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Say I'm on a road trip and I'm going to Hawaii. Is it correct to call Hawaii the target of the trip? How about the destination of the trip? The end point of the trip? Which is best, and what are the nuances of each?

What if I was flying by plane instead?

And what if I was walking to the video store down the block — is the video store my 'destination' or what?

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  • 4
    I question the possibility of getting to Hawaii via a road trip. Just sayin'.
    – Marthaª
    Dec 13, 2010 at 22:41

2 Answers 2

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Target is something you try to hit; a mark you aim at when shooting, or figuratively a goal or objective of your actions. Destination is a place where you want to arrive. In both of your examples (Hawaii and the video store), I would go with destination. I would only call Hawaii a target in the context of war, or if it were a node in a directed graph. In the context of flying by plane, target sounds especially scary, because it brings 9/11 to mind.

Further reading:

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  • I was thinking it brought up Pearl Harbor considering it's Pacific.
    – mfg
    Oct 27, 2010 at 18:02
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Generally, when you are yourself in movement, the object of your movement is referred to as your destination.

When you are throwing or shooting something, the point to which you are aiming is the target.

Destinations are things you want to keep intact when you get there; targets are things you want to perforate or explode.

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  • you can say something like: "He fired the arrow. Its destination - his mortal enemy's head." in that case the goal is not to keep the head intact..
    – Claudiu
    Oct 18, 2010 at 19:11
  • Absolutely. However, outside of purple prose, the general case still holds ;-p
    – munin
    Oct 18, 2010 at 19:36
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    @Claudiu - true - it's the arrows destination. The arrow is flying and therefore in movement itself. A great showcase of @munin's case.
    – malach
    Oct 19, 2010 at 5:46
  • Ah so my target, and the arrow's destination, is the enemy's head. Although you could also say the arrow's target is his head.
    – Claudiu
    Oct 19, 2010 at 13:33

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