View synonyms for attain


[ uh-teyn ]

verb (used with object)

  1. to reach, achieve, or accomplish; gain; obtain:

    to attain one's goals.

    Synonyms: secure

    Antonyms: miss

  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.

    Antonyms: miss

verb (used without object)

  1. to arrive at or succeed in reaching or obtaining something (usually followed by to or unto ):

    to attain to knowledge.

  2. to reach in the course of development or growth:

    These trees attain to remarkable height.


/ əˈteɪn /


  1. tr to achieve or accomplish (a task, goal, aim, etc)
  2. tr to reach or arrive at in space or time

    to attain old age

  3. introften foll byto to arrive (at) with effort or exertion

    to attain to glory

“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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Derived Forms

  • atˌtainaˈbility, noun
  • atˈtainable, adjective
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Other Words From

  • at·tain·er noun
  • re·at·tain verb (used with object)
  • un·at·tain·ing adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of attain1

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English atei(g)nen, from Anglo-French, Old French ateign- (stem of ateindre ), from unattested Vulgar Latin attangere (for Latin attingere ), equivalent to Latin at- at- + tangere “to touch”
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Word History and Origins

Origin of attain1

C14: from Old French ateindre, from Latin attingere to reach, from tangere to touch
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Synonym Study

See gain 1.
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Example Sentences

Learning how to conduct marketing research is one of the most important marketing skills you can attain.

It’s really something we only offer our best partners when we can attain it.

Those premiums are based on your attained age and your health, as well as the value of your home and the payoff amount.

She told them to “contact any and all resources to try to attain proper PPE.”

In particle physics, tiny fundamental particles can attain properties by interactions with other particles or fields.

“The U.S. Navy will attain IOC [initial operational capability] in 2018 with 3F software,” DellaVedova wrote.

She sends a miniature of her own image to the court, envious that it will enjoy a proximity she will never attain.

Dahl went on to attain nationwide fame and his own syndicated broadcast as a result of Disco Demolition Night.

How did bigotry attain such power, and how was it so encoded into our laws?

Before you attempt this risky fashion move, you need to attain the chest necessary to fill out even the most modest of V-necks.

Few persons can attain to adult life without being profoundly impressed by the appalling inequalities of our human lot.

The object of this practise is to attain facility in manipulating the elements while maintaining the smooth quality of the tone.

I study your language in your Dickens, in your Thackeray; at last I attain proficiency.

The Perique and Louisiana tobacco are the principal varieties cultivated, and attain nearly the size of Connecticut seed leaf.

To attain this end the student should begin by pacing some length of road where the distances are well known.