalless 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 Malibu Barbie and Brooklyn Barbie are best friends who depend on communication skills, teamwork and fun to achieve their goals. Common Sense Media, Washington Post, 22 Sep. 2023 Julia Roberts has been the personification of my hair goals for basically my entire life. Marci Robin, Allure, 22 Sep. 2023 Against an infrastructure that shows little interest in supporting them, Grrrl Gang have carved their own niche in their home nation, with their goal now to prove that Indonesian alternative rock music can rub shoulders with the world’s elite. Max Pilley, Spin, 22 Sep. 2023 But if education in the liberal arts actually achieves these goals, how come many humanities professors are self-important, status-conscious jerks? WSJ, 22 Sep. 2023 The number one goal is figuring out where [home] is. Larisha Paul, Rolling Stone, 22 Sep. 2023 On most of the goals – eradicating extreme poverty, ensuring secondary school education, ending gender inequalities, and improving environmental policies – things are far behind schedule. Ned Temko, The Christian Science Monitor, 21 Sep. 2023 Conerly’s first false start came with goal to go and Oregon still managed to score a touchdown on the next play, with Bo Nix connecting with Tez Johnson for a 13-yard score. oregonlive, 12 Sep. 2023 The Shamrocks owned a lopsided 14-2 advantage in shots on goal. Brad Joyal, BostonGlobe.com, 12 Sep. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English gol boundary, limit

First Known Use

1531, in the meaning defined at sense 3a

Time Traveler
The first known use of goal was in 1531

Dictionary Entries Near goal

Cite this Entry

“Goal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/goal. Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


: the ending point of a race
: an area to be reached safely in children's games
: the object toward which effort is directed
: an area or object into which a ball or puck must be driven to score points in various games
: the score resulting from driving a ball or puck into a goal

More from Merriam-Webster on goal

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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