[ uh-teyn ]
See synonyms for: attainattainedattainingattains on

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)
  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.

Origin of attain

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”

synonym study For attain

1. See gain1.

Other words for attain

Opposites for attain

Other words from attain

  • at·tain·er, noun
  • re·at·tain, verb (used with object)
  • un·at·tain·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use attain in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for attain


/ (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

  1. (intr often foll by to) to arrive (at) with effort or exertion: to attain to glory

Origin of attain

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

Derived forms of attain

  • attainable, adjective
  • attainability or attainableness, noun

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