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attain

[uh-teyn] /əˈteɪn/
verb (used with object)
1.
to reach, achieve, or accomplish; gain; obtain:
to attain one's goals.
2.
to come to or arrive at, especially after some labor or tedium; reach:
to attain the age of 96; to attain the mountain peak.
verb (used without object)
3.
to arrive at or succeed in reaching or obtaining something (usually followed by to or unto):
to attain to knowledge.
4.
to reach in the course of development or growth:
These trees attain to remarkable height.
Origin of attain
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English atei(g)nen < Anglo-French, Old French ateign- (stem of ateindre) < Vulgar Latin *attangere (for Latin attingere), equivalent to Latin at- at- + tangere to touch
Related forms
attainer, noun
reattain, verb (used with object)
unattained, adjective
unattaining, adjective
well-attained, adjective
Synonyms
1. secure. See gain1 .
Antonyms
1, 2. miss.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for attaining
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • For the longer that manoeuver was deferred, the better was his chance of attaining his object.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • The gods were ever crafty, and they had unguessed ways of attaining their ends.

    White Fang Jack London
  • To this method of attaining an object, they have frequent recourse.

    Chronicles of Border Warfare Alexander Scott Withers
  • But most men have never had the opportunity of attaining this pre-eminence of evil.

    Gorgias Plato
  • Who knows but we may be aiming at the greater, and fail of attaining the lesser?

    Laws Plato
  • There was a new quality in it, something that she had once despaired of attaining.

    Audrey Craven May Sinclair
  • But is to lose "one's" chance of attaining soul, self, or entity.

    The Book of the Damned Charles Fort
British Dictionary definitions for attaining

attain

/əˈteɪn/
verb
1.
(transitive) to achieve or accomplish (a task, goal, aim, etc)
2.
(transitive) to reach or arrive at in space or time: to attain old age
3.
(intransitive) often foll by to. to arrive (at) with effort or exertion: to attain to glory
Derived Forms
attainable, adjective
attainability, attainableness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French ateindre, from Latin attingere to reach, from tangere to touch
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for attaining

attain

v.

c.1300, "to succeed in reaching," from stem of Old French ataindre (11c., Modern French atteindre) "to come up to, reach, attain, endeavor, strive," from Vulgar Latin *adtangere, from Latin attingere "to touch, to arrive at," from ad- "to" (see ad-) + tangere "to touch" (see tangent). Latin attingere had a wide range of meanings, including "to attack, to strike, to appropriate, to manage," all somehow suggested by the literal sense "to touch." Related: Attained; attaining.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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