Definition of attain in English:



  • 1 Succeed in achieving (something that one has worked for):

    ‘clarify your objectives and ways of attaining them’
    ‘he attained the rank of Brigadier’
    • ‘Undeniably focusing on their careers led them to attain a high level of artistic achievement.’
    • ‘They should be made to feel proud that they have attained, achieved and can hold those positions.’
    • ‘It should be said straightaway that they have succeeded admirably in attaining their goal.’
    • ‘It is a humanist vision that in every culture people can attain freedom and enable all to achieve their potential in their own chosen way.’
    • ‘It is a very basic thing that one cannot attain happiness by making others unhappy.’
    • ‘He attained the rank of sergeant in a tank corps.’
    • ‘What is it about cancer and other illnesses that pushes us sufferers on to attain goals and achieve tasks?’
    • ‘It compels us to review goals set against achievements attained and lapses experienced.’
    • ‘The examples of terrorist organisations that have succeeded in attaining their strategic goals are few and far between.’
    • ‘We believe that our prayers can assist our loved ones to attain eternal happiness.’
    • ‘Achievements attained by a person were also considered to honour the whole family.’
    • ‘The fact is, the reformists have failed to attain any tangible achievement.’
    • ‘You may judge for yourself the degree to which I've succeeded in attaining that goal.’
    • ‘And perseverance is the name of the game for one to attain success and happiness.’
    • ‘She claimed the school had done well to achieve the results it attained.’
    • ‘Recognised as an effective and efficient leader, he had attained the rank of major-general in 1942.’
    • ‘Wasn't his perception of happiness and how to attain it desperately marred?’
    • ‘So it will prove in the future, for nothing can frustrate the evolutionary movement nor prevent humanity as a whole from attaining and achieving its purpose.’
    • ‘And it seems that the Secretary of State has fully succeeded in attaining his objective.’
    • ‘No one should be allowed to disrupt the democratic achievements so far attained.’
    • ‘To gain reparations without attaining this goal would be to win a false victory.’
    • ‘However happiness is not something that can be acquired, attained, achieved or gathered.’
    achieve, accomplish, reach, arrive at, come by, obtain, gain, procure, secure, get, grasp, hook, net, win, earn, acquire, establish, make
    realize, fulfil, succeed in, bring off, bring about, bring to fruition, carry off, carry through, effect
    hit, clinch, bag, wangle, wrap up, polish off
    effectuate, reify
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Reach (a specified age, size, or amount):
      ‘dolphins can attain speeds in water which man cannot yet emulate’
      • ‘Parents should realise these are real cars that attain high speeds on the enclosed track.’
      • ‘Now it darts ahead, quickly attaining a forward speed of 140 miles an hour.’
      • ‘Seed growth slows after this, but does not entirely cease until the seed attains physiological maturity.’
      • ‘Common mistakes made by novices include underestimating the size that trees will attain.’
      • ‘All priests and mages felt this charge upon attaining full manhood.’
      • ‘One in ten children die before they attain the age of five years, adds the report.’
      • ‘Newly formed leaves were excised once they attained full size.’
      • ‘Only a few second generation churches have attained sufficient maturity to consider appointing their own leaders.’
      • ‘Once the plant attains sufficient height, secure it loosely to the stake.’
      • ‘It would seem that this is an age when one attains maturity and the peak of one's abilities.’
      • ‘Depending on the depth of the water in which the tsunami is traveling, it may attain speeds of up to 500 miles an hour.’
      • ‘Last year, I read about some new research that said a human being attains full maturity or adulthood only at the age of 35!’
      • ‘Corallites attaining a certain size, although variable in diameter, may reproduce again.’
      • ‘The late Mrs. Boyle had attained the age of one-hundred years, and enjoyed good health up to the end.’
      • ‘The reality sinks in when they attain puberty by which time they are told they have no choice.’
      • ‘The rate of development of the major body components is changing continually, at least until the pig attains its mature size.’
      • ‘At the same stage of his life, as soon as he attains manhood, Labda's son also goes off to consult the Delphic oracle.’
      • ‘The animals attain sexual maturity in two to three years and the breeding season is throughout the year.’
      • ‘A function is organised when a girl attains puberty.’
      • ‘These awesome monsters need to attain wind speeds of 75 mph before they become a full hurricane.’
      reach, arrive at, come to, make
      View synonyms


Middle English (in the senses ‘bring to justice’ and ‘reach a state’): from Old French ateindre, from Latin attingere, from ad- at, to + tangere to touch.