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December 4, 2016 / 4 Kislev, 5777
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In Hebrew: ‘Goal’

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Goal



מַטָּרָה

When talking about soccer/football, the word goal when referring to scoring gets translated into Hebrew as גּוֹל , while the area designated as the goal is called a שַׁעַר– literally, gate. Likewise, a goalie is a שׁוֹעֵר.But when speaking of a goal in a shooting range (a target), or in the abstract sense, the word is מַטָּרָה.

For example:

הוּא הִצִּיב לְעַצְמוֹ מַטָּרוֹת בְּרוּרוֹת לַשָּׁנָה הַקְּרוֹבָה.
He set for himself clear goals for this coming year.

The root of the word מטרה is מ.ט.ר (note the dot in the ט in מַטָּרָה – it compensates for the missing נ), meaning watching over/keeping. A goal is therefore something that a person watches carefully, keeping their eyes on it.

A synonym is יַעַד, which also means destination.

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Ami Steinberger

About the Author: Ami Steinberger is founder and director of Ulpan La-Inyan.

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