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Dictionary Information: Definition Attain
Thesaurus: Attainable
Description and Meaning: Attainable Goals

  Attain (At*tain") (#), v. t.
[imp. & p. p. Attained (#); p. pr. & vb. n. Attaining.]
[Of. atteinen, atteignen, ¿tainen, OF. ateindre, ataindre, F. atteindre, fr. L. attingere; ad + tangere to touch, reach. See Tangent, and cf. Attinge, Attaint.]

1. To achieve or accomplish, that is, to reach by efforts; to gain; to compass; as, to attain rest. "Is he wise who hopes to attain the end without the means?" Abp. Tillotson.
2. To gain or obtain possession of; to acquire. [Obs. with a material object.] Chaucer.
3. To get at the knowledge of; to ascertain. [Obs.] "Not well attaining his meaning." Fuller.
4. To reach or come to, by progression or motion; to arrive at. "Canaan he now attains." Milton.
5. To overtake. [Obs.] Bacon.
6. To reach in excellence or degree; to equal.

Synonyms -- To Attain, Obtain, Procure. Attain always implies an effort toward an object. Hence it is not synonymous with obtain and procure, which do not necessarily imply such effort or motion. We procure or obtain a thing by purchase or loan, and we obtain by inheritance, but we do not attain it by such means.
Attain (At*tain"), v. i.

1. To come or arrive, by motion, growth, bodily exertion, or efforts toward a place, object, state, etc.; to reach. "If by any means they might attain to Phenice." Acts xxvii. 12. "Nor nearer might the dogs attain." Sir W. Scott. "To see your trees attain to the dignity of timber." Cowper. "Few boroughs had as yet attained to power such as this." J. R. Green.
2. To come or arrive, by an effort of mind. "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I can not attain unto it." Ps. cxxxix. 6.
Attain (At*tain"), n.

Attainment. [Obs.]

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