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target Syllabification: tar·get
Pronunciation: /ˈtärɡət/

Definition of target in English:


1A person, object, or place selected as the aim of an attack.
Example sentences
  • We've seen quite a shift from attacks on civilian targets to stronger attacks on military targets, particularly in the last 10 days.
  • They say, in this case, they're only going after military targets, where attacks against coalition forces are being planned or weapons are being stored.
  • My own definition is simple: an act of political violence committed against purely civilian targets is terrorism; attacks on military targets are not.
1.1A mark or point at which someone fires or aims, especially a round or rectangular board marked with concentric circles used in archery or shooting.
Example sentences
  • The coloured posts mark the shooting position for each target and should be marked with the number of arrows to be shot from each post.
  • The 50-lane archery complex has movable targets allowing for training at distances up to 90 meters.
  • Exaggerate your follow through by keeping your sight on the target and your shooting arm up until the ball reaches the basket.
mark, bullseye, goal
1.2An objective or result toward which efforts are directed: the car met its sales target in record time
More example sentences
  • We have got to sweep away the system that has failed and devise a totally new one - designed and directed towards achieving Olympic targets.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency said Ireland was also far behind in its efforts to meet the targets set by the Kyoto Treaty.
  • National Wind Power said: "Wind energy will make an important contribution towards meeting these targets."
1.3 Phonetics An idealization of the articulation of a speech sound, with reference to which actual utterances can be described.
Example sentences
  • Identify the position of a target sound in a word.
  • In experiment 9, a computer program was written to give the subjects the choice of selecting the target sound that they have heard, its position in the token and its adjacent vowel.
  • The basic sound, or phoneme, is selected as a target for treatment.
1.4A person or thing against whom criticism or abuse is or may be directed.
Example sentences
  • But it has been the target of international criticism for human rights abuses.
  • The Hazara were a special target for abuse under the former Taliban regime and, in the view of the tribunal, they are still at risk.
  • Unlike some of the targets of media criticism, the media targets of blog criticism have ample means to publicly defend themselves.
victim, butt, recipient, focus, object, subject
2 historical A small, round shield or buckler.
Example sentences
  • It was soldiers armed with targets such as these under the command of Gonzalvo de Cordoba who defeated the Hapsburg-Valois pike formations in the Italian wars.
  • Targets and bucklers are small shields known to have been used in later historical periods, although targets became larger in the Renaissance.
  • Like the target, arm-straps link its maneuverability directly to the movement of the arm, so it is less versatile than a center-grip shield.

verb (targets, targeting, targeted)

[with object] (usually be targeted) Back to top  
1Select as an object of attention or attack: two men were targeted by the attackers
More example sentences
  • In addition, many of these attacks seemed to target more than property.
  • An online store can offer a much bigger selection because it can target a much bigger audience.
  • York City supporters are to target the FA in a double-pronged attack to highlight the plight of the club.
pick out, single out, earmark, fix on;
attack, aim at, fire at
1.1Aim or direct (something): a significant nuclear capability targeted on the US
More example sentences
  • In direct to consumer advertising, drug companies target advertisements for prescription drugs directly at the public.
  • Work related to drug deaths in Scotland has been targeted at users who inject.
  • Packages targeted at business users will also be available in three different bands.
aim at, direct at, level at, intend for, focus on


on target

So as to hit or achieve the thing aimed at: McGrath was on target with a header the new police station is on target for a June opening
More example sentences
  • He will also confound critics by claiming the economy is still on target to hit the growth forecasts he set out earlier this year.
  • Spending by all government departments is still on target, as 680m earmarked for expenditure has not been spent yet.
  • The club development fundraising project is still on target for May.
accurate, precise, unerring, sure, on the mark
1.1Accurately described or forecast; correct: the film is remarkably on target in its depiction of the English settlers' attitudes toward the New World [as adjective]: his on-target observations
More example sentences
  • He consistently manages to give an on-target review in half the space that either of the NY Times guys do, with virtually no blather.
  • I found myself shouting and cheering out loud for the pithiness of his metaphors and his on-target analysis.
  • Please keep the terms of the argument at least vaguely on-target.

off target

So as to miss or fail to achieve the thing aimed at: his shot was off-target [as adjective]: two off-target bombs
More example sentences
  • Many of his passes were way off target.
  • Greece narrowed its central government budget deficit by 37 percent in the first nine months of 2012, the finance ministry said on Thursday, but revenues were still off target.
  • Carty went for a point and his off-target effort was kept in play by Sean Quinn who flicked it up for Niall Quinn and he punched the ball into the net.
2.1Not accurately described or predicted; incorrect: the original estimate was off target
More example sentences
  • Many of his predictions have been way off target.
  • It is "off-target" to suggest that the best way to improve governance is by reducing government resources and responsibilities, the report adds.
  • Off-target campaign rhetoric is not limited to matters of war and peace.



Pronunciation: /ˈtärɡədəb(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • Digital marketing is non-linear, interactive, targetable, measurable, and most important, user-initiated - it puts user choice and personal preference at the forefront of the experience.
  • Each missile consists of ten independently targetable multiple re-entry vehicles (MIRV's), each with a 100 kt nuclear warhead.
  • Overlooked by campaigns as a luxury affordable by only the biggest national races, online advertising is now a highly targetable, viable option in just about any race.


Late Middle English (sense 2 of the noun): diminutive of targe. The noun came to denote various round objects. The verb dates from the early 17th century.

Words that rhyme with target


Definition of target in:

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