attain

verb
at·​tain | \ ə-ˈtān How to pronounce attain (audio) \
attained; attaining; attains

Definition of attain

transitive verb

1 : to reach as an end : gain, achieve attain a goal
2 : to come into possession of : obtain he attained preferment over his fellows
3 : 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 will probably attain to a height of six feet

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Other Words from attain

attainability \ ə-​ˌtā-​nə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce attainability (audio) \ noun
attainable \ ə-​ˈtā-​nə-​bəl How to pronounce attainable (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for attain

Synonyms

achieve, bag, chalk up, clock (up) [chiefly British], gain, hit, log, make, notch (up), rack up, ring up, score, win

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Examples of attain in a Sentence

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

For instance, to attain Modi’s target of a $5 trillion economy by 2024, the required annual growth rate would shoot up to over 10% from the official requirement of 8%. R Nagaraj, Quartz India, "India’s economic slowdown may be worse than it appears," 10 Sep. 2019 Hitler had his mind firmly set on attaining political power in Germany. Klaus Meyer, Quartz, "How to prevent a fascist takeover: Lessons from the Nazi party’s rise to power," 17 Aug. 2019 Mental health problems that aren’t as severe were often construed as a sign of weakness, a detour from attaining financial stability and success, said Fremont psychologist Joyce Lim. Gwendolyn Wu, SFChronicle.com, "Theater becomes therapy to help South Bay Asian American parents understand their kids," 9 Aug. 2019 The latter in many cases offers a more viable pathway to attaining steady employment and entering the mainstream. Robert Cherry, National Review, "The Case for More Occupational Training," 25 July 2019 However, as BuzzFeed’s critic and culture writer Alison Willmore has pointed out, the study’s methodology for attaining data was questionable. Yohana Desta, HWD, "Brie Larson Wants More Diverse Film Critics, Beyond Just “White Dudes”," 14 June 2018 The word consciousness is this idea of the relationship between the physical and the metaphysical and that idea of attaining some kind of sense of oneness and universality or bliss through meditation and devotion. Audrey Gorden, RedEye Chicago, "Thurston Moore talks consciousness, activism and 'Gilmore Girls' ahead of his Pitchfork performance," 13 July 2017 Readers who would gladly annihilate the rest of the world to attain the perfect reading conditions inevitably set themselves up for failure. Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker, "Reader, I Googled It," 26 Aug. 2019 Unlike a human driver, AVs aren't frustrated by driving further in congestion to attain less expensive parking. Constantine Samaras, The Conversation, "Bargain-hunting robocars could spell the end for downtown parking – cities need to plan ahead now," 23 Aug. 2019

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

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First Known Use of attain

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for 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 entry 2

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Statistics for attain

Last Updated

10 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for attain

The first known use of attain was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for attain

attain

verb

English Language Learners Definition of attain

somewhat formal
: to accomplish or achieve (something) : to succeed in getting or doing (something)
: to grow or increase to (a particular amount, size, etc.)

attain

verb
at·​tain | \ ə-ˈtān How to pronounce attain (audio) \
attained; attaining

Kids Definition of attain

1 : to accomplish or achieve attain a goal
2 : to come into possession of : obtain attain knowledge
3 : to reach or come to gradually : arrive at … surely no bug in all the Land of Oz had ever before attained so enormous a size.— L. Frank Baum, The Marvelous Land of Oz

Other Words from attain

attainable \ ə-​ˈtā-​nə-​bəl \ adjective Are your goals attainable?

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More from Merriam-Webster on attain

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for attain

Spanish Central: Translation of attain

Nglish: Translation of attain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of attain for Arabic Speakers

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