on target

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an object, usually marked with concentric circles, to be aimed at in shooting practice or contests.
any object used for this purpose.
anything fired at.
a goal to be reached.
an object of abuse, scorn, derision, etc.; butt.
Fencing. the portion of a fencer's body where a touch can be scored.
a disk-shaped signal, as at a railroad switch, indicating the position of a switch.
the sliding sight on a leveling rod.
any marker on which sights are taken.
a small shield, usually round, carried by a foot soldier; buckler.
that is or may be a target or goal: The target group consisted of college graduates who earned more than $50,000 a year.
verb (used with object)
to use, set up, or designate as a target or goal.
to direct toward a target: The new warheads can be targeted with great precision.
to make a target of (an object, person, city, etc.) for attack or bombardment.
Verb phrases
target (in) on, to establish or use as a target or goal: The club is targeting on September for the move to larger quarters.
on target,
properly aimed or on the right course toward a target.
accurate, correct, or valid: Their description of the event was on target.
filling or meeting a requirement or expectations: The amount of supplies we took was right on target.

1350–1400; Middle English (noun) < Middle French targuete, variant of targete small shield. See targe, -et

targetable, adjective
targetless, adjective
untargetable, adjective
untargeted, adjective

4. aim, end, purpose.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
target (ˈtɑːɡɪt)
1.  a.  an object or area at which an archer or marksman aims, usually a round flat surface marked with concentric rings
 b.  (as modifier): target practice
2.  a.  any point or area aimed at; the object of an attack or a takeover bid
 b.  (as modifier): target area; target company
3.  a fixed goal or objective: the target for the appeal is £10 000
4.  a person or thing at which an action or remark is directed or the object of a person's feelings: a target for the teacher's sarcasm
5.  a joint of lamb consisting of the breast and neck
6.  surveying a marker on which sights are taken, such as the sliding marker on a levelling staff
7.  (formerly) a small round shield
8.  physics, electronics
 a.  a substance, object, or system subjected to bombardment by electrons or other particles, or to irradiation
 b.  an electrode in a television camera tube whose surface, on which image information is stored, is scanned by the electron beam
9.  electronics an object to be detected by the reflection of a radar or sonar signal, etc
10.  on target on the correct course to meet a target or objective
vb , -gets, -geting, -geted
11.  to make a target of
12.  to direct or aim: to target benefits at those most in need
[C14: from Old French targette a little shield, from Old French targe]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
Main Entry:  on target
Part of Speech:  adj, adv
Main Entry:  on target
Part of Speech:  adj, adv
Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin & History

c.1400, "shield," dim. of late O.E. targe, from O.Fr. targe "light shield," from Frank. *targa "shield" (cf. O.H.G. zarga "edging, border," Ger. zarge, O.E. targe, O.N. targa "shield"), from P.Gmc. *targo "border, edge." Meaning "object to be aimed at in shooting" first recorded 1757, originally in archery.
Verb meaning "to use as a target" is attested from 1837.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

target tar·get (tär'gĭt)

  1. One to be influenced or changed by an action or event.

  2. A desired goal.

  3. A usually metal part in an x-ray tube on which a beam of electrons is focused and from which x-rays are emitted.

  4. A target organ.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Bible Dictionary

Target definition

(1 Sam. 17:6, A.V., after the LXX. and Vulg.), a kind of small shield. The margin has "gorget," a piece of armour for the throat. The Revised Version more correctly renders the Hebrew word (kidon) by "javelin." The same Hebrew word is used in Josh. 8:18 (A.V., "spear;" R.V., "javelin"); Job 39:23 (A.V., "shield;" R.V., "javelin"); 41:29 (A.V., "spear;" R.V., "javelin").

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

on target

Completely accurate, wholly valid, as in Our cost estimates were right on target, or His criticisms were on target. This seemingly old expression dates only from the mid-1900s, and the colloquial use of target for a goal one wishes to achieve dates from about 1940.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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