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- (transitive) To gain (an object or desired result).
- Synonyms: accomplish, achieve, get
- To attain such a high level of proficiency requires hours of practice each day.
- Template:RQ:Shakespeare Julius Richard 2
- 1937, George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier, New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1958, Part 1, Chapter 5, p. 82,
- […] solitude is never easy to attain in a working-class home
- 2007, Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, Orlando: Harcourt, Chapter 11, p. 157,
- Where else could I […] hope to attain such an impressive income?
- (transitive) To reach or come to, by progression or motion; to arrive at (a place, time, state, etc.).
- 1599, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Iulius Cæsar”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act V, scene v]:
- […] my bones would rest,
That have but labour’d to attain this hour.
- Template:RQ:Shelley Frankenstein
- (intransitive) To come or arrive, by motion, growth, bodily exertion, or efforts toward a place, object, state, etc.
- 1782, William Cowper, letter to Joseph Hill dated 11 November, 1782, in Private Correspondence of William Cowper, London: Henry Colburn, 1824, Volume 1, p. 222,
- You may not, perhaps, live to see your trees attain to the dignity of timber—I, nevertheless, approve of your planting, and the disinterested spirit that prompts you to it.
- 1810, Walter Scott, The Lady of the Lake; a Poem, Edinburgh: […] [James Ballantyne and Co.] for John Ballantyne and Co.; London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, and William Miller, OCLC 6632529, canto, stanza 7, page 10:
- For, scarce a spear’s length from his haunch,
Vindictive toiled the blood-hounds staunch;
Nor nearer might the dogs attain,
Nor farther might the quarry strain.
- 1874, John Richard Green, A Short History of the English People, London: Macmillan, Chapter 2, Section 6, p. 90,
- Few boroughs had as yet attained to power such as this,
- (transitive, obsolete) To get at the knowledge of.
- Synonym: ascertain
- 1655, Thomas Fuller, The Church-History of Britain, London: John Williams, Century 13, section 2, p. ,
- […] Master Camden, sometimes acknowledgeth, sometimes denieth him for an English Earle. Not that I accuse him as inconstant to himself, but suspect my self not well attaining his meaning therein.
- (transitive, obsolete) To reach in excellence or degree.
- Synonym: equal
- (transitive, obsolete) To reach a person after being behind them.
- 1622, Francis, Lord Verulam, Viscount St. Alban [i.e. Francis Bacon], The Historie of the Raigne of King Henry the Seventh, […], London: […] W[illiam] Stansby for Matthew Lownes, and William Barret, OCLC 1086746628, page page-174:
- The Earle finding […] the enemie retired, pursued with all celeritie into Scotland; hoping to haue ouer-taken the Scottish King, and to haue giuen him Battaile; But not attaining him in time, sate downe before the Castle of Aton […] which in a small time hee tooke.
to accomplish; to achieve