Etymology
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goal (n.)

1530s, "end point of a race," of uncertain origin. It appears once before this (as gol), in a poem from early 14c. and with an apparent sense of "boundary, limit." Perhaps from Old English *gal "obstacle, barrier," a word implied by gælan "to hinder" and also found in compounds (singal, widgal). That would make it a variant or figurative use of Middle English gale "a way, course." Also compare Old Norse geil "a narrow glen, a passage." Or from Old French gaule "long pole, stake," which is from Germanic. Sports sense of "place where the ball, etc. is put to score" is attested from 1540s. Figurative sense of "object of an effort" is from 1540s.

updated on March 25, 2015

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Definitions of goal from WordNet

goal (n.)
the state of affairs that a plan is intended to achieve and that (when achieved) terminates behavior intended to achieve it;
Synonyms: end
goal (n.)
the place designated as the end (as of a race or journey);
Synonyms: finish / destination
goal (n.)
game equipment consisting of the place toward which players of a game try to advance a ball or puck in order to score points;
goal (n.)
a successful attempt at scoring;
the winning goal came with less than a minute left to play
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.