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 towill probably attain to a height of six feet

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The rioters are not seeking to seize territory or to attain control of institutions. cleveland, "Being black in America: The hope, rage and heartbreak that comes with it," 1 June 2020 Trust that your intuitions will be on the mark and follow them to attain your goals LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Be honest with yourself. oregonlive, "Horoscope for April 13, 2020: Leo, be honest with yourself; Capricorn, pick a direction," 13 Apr. 2020 For the rotation to attain the reliable, six-plus-inning consistency Black seeks, right-handers German Marquez and Jon Gray must continue to lead the way. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "Breaking down the Rockies’ revised pitching formula for second-half success," 14 July 2019 Raising taxes will be necessary for both and each would require two-thirds voter approval, a virtually impossible threshold to attain if there’s not a unified front. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: San Diego transportation developments: big news, little news, grim news," 5 July 2019 In certain corners of the fine-dining world, Michelin stars have become synonymous with professional excellence, and many chefs will go to extremes to attain and defend their rankings. Helen Rosner, The New Yorker, "The Michelin Guide’s Not Entirely Welcome Return to L.A.," 5 June 2019 At an event in the East Room, Trump told corporate leaders and workers that the nation's students and workers need more opportunities to attain apprenticeships, vocational opportunities and job training. Fox News, "Trump promotes job training as employers search for workers," 19 July 2018 However, to fully restore public trust and attain broad adoption of contact tracing apps, sound and powerful privacy principles should be backed by the law. David Blumenthal, STAT, "Contact tracing must balance privacy and public health," 15 May 2020 Fuel economists will be glad to hear that on our genteel 1500-mile tour, this American model attained the highest economy figure. Larry Griffin, Car and Driver, "Comparison Test: 1993 Toyota Supra Turbo Takes On the Best Sports Cars of the Early 1990s," 12 May 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about attain

Time Traveler for attain

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for attain

Last Updated

5 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Attain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/attain. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for attain

attain

verb
How to pronounce attain (audio)

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?

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on attain

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

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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