to reach, achieve, or accomplish; gain; obtain:
to attain one’s goals.
to come to or arrive at, especially after some labor or tedium; reach:
to attain the age of 96; to attain the mountain peak.
to arrive at or succeed in reaching or obtaining something (usually followed by to or unto):
to attain to knowledge.
to reach in the course of development or growth:
These trees attain to remarkable height.
Contemporary Examples

There is an aura of transcendence, a spiritual fulfillment that comes with attaining “an intense transactional present.”
Must Read Novels: Ballard, Dybek, and Krasznahorkai Jacob Silverman, Malcolm Forbes, John McIntyre April 22, 2012

Overcoming Fear The third chakra, at the solar plexus, manipura, is about overcoming fear and attaining a sense of belonging.
The Tantric Sex in Avatar Asra Q. Nomani March 3, 2010

This journey of discovering the balance between the spirit and the flesh is “attaining spiritual greatness” for me.
Prop 8’s Aftermath: With Gay Rights, Religion Still Lags Sir Ari Gold February 7, 2012

Historical Examples

James did not immediately make peace, holding himself possibly in readiness in the event of Warbeck’s attaining any success.
An Outline of the Relations between England and Scotland (500-1707) Robert S. Rait

To this method of attaining an object, they have frequent recourse.
Chronicles of Border Warfare Alexander Scott Withers

On attaining a certain age, the Limeñas totally alter their habits of life.
Travels in Peru, on the Coast, in the Sierra, Across the Cordilleras and the Andes, into the Primeval Forests J. J. von Tschudi

Who knows but we may be aiming at the greater, and fail of attaining the lesser?
Laws Plato

The great Tsar had his own patient way of attaining his ends through many defeats and much discouragement.
Boris the Bear-Hunter Fred Whishaw

As for Roman freedom, what hope is left to us of attaining that?
Theodoric the Goth Thomas Hodgkin

Writers who seem to have composed with the greatest ease have exerted much labour in attaining this facility.
The Works of Alexander Pope, Volume 2 (of 10) Alexander Pope

(transitive) to achieve or accomplish (a task, goal, aim, etc)
(transitive) to reach or arrive at in space or time: to attain old age
(intransitive) often foll by to. to arrive (at) with effort or exertion: to attain to glory

c.1300, “to succeed in reaching,” from stem of Old French ataindre (11c., Modern French atteindre) “to come up to, reach, attain, endeavor, strive,” from Vulgar Latin *adtangere, from Latin attingere “to touch, to arrive at,” from ad- “to” (see ad-) + tangere “to touch” (see tangent). Latin attingere had a wide range of meanings, including “to attack, to strike, to appropriate, to manage,” all somehow suggested by the literal sense “to touch.” Related: Attained; attaining.


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