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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English achieven, acheven, from Anglo-Norman achever, Old 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): /əˈt͡ʃiːv/
  • (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.]
    You can achieve anything if you put your mind to it.
    Hannah achieved her lifelong dream of winning a medal at the Olympics.
    • 1832, [Isaac Taylor], Saturday Evening. [], London: Holdsworth and Ball, →OCLC:
      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.]
  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.]
  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.


Derived terms[edit]


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Further reading[edit]