from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To gain with effort or despite difficulty; reach.
  • intransitive verb To succeed in accomplishing; bring about: synonym: perform.
  • intransitive verb To accomplish something successfully; perform at a standard or above standard level.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To perform or execute; accomplish, as some great enterprise; finish; carry on to a prosperous close.
  • To gain or obtain, as the result of exertion; bring about, as by effort.
  • Synonyms Effect, Accomplish, etc. (see perform), bring about, work out.
  • To acquire, win, obtain, get.
  • To come to an end.
  • To accomplish some enterprise; bring about a result intended.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To carry on to a final close; to bring out into a perfected state; to accomplish; to perform; -- as, to achieve a feat, an exploit, an enterprise.
  • transitive verb To obtain, or gain, as the result of exertion; to succeed in gaining; to win.
  • transitive verb obsolete To finish; to kill.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb to gain with effort


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English acheven, from Old French achever, from a chief (venir), (to come) to a head; see chief.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Anglo-Norman aschever, Middle French achever, achiever et al., apparently from Late Latin *accappō, from ad ("to") + caput ("head") + (verbal suffix). Compare Catalan, Occitan, Portuguese and Spanish acabar, French achever.


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  • Railroad telegraphers' shorthand for "What will be the expense of action?" --1906 US Railway Assn. Standard Cipher Code.

    January 19, 2013