Meaning of “target” in the English Dictionary

"target" in British English

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targetnoun

uk /ˈtɑː.ɡɪt/ us /ˈtɑːr.ɡɪt/

target noun (OBJECT SHOT AT)

B2 [ C ] an object shot at during shooting practice, often a circle with a pattern of rings, or any object or place at which bullets, bombs, etc. are aimed:

I had four shots but I didn't even hit the target.

More examples

  • Aim for the dead centre of the target.
  • Aim the arrow a little above the target.
  • When you've aligned the notch on the gun with the target, fire!
  • They received intelligence that the factory was a target for the bombing.
  • The missile strike was devastating - the target was totally obliterated.

target noun (PERSON/GROUP)

C2 [ C usually singular ] a person or a particular group of people that something is directed at, or that something is intended for:

The target audience for the TV series is young people aged 13 to 18.

C1 [ C usually singular ] one or more people who are criticized or laughed at, or who experience unpleasant treatment from others:

Recently she has been the target of a series of obscene phone calls.

More examples

  • They flew into heavy flak over the target area.
  • Major tourist attractions are a soft target for pickpockets.
  • We must decide on our target market, then zero in on it.
  • The target of these new laws is people whose dogs foul the streets.

target noun (AIM)

B2 [ C ] a level or situation that you intend to achieve:

The government's target of 3.5 percent annual growth seems easily attainable.

More examples

  • Do you think we will be able to meet our target?
  • He's set himself the goal/target of making his first million by the time he's 30.
  • We set ourselves a target of becoming self sufficient within four years.
  • Government targets for waiting lists are beginning to be met.

Idiom(s)

targetverb [ T ]

uk /ˈtɑː.ɡɪt/ us /ˈtɑːr.ɡɪt/

target verb [ T ] (DIRECT)

C2 to direct advertising, criticism, or a product at someone:

The advert for the energy drink is targeted specifically at young people.

More examples

  • The adverts target yoof culture.
  • These adverts are designed to target young people.
  • High repayment loans are often targeted at the people who can least afford them.
  • Cigarette manufacturers have been criticized for targetting youngsters.

target verb [ T ] (ATTACK)

to aim an attack, or a bullet, bomb, etc., at a particular object, place, or person:

It is hoped that civilians will not be targeted during the war.

(Definition of “target” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"target" in American English

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targetnoun [ C ]

us /ˈtɑr·ɡɪt/

target noun [ C ] (OBJECT AIMED AT)

an object aimed and fired at during shooting practice, often a circle with a pattern of rings, or any object or place at which arrows, bullets, bombs, and other missiles are aimed:

I missed the target.
The plane passed over the target.

A target is also a person or group attacked in some way:

The president was the main target of the senator’s speech.

target noun [ C ] (INTENDED RESULT)

a result or situation that you intend to achieve:

We met our sales target for the year.
Your calculations were on target (= accurate).

targetverb [ T ]

us /ˈtɑr·ɡɪt/

target verb [ T ] (AIM)

to direct an action, advertising, or a product at a particular person or group:

The paper is targeted at young people.

target verb [ T ] (AIM ATTACK)

to direct an attack or criticism against someone or something:

The candidate targeted his opponent's comments on the policy.

(Definition of “target” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"target" in Business English

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targetnoun [ C ]

uk /ˈtɑːɡɪt/ us

MANAGEMENT, FINANCE, ECONOMICS, GOVERNMENT a result, level, or situation that an organization or group wants or plans to achieve:

The company gave employees the details of performance targets for bonuses.
hit/meet/reach a target The French economy is on track to meet its growth targets.
lower/raise/reduce a target
exceed/miss/set a target The company has set a target of 10 million wholesale broadband connections by 2014.
a target date/level/price They plan to finish the manufacturing process by the new target date of October 31st.

MARKETING, POLITICS a person, place, etc. that an action is directed at or intended for:

a/the target for sb/sth The abundance of resources makes these areas aprime target for development.
Savers have replaced borrowers as the priority target for banks and building societies.
a/the target of sth Their chief executive officer is the target of an investigation into fraud.

also target company FINANCE a company that another company wants to buy:

an acquisition/bid/buyout target Their plan is to be a buyer rather than a buyout target.
The City has tipped the group as a takeover target.

also target price FINANCE, MARKETING the price at which someone wants to buy or sell something:

Prices have remained below the $21 target because demand growth has been slow.
The investment house has a 1,125p target price on the shares.
an easy target (for sb/sth)

someone or something that is easy to attack or criticize, often because they cannot defend themselves:

Advertisers view themselves as an easy target for regulators.
Big oil companies make easy targets for politicians anxious to take the heat off their own taxation policies.
on target

if you are on target with a project, etc., you are likely to achieve what you planned at the time you intended:

The company's ambitious growth plans are on target.
on target to do sth We are on target to meet our sales goals for the coming year.

targetverb [ T ]

uk /ˈtɑːɡɪt/ us

MARKETING, POLITICS to direct something, especially advertising or a product, at a particular group of people or a particular area:

aggressively/carefully/specifically target sb/sth The marketing campaign is specifically targeting a different type of customer.
target sth at sb/sth We need government restrictions on ads targeted at children.
target sth to sb/sth They plan to target the tax cut to the middle classes.

MANAGEMENT, FINANCE to choose someone or something for a particular type of treatment:

target sb/sth for sth They have targeted the failing retailing group for takeover.
target sb/sth as sth Certain areas of manufacturing have been targeted as priorities.

See also

(Definition of “target” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)