verb \ ə-ˈchēv \
|Updated on: 11 Aug 2018

Definition of achieve

achieved; achieving
1 : to carry out successfully : accomplish
  • achieve a gradual increase in production
2 : to get or attain as the result of exertion : reach
  • achieved a high degree of skill
  • achieved greatness
: to attain a desired end or aim : become successful


play \-ˈchē-və-bəl\ adjective



Examples of achieve in a Sentence

  1. a diet that achieves dramatic results

  2. With much practice, she has achieved a high level of skill.

  3. They achieved high scores on their math tests.

  4. We give students the skills they need in order to achieve in college.

Recent Examples of achieve from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'achieve.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of achieve

Middle English acheven, borrowed from Anglo-French achever "to complete, carry out, succeed," from a-, prefix forming telic and transitive verbs (going back to Latin ad- ad-) + -chever, verbal derivative from chef, chief "end, head" — more at 3chief

Synonym Discussion of achieve

perform, execute, discharge, accomplish, achieve, effect, fulfill mean to carry out or into effect. perform implies action that follows established patterns or procedures or fulfills agreed-upon requirements and often connotes special skill.
    • performed gymnastics
execute stresses the carrying out of what exists in plan or in intent.
    • executed the hit-and-run
discharge implies execution and completion of appointed duties or tasks.
    • discharged his duties
accomplish stresses the successful completion of a process rather than the means of carrying it out.
    • accomplished everything they set out to do
achieve adds to accomplish the implication of conquered difficulties.
    • achieve greatness
effect adds to achieve an emphasis on the inherent force in the agent capable of surmounting obstacles.
    • effected sweeping reforms
fulfill implies a complete realization of ends or possibilities.
    • fulfilled their ambitions

ACHIEVE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of achieve for English Language Learners

  • : to get or reach (something) by working hard

  • : to become successful : to reach a goal

ACHIEVE Defined for Kids


verb \ ə-ˈchēv \

Definition of achieve for Students

achieved; achieving
1 : to get by means of hard work
  • She achieved a perfect score.
2 : to become successful
  • Our school provides us with the skills to achieve in college.

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up achieve? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


subject to rapid or unexpected change

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens-painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!