Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Alternative forms[edit]


Borrowed from Anglo-Norman achever, Middle French achever, achiever et al., apparently from Late Latin *accappāre, present active infinitive of *accappō, from ad (to) + caput (head) + (verbal suffix), or alternatively a construction based on Old French chief (head). Compare Catalan, Occitan, Portuguese and Spanish acabar, French achever.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /əˈtʃiːv/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːv


achieve (third-person singular simple present achieves, present participle achieving, simple past and past participle achieved)

  1. (intransitive) To succeed in something, now especially in academic performance. [from 14th c.]
  2. (transitive) To carry out successfully; to accomplish. [from 14th c.]
    • I. Taylor
      Supposing faculties and powers to be the same, far more may be achieved in any line by the aid of a capital, invigorating motive than without it.
  3. (obsolete, transitive) To conclude, finish, especially successfully. [14th-18th c.]
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.1:
      Full many Countreyes they did overronne, / From the uprising to the setting Sunne, / And many hard adventures did atchieve []
  4. (transitive) To obtain, or gain (a desired result, objective etc.), as the result of exertion; to succeed in gaining; to win. [from 14th c.]
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 1, in The Celebrity:
      I was about to say that I had known the Celebrity from the time he wore kilts. But I see I will have to amend that, because he was not a celebrity then, nor, indeed, did he achieve fame until some time after I left New York for the West.
    • 2013 January 22, Phil McNulty, “Aston Villa 2-1 Bradford (3-4)”, in BBC:
      Bradford may have lost on the night but they stubbornly protected a 3-1 first-leg advantage to emulate a feat last achieved by Rochdale in 1962.
    • William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, II-v
      Some are born great, some achieve greatness.
    • John Milton
      Thou hast achieved our liberty.
  5. (obsolete, intransitive) To conclude, to turn out. [14th-16th c.]
  6. (transitive, now literary) To obtain (a material thing). [from 15th c.]
    Show all the spoils by valiant kings achieved.
    He hath achieved a maid / That paragons description.


Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Further reading[edit]