ˈgōl How to pronounce goal (audio)
chiefly Northern US especially in senses 3b and 2a also
ˈgül How to pronounce goal (audio)
plural goals
: the end toward which effort is directed : aim
The goal is high-speed rail travel.
: an area or object toward which players in various games attempt to advance a ball or puck and usually through or into which it must go to score points
: the act or action of causing a ball or puck to go through or into such a goal
: the score resulting from such an act
: the terminal point of a race
: an area to be reached safely in children's games
goal intransitive verb
goalless adjective
Choose the Right Synonym for goal

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

He set a goal for himself of exercising at least three times a week. Her primary goal is to get a college degree. We all share a common goal. She pursued her goal of starting her own business. The company has instituted several new policies with the goal of reducing waste. Last month he had 10 goals and six assists. She scored the winning goal in the game's final minute. See More
Recent Examples on the Web My goal is to make Chicago the safest big city in the country by creating lasting peace, not just episodic periods of peace in certain neighborhoods. Chicago Tribune, 31 Jan. 2023 If your goal is to get smoother under-eyes without any fine lines, this product uses retinol, bakuchiol—a common retinol dupe—and anti-aging rambutan to treat all those concerns. Nerisha Penrose, ELLE, 31 Jan. 2023 It's installed the sensors in 14 sites; its goal is to deploy sensors at 700 sites by 2025. Cathy Bussewitz, ajc, 31 Jan. 2023 Our goal there was to emphasize the need to put water security at the center of the climate crisis. Vidhisha Samarasekara, Scientific American, 31 Jan. 2023 But on Friday, the School Committee and Galvin said in a joint statement their goal was to develop a contract that is fair for students, staff, and Woburn residents. Adria Watson, BostonGlobe.com, 30 Jan. 2023 If their goal was only to apprehend Nichols, the officers did not need to use a Taser, pepper spray, or baton. David D. Kirkpatrick, The New Yorker, 28 Jan. 2023 Their goal is to create a welcoming, supportive and inclusive environment for the LGBTQ+ community. cleveland, 27 Jan. 2023 Its goal is ambitious, but its challenges are many, researchers say. Maureen Farrell, New York Times, 27 Jan. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English gol boundary, limit

First Known Use

1531, in the meaning defined at sense 3a

Time Traveler
The first known use of goal was in 1531

Dictionary Entries Near goal

Cite this Entry

“Goal.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/goal. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


: the ending point of a race
: an area to be reached safely in children's games
: the object toward which effort is directed
: an area or object into which a ball or puck must be driven to score points in various games
: the score resulting from driving a ball or puck into a goal

More from Merriam-Webster on goal

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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