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attain

[uh-teyn]
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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.
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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.
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Origin of attain

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 formsat·tain·er, nounre·at·tain, verb (used with object)un·at·tained, adjectiveun·at·tain·ing, adjectivewell-at·tained, adjective

Synonyms

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1. secure. See gain1.

Antonyms

1, 2. miss.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for attain

attain

verb
  1. (tr) to achieve or accomplish (a task, goal, aim, etc)
  2. (tr) to reach or arrive at in space or timeto attain old age
  3. (intr often foll by to) to arrive (at) with effort or exertionto attain to glory
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Derived Formsattainable, adjectiveattainability or 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

Word Origin and History for 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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper