Definition for AT-TAIN

AT-TAIN, v.t.

  1. To gain; to compass; to achieve or accomplish, that is, to reach by efforts; without to following. Is he wise who hopes to attain the end without the means? – Tillotson. This use of the verb is now established; but in strictness to is here implied; attain to the end. The real sense, as in the intransitive use of the verb, is, to reach or come to the end or purpose in view. This word always implies an effort toward an object. Hence it is not synonymous with obtain and procure, which do not necessarily imply such effort. We procure or obtain a thing by purchase or loan, and we obtain by inheritance, but we do not attain it by such means. An inattention to this distinction has led good authors into great mistakes in the use of this word.
  2. To reach or come to a place or object by progression or motion. But ere such tidings shall his ears attain. Hoole's Tasso. Canaan he now attains. – Milton.
  3. To reach in excellence or degree; to equal. – Bacon.

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