verb at·tain \ə-ˈtān\

: to accomplish or achieve (something) : to succeed in getting or doing (something)

: to grow or increase to (a particular amount, size, etc.)

Full Definition of ATTAIN

transitive verb
:  to reach as an end :  gain, achieve <attain a goal>
:  to come into possession of :  obtain <he attained preferment over his fellows>
:  to come to as the end of a progression or course of movement <they attained the top of the hill> <attain a ripe old age>
intransitive verb
:  to come or arrive by motion, growth, or effort —usually used with to
at·tain·abil·i·ty \-ˌtā-nə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
at·tain·able \-ˈtā-nə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of ATTAIN

  1. a quest to attain enlightenment
  2. She refused to let the injury keep her from attaining her goal of being in the Olympics.
  3. This kind of tree can attain a height of 20 feet within just a few years.
  4. The car can attain a top speed of 200 mph.

Origin of ATTAIN

Middle English atteynen, from Anglo-French ateign-, stem of ateindre to reach, accomplish, convict, from Vulgar Latin *attangere, alteration of Latin attingere, from ad- + tangere to touch — more at tangent
First Known Use: 14th century


Next Word in the Dictionary: attainablenessPrevious Word in the Dictionary: attagirl (noun)All Words Near: attain
April 01, 2015
diapause Hear it
a period of physiological dormancy
Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears