Definition of attain in English:

Share this entry


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'.

Words that rhyme with attain

abstain, appertain, arcane, arraign, ascertain, Bahrain, bane, blain, brain, Braine, Cain, Caine, campaign, cane, cinquain, chain, champagne, champaign, Champlain, Charmaine, chicane, chow mein, cocaine, Coleraine, Coltrane, complain, constrain, contain, crane, Dane, deign, demesne, demi-mondaine, detain, disdain, domain, domaine, drain, Duane, Dwane, Elaine, entertain, entrain, explain, fain, fane, feign, gain, Germaine, germane, grain, humane, Hussein, inane, Jain, Jane, Jermaine, Kane, La Fontaine, lain, lane, legerdemain, Lorraine, main, Maine, maintain, mane, mise en scène, Montaigne, moraine, mundane, obtain, ordain, Paine, pane, pertain, plain, plane, Port-of-Spain, profane, rain, Raine, refrain, reign, rein, retain, romaine, sane, Seine, Shane, Sinn Fein, skein, slain, Spain, Spillane, sprain, stain, strain, sustain, swain, terrain, thane, train, twain, Ujjain, Ukraine, underlain, urbane, vain, vane, vein, Verlaine, vicereine, wain, wane, Wayne

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: at·tain

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Related Words