Instructions for the program make(1), which is a utility for making life easier when compiling software. Commonly generated by AutoTools.

A Makefile is called, strangely enough, "Makefile". 1?

make conventions

(NB These are conventions and not all makefiles contain these - not actually options of make - IanMcDonald)

make all - Build programs, libraries, documentation, etc. (Same as make.)
make install - Install what needs to be installed.
make install-strip - Same as make install, then strip debugging symbols.
make install-exec - install platform-dependent files
make install-data - install platform-independent files (can be shared among multiple machines)
make uninstall - The opposite of make install.
make clean - Erase what has been built (the opposite of make all).
make distclean - Additionally erase anything ./configure created.
make check - Run the test suite, if any.
make installcheck - Check the installed programs or libraries, if supported.
make dist - Create PACKAGE-VERSION.tar.gz .

See MakefileHowto and LatexMakefiles.

[1] Ant, a Make replacement, calls its makefiles "build.xml" see AntVsMake