[ gohl ]
See synonyms for: goalgoalsgoalless on Thesaurus.com

  1. the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end: Her goal was clear—to get accepted to Yale.

  2. the terminal point in a race.

  1. a pole, line, or other marker by which such a point is indicated.

  2. 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.

  3. the act of throwing, carrying, kicking, driving, etc., a ball or puck into such an area or object.

  4. the score made by this act.

  5. #goals, goals. (used especially as a hashtag in social media in reference to things or people one aspires to or wants to emulate): My #goals have been forever altered by your new #thinspo profile pic.Graduating debt-free is goals.Got my kids to eat their pizza without picking off the spinach and mushrooms. #nutrition #goals #mommy #doingitright

Origin of goal

First recorded in 1325–50; Middle English gol “boundary, limit”; further origin uncertain; compare Old English gǣlan “to hinder, impede”

word story For goal

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”).

Other words for goal

Other words from goal

  • goal·less, adjective
  • sub·goal, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use goal in a sentence

  • Before long you join all these goals, and jump from architecture to history, from history to literature.

    Paris Vistas | Helen Davenport Gibbons
  • They strive toward goals which to them are more worth while—self-improvement, for instance, spiritual growth being a better term.

    Opportunities in Engineering | Charles M. Horton
  • The knowledge and the love of God are to them phrases, not practical goals, invitations to paths of spiritual adventure.

    Our Lady Saint Mary | J. G. H. Barry
  • St. Moritz lost two goals to nothing in the first half, and Winn felt as if he were biting on air.

    The Dark Tower | Phyllis Bottome
  • Sheffield was still alert and dangerous, but he could not shoot goals when the other players failed to feed him the ball.

British Dictionary definitions for goal


/ (ɡəʊl) /

  1. the aim or object towards which an endeavour is directed

  2. the terminal point of a journey or race

  1. (in various sports) the net, basket, etc into or over which players try to propel the ball, puck, etc, to score

  2. sport

    • a successful attempt at scoring

    • the score so made

  3. (in soccer, hockey, etc) the position of goalkeeper

Origin of goal

C16: perhaps related to Middle English gol boundary, Old English gǣlan to hinder, impede

Derived forms of goal

  • goalless, adjective

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