Attain At*tain" ([a^]t*t[=a]n"), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Attained} (-t[=a]nd"); p. pr. & vb. n. {Attaining}.] [Of. atteinen, atteignen, atainen, 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. [1913 Webster]

Is he wise who hopes to attain the end without the means? --Abp. Tillotson. [1913 Webster]

2. To gain or obtain possession of; to acquire. [Obs. with a material object.] --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

3. To get at the knowledge of; to ascertain. [Obs.] [1913 Webster]

Not well attaining his meaning. --Fuller. [1913 Webster]

4. To reach or come to, by progression or motion; to arrive at. ``Canaan he now attains.'' --Milton. [1913 Webster]

5. To overtake. [Obs.] --Bacon. [1913 Webster]

6. To reach in excellence or degree; to equal. [1913 Webster]

Syn: To {Attain}, {Obtain}, {Procure}.

Usage: 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. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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