Definition of attain in English:


Syllabification: at·tain
Pronunciation: /əˈtān


[with object]
  • 1Succeed in achieving (something that one desires and has worked for): clarify your objectives and ways of attaining them he attained the rank of admiral human beings can attain happiness
    More example sentences
    • However happiness is not something that can be acquired, attained, achieved or gathered.
    • The examples of terrorist organisations that have succeeded in attaining their strategic goals are few and far between.
    • You may judge for yourself the degree to which I've succeeded in attaining that goal.
    achieve, accomplish, reach, obtain, gain, procure, secure, get, hook, net, win, earn, acquire; realize, fulfill
    informal clinch, bag, snag, wrap up
  • 1.1Reach (a specified age, size, or amount): dolphins can attain remarkable speeds in water
    More example sentences
    • The late Mrs. Boyle had attained the age of one-hundred years, and enjoyed good health up to the end.
    • One in ten children die before they attain the age of five years, adds the report.
    • The reality sinks in when they attain puberty by which time they are told they have no choice.


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'.

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