The verb attain is all about reaching some mark of achievement. You can attain a goal. You can even attain a destination. If you consistently have the highest grades in your class, you might attain a reputation for success.

Attain derives in part from the Latin tangere "to touch," which is also at the root of retain "to keep," obtain "to get," contain "to control." One might obtain the discipline to contain one's emotions while studying, thereby attaining control and retaining more information.

Definitions of attain

v gain with effort

accomplish, achieve, reach
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get a certain number or letter indicating quality or performance
get to, make, progress to, reach
reach a goal, e.g., "make the first team"
achieve or accomplish in the least degree, usually used in the negative
come to, strike
reach the highest or most decisive point
bring about; accomplish
achieve or reach on average
finagle, manage, wangle
achieve something by means of trickery or devious methods
achieve a certain score or rating on a test
Type of:
bring home the bacon, come through, deliver the goods, succeed, win
attain success or reach a desired goal

v reach a point in time, or a certain state or level

hit, reach
max out
reach a maximum
break even
attain a level at which there is neither gain nor loss, as in business, gambling, or a competitive sport
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arrive, come, get
reach a destination; arrive by movement or progress

v reach a destination, either real or abstract

arrive at, gain, hit, make, reach
reach in time
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catch up
reach the point where one should be after a delay
scale, surmount
reach the highest point of
access, get at
reach or gain access to
bottom out
reach the low point
peak, top out
to reach the highest point; attain maximum intensity, activity
breast, summit
reach the summit (of a mountain)
reach or ascend the top of
reach in time
succeed in reaching; arrive at
reach the highest altitude or the meridian, of a celestial body
come through, get through
succeed in reaching a real or abstract destination after overcoming problems
ground, run aground
hit or reach the ground
come back
even the score, in sports
reach a high point

v find unexpectedly

chance on, chance upon, come across, come upon, discover, fall upon, happen upon, light upon, strike
Type of:
find, regain
come upon after searching; find the location of something that was missed or lost

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