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

Gordon may end up as the barometer of which running backs need to clear in order to attain that long-term deal. Conor Orr, SI.com, "Why Melvin Gordon Faces an Uphill Climb to Get the Contract He Wants," 12 July 2019 Forty-five of the Legislature's 60 members must agree on an override, which lawmakers say is a high bar to attain. Becky Bohrer, Anchorage Daily News, "Senate president: ‘No question’ lawmakers meeting in Juneau," 6 July 2019 And that the constant effort to attain high goals has shaped his character, sense of fairness and can-do approach to life? courant.com, "Full statement by Rena Dulos, sister of Fotis Dulos," 1 July 2019 Over the past decades, home ownership has been tough to attain for many millennials. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "Have Chip and Joanna Gaines Totally Changed the Way We Buy Homes?," 6 June 2019 Tessie White-Stein, the president of the organization, said the accomplishments were part of a rigorous campaign to attain honor status from the state’s Louisiana Reading Association. Barry Lemoine, nola.com, "St. Bernard Reading Association celebrates successful year," 5 June 2019 Finally, the capsule was electrically heated to attain temperatures as high as 2,012 degrees Fahrenheit and then allowed to brew for between two and 14 days. Maya Wei-haas, National Geographic, "Earth's seafloor may be destined to become diamonds," 30 May 2019 Chemists want their own creations to attain some of that complexity, but the going has been slow. Quanta Magazine, "Scientists Learn the Ropes on Tying Molecular Knots," 29 Oct. 2018 BeachDig is one of the top beach volleyball training programs in the country and has been at the forefront in putting on collegiate showcases that has allowed hundreds of girls to attain college scholarships. Emmett Hall, sun-sentinel.com, "College volleyball hopefuls keeping dream alive at BeachDig Showcase," 27 June 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

18 Jul 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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