Definition of attain
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>
: to come or arrive by motion, growth, or effort —usually used with to
attainabilityplay \-ˌtā-nə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
attainableplay \-ˈtā-nə-bəl\ adjective
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.
Origin and Etymology 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
ATTAIN Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of attain for English Language Learners
: to accomplish or achieve (something) : to succeed in getting or doing (something)
: to grow or increase to (a particular amount, size, etc.)
ATTAIN Defined for Kids
Definition of attain for Students
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>
attainable\ə-ˈtā-nə-bəl\ adjective <Are your goals attainable?>
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up attain? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).