American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- v. To gain as an objective; achieve: attain a diploma by hard work.
- v. To arrive at, as by virtue of persistence or the passage of time. See Synonyms at reach.
- v. To succeed in a directed effort, process, or progression: attained to high office; eventually attained to wisdom.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- To touch; strike; hit.
- To touch upon; mention.
- To convict; condemn. Compare attaint, v., 3-5.
- To come so near as to touch; reach, achieve, or accomplish (an end or object) by continued effort; come into possession of; acquire; gain.
- To come to or arrive at (a place); reach (a place, time, or state).
- To reach in excellence or degree; equal.
- To overtake; come up with: as, “not attaining him in time,” Bacon.
- To come to know; experience. Synonyms
- To reach; come or arrive by motion, bodily or mental exertion, or efforts of any kind: followed by to or unto.
- To pertain; have relation.
- n. Something attained. Glanville.
GNU Webster's 1913
- v. To achieve or accomplish, that is, to reach by efforts; to gain; to compass.
- v. Obs. with a material object. To gain or obtain possession of; to acquire.
- v. obsolete To get at the knowledge of; to ascertain.
- v. To reach or come to, by progression or motion; to arrive at.
- v. obsolete To overtake.
- v. To reach in excellence or degree; to equal.
- v. To come or arrive, by motion, growth, bodily exertion, or efforts toward a place, object, state, etc.; to reach.
- v. To come or arrive, by an effort of mind.
- n. obsolete Attainment.
- v. reach a destination, either real or abstract
- v. reach a point in time, or a certain state or level
- v. find unexpectedly
- v. to gain with effort
- From Anglo-Norman ataindre, from Old French, from Latin attingō. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English atteignen, from Old French ataindre, ataign-, to reach to, from Vulgar Latin *attangere, from Latin attingere : ad-, ad- + tangere, to touch; see tag- in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“And just the fact that you used the word attain instead of obtain, tells me you think the latter is fine.”
“We may never again attain the stature this president and his criminal cohorts have so brutally wasted in their headlong grab for oil money and power.”
“Sartre's existentialism may be understood in the sense that the degree of happiness which an individual can hope to attain is governed by his willingness to take his stand in accordance with his ethos and to accept the consequences thereof; this is a more austere interpretation of a philosophy admirably expressed by Nobel's contemporary, Ralph Waldo Emerson:”
“Indeed, the security which our children attain is likened to that of children in our ordinary third elementary grade.”
“I use the word attain because I believe this faith requires some ongoing effort on our part.”
“Maybe they’re right, if we let Palin attain a leadership position because we are too politically correct to call her a phu (king retard, well that would be dangerous for this country.”
“The other goal they trying to attain is to wipe out racial, social, class, what-have-you barriers; to treat all the children in New York as equals with equal potential.”
“These people deserve to be addressed with the amount of dignity that their views attain, which is very, very little.”
“‘That is a position which very few women can attain, that is, very few single women.’”
“And for This, the sternest and the uttermost combat is set before the Souls; all our labour is for This, lest we be left without part in this noblest vision, which to attain is to be blessed in the blissful sight, which to fail of is to fail utterly.”
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