What does attain mean?

Definitions for attain

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word attain.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. achieve, accomplish, attain, reachverb

    to gain with effort

    "she achieved her goal despite setbacks"

  2. reach, hit, attainverb

    reach a point in time, or a certain state or level

    "The thermometer hit 100 degrees"; "This car can reach a speed of 140 miles per hour"

  3. fall upon, strike, come upon, light upon, chance upon, come across, chance on, happen upon, attain, discoververb

    find unexpectedly

    "the archeologists chanced upon an old tomb"; "she struck a goldmine"; "The hikers finally struck the main path to the lake"

  4. reach, make, attain, hit, arrive at, gainverb

    reach a destination, either real or abstract

    "We hit Detroit by noon"; "The water reached the doorstep"; "We barely made it to the finish line"; "I have to hit the MAC machine before the weekend starts"


  1. attainverb

    To accomplish; to achieve.

    To attain such a high level of proficiency requires hours of practice each day.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Attainnoun

    The thing attained; attainment: a word notin not in use.

    Etymology: from the verb.

    Crowns and diadems, the most splendid terrene attains, are akin to that which to-day is in the field, and to-morrow is cut down. Joseph Glanvill, Scepsis.

  2. To ATTAINverb

    Etymology: atteindre, Fr. attineo, Lat.

    Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain unto it. Ps. cxxxix. 6.

    Is he wise who hopes to attain the end without the means, nay by means that are quite contrary to it? John Tillotson.

    The earl hoping to have overtaken the Scottish king, and to have given him battle; but not attaining him in time, set down before the castle of Aton. Francis Bacon, Henry VII.

    Canaan he now attains; I see his tents
    Pitch’d above Sichem. John Milton, Paradise Lost, b. xii.

    So the first precedent, if it be good, is seldom attained by imitation. Francis Bacon, Essays.

    To have knowledge in most objects of contemplation, is what the mind of one man can hardly attain unto. John Locke.

  3. To Attainverb

    Milk will soon separate itself into a cream, and a more serous liquor, which, after twelve days, attains to the highest degree of acidity. John Arbuthnot, on Aliments.


  1. attain

    To attain means to succeed in achieving or reaching a particular goal or objective, usually after a lot of effort or hard work. It can also refer to reaching or arriving at a particular state, level, or condition.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Attainverb

    to achieve or accomplish, that is, to reach by efforts; to gain; to compass; as, to attain rest

  2. Attainverb

    to gain or obtain possession of; to acquire

  3. Attainverb

    to get at the knowledge of; to ascertain

  4. Attainverb

    to reach or come to, by progression or motion; to arrive at

  5. Attainverb

    to overtake

  6. Attainverb

    to reach in excellence or degree; to equal

  7. Attainverb

    to come or arrive, by motion, growth, bodily exertion, or efforts toward a place, object, state, etc.; to reach

  8. Attainverb

    to come or arrive, by an effort of mind

  9. Attainnoun


Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Attain

    at-tān′, v.t. to reach or gain by effort: to obtain: to reach a place: to reach.—v.i. to come or arrive: to reach.—adj. Attain′able, that may be reached.—ns. Attain′ableness, Attainabil′ity; Attain′ment, act of attaining: the thing attained: acquisition: (pl.) acquirements in learning. [O. Fr. ataindre—L. atting-ĕread, to, tang-ĕre, to touch.]

Suggested Resources

  1. Attain

    Obtain vs. Attain -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words Obtain and Attain.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'attain' in Verbs Frequency: #971

How to pronounce attain?

How to say attain in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of attain in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of attain in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of attain in a Sentence

  1. Chris Shepard:

    It's hard for a single brand to attain too large a share. People are changing around, experimenting.

  2. Luiz Pezao:

    Of course I want it to be ready for the Olympics but what I want is a legacy for the population, i won't be frustrated (if we don't attain it).

  3. Kahlil Gibran:

    All that spirits desire, spirits attain.

  4. Aristotle:

    ...happiness is the highest good, being a realization and perfect practice of virtue, which some can attain, while others have little or none of it...

  5. Ray Bair:

    It goes to the philosophy of man, you always try to attain new heights and distances. That's what this is all about.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for attain

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"attain." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 2 Oct. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/attain>.

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    diverge from the expected
    • A. descant
    • B. caddie
    • C. aberrate
    • D. lucubrate

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