goal

[ gohl ]
/ goʊl /

noun

the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.
the terminal point in a race.
a pole, line, or other marker by which such a point is indicated.
an area, basket, cage, or other object or structure toward or into which players of various games attempt to throw, carry, kick, hit, or drive a ball, puck, etc., to score a point or points.
the act of throwing, carrying, kicking, driving, etc., a ball or puck into such an area or object.
the score made by this act.

Origin of goal

1275–1325; Middle English gol boundary, limit; compare Old English gǣlan to hinder, impede

Related forms

goal·less, adjectivesub·goal, noun

Word story

Goal has no reliable etymology. It appears for the first and only time in Middle English as gol “boundary, limit” in the mid-14th century. Some authorities suggest that gol was a borrowing from Middle French gaule, waulle “pole, stick,” from an unattested Germanic cognate of Old Frisian waal, walu “rod,” which is of no real help. The second recorded occurrence of goal, then spelled gole, is in the first half of the 16th century, with the meaning “finishing point of a race, finish line.” The extended sense “aim or purpose, outcome of effort or ambition” also dates from the first half of the 16th century. By the late 16th century, goal, at this point spelled goale, had also acquired the meaning, now obsolete, “starting point of a race,” a translation of one of the many meanings of Latin fīnis (which also meant “boundary, limit” and “finishing point of a race, finish line”).
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for goal

British Dictionary definitions for goal

goal

/ (ɡəʊl) /

noun

the aim or object towards which an endeavour is directed
the terminal point of a journey or race
(in various sports) the net, basket, etc into or over which players try to propel the ball, puck, etc, to score
sport
  1. a successful attempt at scoring
  2. the score so made
(in soccer, hockey, etc) the position of goalkeeper

Derived Forms

goalless, adjective

Word Origin for goal

C16: perhaps related to Middle English gol boundary, Old English gǣlan to hinder, impede
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012