goal

Synonym Chooser

How does the noun goal contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of goal are aim, design, end, intention, intent, objective, object, and purpose. While all these words mean "what one intends to accomplish or attain," goal suggests something attained only by prolonged effort and hardship.

worked years to reach her goals

When could aim be used to replace goal?

The meanings of aim and goal largely overlap; however, aim adds to these implications of effort directed toward attaining or accomplishing.

her aim was to raise film to an art form

When is it sensible to use design instead of goal?

The words design and goal are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, design implies a more carefully calculated plan.

the order of events came by accident, not design

When can end be used instead of goal?

While the synonyms end and goal are close in meaning, 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

In what contexts can intent take the place of goal?

The words intent and goal can be used in similar contexts, but intent suggests clearer formulation or greater deliberateness.

the clear intent of the statute

When might intention be a better fit than goal?

While in some cases nearly identical to goal, intention implies little more than what one has in mind to do or bring about.

announced his intention to marry

How do object and end relate to one another, in the sense of goal?

Object may equal end but more often applies to a more individually determined wish or need.

his constant object was the achievement of pleasure

When is objective a more appropriate choice than goal?

The synonyms objective and goal are sometimes interchangeable, but objective implies something tangible and immediately attainable.

their objective is to seize the oil fields

When would purpose be a good substitute for goal?

Although the words purpose and goal have much in common, purpose suggests a more settled determination.

being successful was her purpose in life

Thesaurus Entries Near goal

Cite this Entry

“Goal.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/goal. Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on goal

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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