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From Middle French achevement (compare Modern French achèvement), from Old French achevement, from the verb achever, achiever (to finish); equivalent to achieve +‎ -ment. The heraldic sense may be influenced by hatchment.


  • IPA(key): /əˈt͡ʃiːv.mənt/, /əˈt͡ʃiːv.mɪnt/
  • (file)


achievement (countable and uncountable, plural achievements)

  1. The act of achieving or performing; a successful performance; accomplishment.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 1, in The China Governess[1]:
      The original family who had begun to build a palace to rival Nonesuch had died out before they had put up little more than the gateway, so that the actual structure which had come down to posterity retained the secret magic of a promise rather than the overpowering splendour of a great architectural achievement.
    • 1979 August, Graham Burtenshaw, Michael S. Welch, “O.V.S. Bulleid's SR loco-hauled coaches - 1”, in Railway World, page 397:
      As to the type of seat preferred, the views were so varied that it was considered wisely that the ideal design was beyond achievement!
    • 2012 March-April, Terrence J. Sejnowski, “Well-connected Brains”, in American Scientist[2], volume 100, number 2, archived from the original on 27 April 2017, page 171:
      Creating a complete map of the human connectome would therefore be a monumental milestone but not the end of the journey to understanding how our brains work. The achievement will transform neuroscience and serve as the starting point for asking questions we could not otherwise have answered, […].
  2. A great or heroic deed or feat; something accomplished by valor or boldness.
    • a. 1677, Isaac Barrow, edited by Abraham Hill and James Hamilton, The Works of Isaac Barrow, published 1845, Sermon xxxiv, Of Being Imitators of Christ, page 397:
      [The exploits] of the ancient saints ; they do far surpass the most famous achievements of pagan heroes.
    • c. 1837, Thomas Babington Macaulay, Minutes on the Education of India:
      [] the English genius was effecting in science a revolution which will, to the end of time, be reckoned among the highest achievements of the human intellect.
  3. (heraldry) An escutcheon or ensign armorial; a full display or depiction of all the heraldic components to which the bearer of a coat of arms is entitled; (now especially) a funeral shield: the hatchment.
    • 1791, Charlotte Smith, Celestina, Broadview, published 2004, page 488:
      The narrow Gothic windows were filled, not with glass that admitted the light, but with glass painted with the achievements of the family [] .
  4. (video games) An award for completing a particular task or meeting an objective in a video game.
    Synonym: trophy
    Finishing the game does not give you a 100% score until you have unlocked all of the achievements.
  5. (grammar, semantics) The lexical aspect (aktionsart) of verbs or predicates that change in an instant.
    • 1997, Robert van Valin, Randy LaPolla, Syntax[3], page 92:
      [] distinctions among states of affairs are reflected to a striking degree in distinctions among Aktionsart types. That is, situations are expressed by state verbs or predicates, events by achievement verbs or predicates, and actions by activity verbs or predicates.
  6. (sociology) The successful completion of a socially defined goal or task, highlighting individual or group accomplishment.


Derived terms[edit]


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Further reading[edit]