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The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Attain \At*tain"\ ([a^]t*t[=a]n"), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Attained (-t[=a]nd"); p. pr. & vb. n. Attaining.] [Of. atteinen, atteignen, atainen, OF. ateindre, ataindre, F. atteindre, fr. L. attingere; ad + tangere to touch, reach. See Tangent, and cf. Attinge, Attaint.] 1. To achieve or accomplish, that is, to reach by efforts; to gain; to compass; as, to attain rest. [1913 Webster] Is he wise who hopes to attain the end without the means? --Abp. Tillotson. [1913 Webster] 2. To gain or obtain possession of; to acquire. [Obs. with a material object.] --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] 3. To get at the knowledge of; to ascertain. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Not well attaining his meaning. --Fuller. [1913 Webster] 4. To reach or come to, by progression or motion; to arrive at. "Canaan he now attains." --Milton. [1913 Webster] 5. To overtake. [Obs.] --Bacon. [1913 Webster] 6. To reach in excellence or degree; to equal. [1913 Webster] Syn: To Attain, Obtain, Procure. Usage: Attain always implies an effort toward an object. Hence it is not synonymous with obtain and procure, which do not necessarily imply such effort or motion. We procure or obtain a thing by purchase or loan, and we obtain by inheritance, but we do not attain it by such means. [1913 Webster]