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tar·get (tärgĭt)
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n.
1.
a. An object, such as a padded disk with a marked surface, that is shot at to test accuracy in rifle or archery practice.
b. Something aimed or fired at.
2. An object of criticism or verbal attack.
3. One to be influenced or changed by an action or event: Children were the target of the new advertising campaign.
4. A desired goal: achieved our target for quarterly sales.
5. A railroad signal that indicates the position of a switch by its color, position, and shape.
6. The sliding sight on a surveyor's leveling rod.
7. A small round shield.
8. A usually metal part in an x-ray tube on which a beam of electrons is focused and from which x-rays are emitted.
9. Biochemistry A molecule or molecular structure, such as a protein or a nucleic acid, that a drug or other compound interacts with and modulates the activity of.
tr.v. tar·get·ed, tar·get·ing, tar·gets
1. To aim at or identify as a target: targeted the airport hangar.
2. To identify or treat as the object of action, criticism, or change: targeted the molecule for study; targeted teenagers with the ad campaign.
3. To design for or direct toward a specific object or audience: targeted the ad campaign toward seniors.
4. Biochemistry To interact with as a target: drugs that target estrogen receptors.
Idiom:
on target
Completely accurate, precise, or valid: observations that were right on target.

[Middle English, small targe, from Old French targuete, variant of targete, diminutive of targe, light shield, of Germanic origin.]

target·a·ble (-gĭ-tə-bəl) adj.
(click for a larger image)
target
archery target

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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