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

Examples of aim in a Sentence

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
Take 2 Risk & Safety aims to offer consulting services to make productions and live events safer for all involved, as well as to help identify operational risks and optimize insurance plans. Caroline Brew, Variety, 24 Nov. 2023 This change, also aimed at improving representation and inclusion, follows extensive consultation within the BRITs organization and relevant industry and Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) groups, including the BPI’s own Equity & Justice Advisory Group (EJAG). Paul Grein, Billboard, 24 Nov. 2023 Every state transportation department has developed plans to complete a nationwide network of chargers, aided by $5 billion from the infrastructure law -- a step aimed at reducing anxiety about not finding somewhere to plug in. Ian Duncan The Washington Post,, 23 Nov. 2023 After leaving the White House in 1981, the Carters started The Carter Center, a health and human rights organization aimed at alleviating human suffering around the globe. Stephanie Sengwe, Peoplemag, 23 Nov. 2023 Police officials have already undertaken new efforts of their own, including holding hiring expos aimed specifically at women. San Diego Union-Tribune, 22 Nov. 2023 On Tuesday, Israel and Hamas agreed to a temporary truce aimed at facilitating the release of hostages. Erin B. Logan, Los Angeles Times, 22 Nov. 2023 The venture includes Empower Global, an e-commerce marketplace launched in 2021 aimed at supporting Black entrepreneurs. Nicole Childers, NBC News, 22 Nov. 2023 This provision seems in part aimed at putting beyond reproach Justices who speak at law schools, including the conservative-leaning Antonin Scalia Law School, which has welcomed Thomas, Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh onto its faculty. Jeannie Suk Gersen, The New Yorker, 21 Nov. 2023
Biden has spent the better part of the last calendar year hosting Indo-Pacific leaders, with the unspoken aim of countering China's military and economic buildup in the region. Christian Datoc, Washington Examiner, 13 Nov. 2023 Saudi Arabia hosted Muslim and Arab leaders Saturday in Riyadh with the aim of devising their own cohesive strategy on Gaza. TIME, 11 Nov. 2023 Dairy cows are inseminated with the aim of creating a beef-dairy hybrid calf that will reach maturity quickly. Laura Reiley, Washington Post, 10 Nov. 2023 In Pennsylvania, Republicans have cleared a path for David McCormick with the aim of avoiding a bruising primary and strengthening their bid against Senator Bob Casey, who is seeking a fourth six-year term. Shane Goldmacher, New York Times, 10 Nov. 2023 Our aim is to help the next generation of musicians, songwriters, producers, managers, agents and other industry professionals to go after their dreams and turn them into reality. Gail Mitchell, Billboard, 2 Nov. 2023 According to a statement provided to Travel + Leisure, the trip's aim is to honor and celebrate the nation's gender equality, which, according to the World Economic Forum, surpasses the U.S. and many nations in Europe, coming in eighth on its Global Gender Gap list. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, 1 Nov. 2023 Malevolent actors can harness this unique feature to deliberately distribute content lacking in important context in the aim of pulling at emotional heartstrings to further their motives. Bychristiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 31 Oct. 2023 The aim is to condense everything down to its pure essence, albeit with sophisticated touches, such as a thin bronze line cutting through the table and benches. Lucy Alexander, Robb Report, 29 Oct. 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 28 Nov. 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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