target

noun, often attributive
tar·​get | \ ˈtär-gət How to pronounce target (audio) \

Definition of target

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a mark to shoot at
b : a target marked by shots fired at it
c : something or someone fired at or marked for attack
d : a goal to be achieved
2a : an object of ridicule or criticism
b : something or someone to be affected by an action or development
c US law : a person against whom a federal prosecutor has substantial evidence of involvement in criminal activity and who the prosecutor believes is likely to be indicted by a grand jury The full extent of Iacobelli's ongoing cooperation is sealed in federal court, but prosecutors have identified additional targets and Iacobelli could spend less time in prison if his help proves substantial.— Robert Snell
3a : the metallic surface (as of platinum or tungsten) upon which the stream of electrons within an X-ray tube is focused and from which the X-rays are emitted
b : a body, surface, or material bombarded with nuclear particles or electrons especially : fluorescent material on which desired visual effects are produced in electronic devices (as in radar)
4 : a small round shield
off target
: not valid : inaccurate
on target
: precisely correct or valid especially in interpreting or addressing a problem or vital issue

target

verb
targeted; targeting; targets

Definition of target (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to make a target of targeted her for promotion especially : to set as a goal
2 : to direct or use toward a target

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Synonyms for target

Synonyms: Noun

butt, mark, prey, sitting duck, victim

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Examples of target in a Sentence

Noun

Our target amount for the fund-raiser is $2,500. They set a target date of May 31. Planes struck at key military targets. Tourists are often easy targets for thieves.

Verb

drugs that target cancer cells
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The airmen at Schriever are used to the idea of GPS as a target. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Inside the Locked Rooms Where They Protect GPS," 22 Mar. 2019 But some experts question whether the plans will make much of an impression on the target audience. Dave Philipps, The Seattle Times, "The Army, in need of recruits, turns focus to Seattle, other liberal-leaning cities," 2 Jan. 2019 In a surprising cliffhanger, the high schooler became the unintended target of an act of violence after being shot by Latrell. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, ""On My Block" Season 2 Teaser Video and First Look Photos Hint That Ruby Is Still Alive," 7 Mar. 2019 To create a full workout out of these moves, choose three or four that target a variety of muscle groups, and do them as a circuit. Amy Marturana, SELF, "11 Kettlebell Exercises That Strengthen and Stabilize Your Core," 1 Mar. 2019 Licensing/rights issues with third-party publishers, problems with emulation quality, or presumed appeal to the target audience could all be to blame. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Dozens of hidden game names found in PlayStation Classic source files," 5 Dec. 2018 In the past year alone, the Post has doubled the number of digital subscriptions and increased its online traffic by more than half; its advertising team has met or exceeded all its targets. Rose Minutaglio, Town & Country, "Washington Post Staffers Weren't Afraid to Call Out Jeff Bezos on the Paper's Pricey Super Bowl Ad," 4 Feb. 2019 And at a target price that families with a median income could afford, fewer homes are for sale. Josh Boak, The Seattle Times, "Analysis: Falling home sales not helping middle-class buyers," 23 Jan. 2019 Model 3 production, while impressive, is still also far below the target Tesla set itself in its Q2 investor update. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Tesla delivered 83,500 vehicles in Q3 2018 despite “logistics hell”," 2 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This week gave them fresh reason to doubt after authorities targeted an opposition leader with a sedition charge. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Democracy Dwindles in Thailand," 4 Apr. 2019 India deliberately targeted a satellite that orbited at a lower altitude than the ISS to prevent this sort of situation, but some of the debris appears to have reached higher. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "India's Anti-Satellite Test Could Threaten the International Space Station," 2 Apr. 2019 During that period, extremists hoping to create an Islamic state battled security forces while carrying out village massacres and targeting journalists, intellectuals and foreigners. ___ Elaine Ganley in Paris contributed to this report. Aomar Ouali, The Seattle Times, "Algerian army chief calls for president to be declared unfit," 26 Mar. 2019 And the Charity collection is charcoal-based, which will deep-clean your pores and target acne. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Everything In Amazon's Fast Beauty Co. Sheet Mask Line Is Under $20," 14 Mar. 2019 Back in January, royal correspondent Emily Nash reported that threats have been made to the duchesses and their own fans were targeting each other with online abuse. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Royal Family Combats Online Trolls with Official Social Media Guidelines," 4 Mar. 2019 But when the spacecraft first launched from Earth in January 2006, astronomers didn’t even know if there was an object close enough to Pluto that New Horizons could target. Loren Grush, The Verge, "On New Year’s Day, a spacecraft will zoom by the most distant object humanity has ever visited," 27 Dec. 2018 The company is targeting payloads up to 300kg for low Earth orbit but does not plan to have a rocket ready for commercial launches until 2026. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "Rocket Report: Firefly to the Moon, SpaceX makes a splash, H3 nets a customer," 7 Dec. 2018 Smalls isn’t the only local product UW will likely target in the 2020 class. Mike Vorel, The Seattle Times, "Garfield five-star linebacker Sav’ell Smalls includes UW, WSU in top 12," 11 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'target.' 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 target

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Verb

1837, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for target

Noun

Middle English, from Middle French targette, targuete, diminutive of targe light shield, from Old French, of Germanic origin; akin to Old Norse targa shield

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Statistics for target

Last Updated

28 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for target

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

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More Definitions for target

target

noun

English Language Learners Definition of target

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something that you are trying to do or achieve
: a place, thing, or person at which an attack is aimed
: the person or group that someone is trying to influence, sell something to, etc.

target

verb

English Language Learners Definition of target (Entry 2 of 2)

: to aim an attack at someone or something
: to direct an action, message, etc., at someone or something

target

noun
tar·​get | \ ˈtär-gət How to pronounce target (audio) \

Kids Definition of target

1 : a mark or object to shoot at or attack
2 : a person or thing that is talked about, criticized, or laughed at
3 : a goal to be reached Her target is to lose ten pounds by summer.

target

noun
tar·​get | \ ˈtär-gət How to pronounce target (audio) \

Medical Definition of target

1 : something to be affected by an action or development specifically : an organ, part, or tissue that is affected by the action of a hormone
2a : the metallic surface usually of platinum or tungsten upon which the stream of electrons within an X-ray tube is focused and from which the X-rays are emitted
b : a body, surface, or material bombarded with nuclear particles or electrons
3 : the thought or object that is to be recognized (as by telepathy) or affected (as by psychokinesis) in a parapsychological experiment

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target

noun
tar·​get

Legal Definition of target

: the object to be affected or achieved by an action or development specifically : a company that is the object of a takeover

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More from Merriam-Webster on target

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with target

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for target

Spanish Central: Translation of target

Nglish: Translation of target for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of target for Arabic Speakers

Comments on target

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