American English

Definition of aim noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable] the purpose of doing something; what someone is trying to achieve the aims of the lesson She went to Atlanta with the aim of finding a job. Our main aim is to increase sales in the Northwest. Bob's one aim in life is to earn a lot of money. Teamwork is required in order to achieve these aims. She set out the company's aims and objectives in her speech. Thesauruspurposeaim intention plan point ideaThese are all words for talking about what someone intends to do or achieve.purpose what something is supposed to achieve; what someone is trying to achieve:The purpose of the visit was to see the campus in person.aim what someone is trying to achieve; what something is supposed to achieve:Our main aim is to increase sales in the Northwest.purpose or aim?Your purpose for doing something is your reason for doing it; your aim is what you want to achieve. Aim can suggest that you are only trying to achieve something;purpose gives a stronger sense of achievement being certain. Aim can be someone's aim or the aim of something. Purpose is more usually the purpose of something; you can talk about someone's purpose but that is more formal.intention what you intend to do:I have no intention of going to the wedding. She's full of good intentions but things rarely work out for her.plan what you intend to do or achieve:There are no plans to build new offices.intention or plan?Your intentions are what you want to do, especially in the near future; your plans are what you have decided or arranged to do, often, but not always, in the longer term.point (somewhat informal) the purpose or aim of something:What's the point of all this violence? The point of the lesson is to compare the two countries.idea (somewhat informal) the purpose of something; someone's aim:The whole idea of going was so that we could meet her new boyfriend. What's the idea behind this assignment?point or idea?Point is a more negative word than idea. If you say What's the point…? you are suggesting that there is no point; if you say What's the idea…? you are genuinely asking a question. Point, but not idea, is used to talk about things you feel annoyed or unhappy about:There's no idea in… I don't see the idea of….Patterns with the aim/intention/idea >of>doing something somebody's intention/plan to do something to have a(n) purpose/aim/intention/plan/point to achieve a(n) purpose/aim
  2. 2[uncountable] the action or skill of pointing a weapon at someone or something Her aim was good and she hit the bullseye with her first shot. The gunman took aim (= pointed his weapon) and fired.
  3. Idioms
    take aim at somebody/something
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    to direct your criticism at someone or something
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: aim

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