attain

[uh-teyn]

verb (used with object)

to reach, achieve, or accomplish; gain; obtain: to attain one's goals.
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)

to arrive at or succeed in reaching or obtaining something (usually followed by to or unto): to attain to knowledge.
to reach in the course of development or growth: These trees attain to remarkable height.

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 for attain

1. secure. See gain1.

Antonyms for attain

1, 2. miss.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


Examples from the Web for attained

Contemporary Examples of attained

Historical Examples of attained

  • December 29, 1893, Mr. Gladstone attained the eighty-fourth year of his age.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • December 29, 1879, Mr. Gladstone attained the seventieth year of his age.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • We have its advantages, but there are advantages to which we have not yet attained.

  • He ran with all the speed he had ever attained at a track meet.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • Magua had now attained one great object of all his cunning and enterprise.

    The Last of the Mohicans

    James Fenimore Cooper


British Dictionary definitions for attained

attain

verb

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

Word Origin for attain

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 attained

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