I. tar ‧ get 1 S2 W2 AC /ˈtɑːɡət, ˈtɑːɡɪt $ ˈtɑːr-/ BrE AmE noun [countable]
[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: targette , from targe 'small shield' ]
1 . AIM something that you are trying to achieve, such as a total, an amount, or a time SYN goal
sales/attainment/growth etc targets
demanding financial targets
the target of a one-third reduction in road accidents
Higher degrees in English are a target for foreign students.
There is no target date for completion of the new project.
The government may fail to meet (=achieve) its target of recycling 25% of domestic waste.
Jiang set annual growth targets of 8–9%.
on target (=likely to achieve a target)
The company says that growth of 10% is on target.
2 . OBJECT OF ATTACK an object, person, or place that is deliberately chosen to be attacked
Railway stations are prime targets (=very likely targets) for bombs.
Cars without security devices are an easy target for the thief.
3 . OBJECT OF AN ACTION the person or place that is most directly affected by an action, especially a bad one
The area has become a prime target for supermarket development.
The country is a target of criticism for its human rights record.
4 . SHOOTING something that you practise shooting at, especially a round board with circles on it:
The area is used by the army for target practice.
5 . target audience/group/area etc a limited group, area etc that a plan, idea etc is aimed at:
Our target audience is men aged between 18 and 35.
6 . target language the language that you are learning or that you are translating into
• • •
COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)
▪ meet a target (=achieve what you want to achieve)
The government wants to meet its target of building three million new homes by 2020.
▪ reach/achieve/hit a target (=meet it)
They achieved their target with just days to spare.
▪ set a target
The company has set ambitious business targets.
▪ exceed a target (=achieve more than you wanted to)
We have exceeded our target of £200,000.
▪ fall short of a target (=achieve less than you wanted to)
Car production at the plant has fallen short of its target by 5%.
■ ADJECTIVES/NOUN + target
The targets they have set themselves are hugely ambitious.
▪ modest (=not very high)
The Kyoto Protocol set fairly modest targets for reductions in greenhouse gases.
The target is achievable, but only by hard work.
▪ a financial target
Both businesses exceeded their financial targets.
▪ a sales target
I’m confident we will meet our sales target by the end of the year.
▪ a growth target
The company’s growth targets have been achieved for the last three years.
■ target + NOUN
▪ a target date
There is no target date set for completion of the new project.
▪ a target figure
The government has set a target figure of 6.2%
• • •
COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)
▪ a prime target (=the most suitable or most likely to be chosen)
Sporting events could become a prime target for terrorists.
▪ the main target
The rebel-held town is one of the main targets for U S troops.
▪ an easy/soft target
Some criminals now regard churches as easy targets.
▪ a sitting target (=someone who is easy to attack)
In the open, the soldiers are sitting targets.
▪ sb’s intended target
The gunman missed his intended target.
▪ a military target
The group insists that its bombs were directed against military targets.
▪ a civilian target
The army denied it had attacked civilian targets.
▪ a legitimate target (=one that it is fair to attack)
The rebels claimed that trains carrying soldiers are a legitimate target.
▪ attack a target
They have attacked military targets such as army camps and airfields.
▪ hit a target
Not every bomb hit its target.
▪ miss a target
All of the missiles missed their target and no-one was killed.
• • •
▪ aim something you hope to achieve by doing something:
The main aim of the plan was to provide employment for local people.
▪ goal something important that you hope to achieve in the future, even though it may take a long time:
The country can still achieve its goal of reducing poverty by a third.
▪ target a particular amount or total that you want to achieve:
The company is on track to meet its target of increasing profits by 10%.
▪ objective the specific thing that you are trying to achieve – used especially about things that have been officially discussed and agreed upon in business, politics etc:
Their main objective is to halt the flow of drugs.
We met to set the business objectives for the coming year.
▪ ambition something that you very much want to achieve in your future career:
Her ambition was to go to law school and become an attorney.
Earlier this year, he achieved his ambition of competing in the Olympic Games.
II. target 2 AC BrE AmE verb [transitive]
1 . to make something have an effect on a particular limited group or area:
The advertisement was designed to target a mass audience.
target something on/at somebody/something
a new benefit targeted on low-income families
The programme is targeted at improving the health of women of all ages.
2 . to aim something at a target
target something on/at somebody/something
The missiles are targeted at several key military sites.
3 . to choose a particular person or place to do something to, especially to attack them or criticize them:
It’s clear that smaller, more vulnerable banks have been targeted.
He was targeted by terrorists for a second time last night.