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

Example Sentences

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 The goal of the selfie station is to create a more hip shopping experience for younger generations. Chandra Fleming, Detroit Free Press, 24 Mar. 2023 That means the goal now is not necessarily to be competitive but to finish the season with the best shot possible at landing the No. 1 pick during the NBA draft lottery in May. Afentres, oregonlive, 24 Mar. 2023 Ultimately, the goal is to find energy-efficient windows that lower your energy bill and create a comfortable environment year-round. Bridget Degnan, Better Homes & Gardens, 24 Mar. 2023 Instead of dropping weights to extend the working set, the goal here is to shorten the range of motion once fatigue sets in. Jeff Tomko, Men's Health, 24 Mar. 2023 The goal of a money market fund is to provide investors with a relatively stable investment option that offers higher returns than traditional savings. Nicole Goodkind, CNN, 24 Mar. 2023 The goal is to overcome imbalances and disharmonies. Alyssa Hui, Verywell Health, 24 Mar. 2023 To him, the goal should be to find as many cases as possible. Elaine Chen, STAT, 24 Mar. 2023 Siroker says the goal is to figure out how to do that in the least intrusive way possible. David Pierce, The Verge, 23 Mar. 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 31 Mar. 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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