1 of 3


aimed; aiming; aims

intransitive verb

: to direct a course
specifically : to point a weapon at an object
Aim carefully before shooting.
: aspire, intend
She aims to win.

transitive verb

: point
aim a gun
: to direct toward a specified object or goal
a story aimed at children
obsolete : guess, conjecture


2 of 3


plural aims
: the pointing of a weapon at a mark
She took careful aim.
: the ability to hit a target
a shooter with good aim
: a weapon's accuracy or effectiveness
The gun's aim is off.
: a clearly directed intent or purpose
Our aim is to win.
: the directing of effort toward a goal
obsolete : mark, target

see also take aim at


3 of 3


American Indian Movement
Choose the Right Synonym for aim

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

Verb He aimed the gun carefully before shooting. Don't aim that pistol at me! He aimed carefully before shooting. Try to aim the antenna in the right direction. She aimed the telescope at a point in the eastern sky. She aimed at a point in the eastern sky. He aimed the stone at the dog but missed. The throw from the shortstop was poorly aimed. well-aimed and badly aimed kicks He aimed his criticism primarily at parents. Noun a political movement whose aim is to promote world peace Our ultimate aim is to create something of lasting value. The book has two basic aims. She was unable to achieve her aims. I started this business with the aim of making a profit. He fired at the target but his aim was off and he missed. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
People who obtain an expungement, or have their criminal records cleared, earn an average of 22% more within one year, reported Right On Crime, a national campaign of the conservative nonprofit Texas Public Policy Foundation that aims to reduce crime. Arcelia Martin, Dallas News, 18 May 2023 The lawsuit also names Moms for Liberty, a group aimed at defending parental rights in several areas, including education, as one of the main groups spearheading the removals. Rachel Schilke, Washington Examiner, 17 May 2023 President Joe Biden gave family caregivers a shoutout in his State of the Union address in February and followed up in April with an executive order aimed at supporting caregivers and incorporating their needs in planning federal programs, including Medicare and Medicaid. Joanne Kenen, USA TODAY, 17 May 2023 There are other side effects of cancer treatment, however, that the company aims to help address in the future, which is a much larger market. Mike Freeman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 May 2023 But not everybody was here to chase a world record; some were simply aiming to finish. Max Ufberg, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 May 2023 Studio71 aims to use these channels to help its affiliated creators raise their profile beyond the social realm and to build sustainable business operations. William Earl, Variety, 16 May 2023 In other campaign news… First in First Read: The National Republican Senatorial Committee is launching a digital ad aimed at Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. Ben Kamisar, NBC News, 16 May 2023 Layer plants in space and time and aim for as much biodiversity as possible. Elizabeth Waddington, Treehugger, 16 May 2023
Shaping Us aims to educate the public about how the environments and relationships a child experiences in their first five years can greatly impact the rest of their life. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 17 May 2023 The actual pavilion facility will meanwhile play host to a series of seminars focused on explaining what’s going on in China, as well as other activities such as individual film promotions, and the overall aim is to inform but also attract potential partners from the international film community. Mathew Scott, The Hollywood Reporter, 17 May 2023 The true aim of measures like SB 12, Caraballo explained, is to target the LGBTQ community as a whole. Michael Murney, Chron, 16 May 2023 Quartz sat down with Anandan for an episode of Reworking Work to discuss the aim of creating a workplace that applies universal design principles to fostering inclusion in a systemic way. Anna Oakes, Quartz, 16 May 2023 Russia also began employing GPS-jamming to throw off the aim of HIMARS and SDB glide bombs given to Ukraine. Sébastien Roblin, Popular Mechanics, 12 May 2023 Know when to give a little on the details in service of your greater aims. Tarot Astrologers, Chicago Tribune, 11 May 2023 Though that’s the aim, COLA has failed, Johnson claims. Medora Lee, USA TODAY, 10 May 2023 According to a 2021 study from the Observatory of Argentines for Education, a non-governmental organization that monitors educational data with the aim to strengthen public education, students from the lowest income decile make up 8% of college freshman. Erika Page, The Christian Science Monitor, 9 May 2023 See More

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

Word History


Verb and Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French aesmer & esmer; Anglo-French aesmer, from a- (from Latin ad-) + esmer to estimate, from Latin aestimare

First Known Use


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Time Traveler
The first known use of aim was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near aim

Cite this Entry

“Aim.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
: to point a weapon
: aspire, intend
aims to please
: to direct to or toward an object or goal
aim a camera


2 of 2 noun
: the directing of a weapon or a missile at a mark

More from Merriam-Webster on aim

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