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


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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


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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
Practice your strike and aim reflexes with this standing punching bag. John Thompson, Men's Health, 14 Nov. 2022 The Seahawks, meanwhile, also hold command of their respective division and aim to play out their cinderella story. Richard Morin, USA TODAY, 11 Nov. 2022 Lobbyists who work with and aim to influence Louisville Metro officials will have to register with the city, under an ordinance Metro Council members approved Thursday. The Courier-Journal, 11 Nov. 2022 For runners whose sweat is saltier than average and who aim to drink aggressively enough to limit fluid losses to 2 percent of their starting weight, drinking water alone would leave them short on sodium. Alex Hutchinson, Outside Online, 4 Nov. 2022 Do the math and aim to get 1 cent to 1.4 cents per mile. Nerdwallet, cleveland, 30 Oct. 2022 Do the math and aim to get 1 cent to 1.4 cents per mile. Meghan Coyle, Chicago Tribune, 24 Oct. 2022 Do the math and aim to get 1 cent to 1.4 cents per mile. CBS News, 24 Oct. 2022 Customize your approach and aim to win support by appealing to the underlying values of each personality type. Nicholas Freund, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2022
Work to shore up the roads surrounding the four dams will begin in early 2023, with the aim of actually removing the dams in early 2024. Bykayna Whitworth And Alyssa Pone, ABC News, 19 Nov. 2022 The bank and its sister institution, the International Monetary Fund, were set up after the Second World War with the aim of financing reconstruction and reducing poverty. Kelvin Chan, ajc, 18 Nov. 2022 Kirk started Turning Point USA a decade ago with the aim of engaging college students and teaching them the value of the free market. Richard Ruelas, The Arizona Republic, 17 Nov. 2022 Charlie Price, a resolute drunken reprobate, has resolved to marry a woman with the aim of paying off his debts and staying in his family's good graces. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 17 Nov. 2022 Gowadia used his expertise to redesign jet nozzles with the aim of eliminating visible contrails. David Hambling, Popular Mechanics, 15 Nov. 2022 This is the second Earthshot Prize following the inaugural event in London last year, and the Prize will be held every year for a decade with the aim of championing 50 innovative solutions to the climate crisis. Victoria Murphy, Town & Country, 9 Nov. 2022 One such initiative, launched by the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation in 2021, is seeking to rehabilitate canals with the aim of improving water management and distribution. Nadeen Ebrahim, CNN, 8 Nov. 2022 Vault was founded in 2016 by brothers Adrian and Damian Wassel with the aim of providing a new guard of sci-fi, horror and fantasy comics. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, 4 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aim.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

aim 1 of 2


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


2 of 2


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

More from Merriam-Webster on aim

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