Attain vs. Obtain: What's the Difference?
Attain is about achieving a goal or level; obtain is about acquiring or getting something.
Attain often suggests a journey or effort toward achieving a particular goal, while obtain implies getting possession of something, usually through effort or request.
One might attain enlightenment through meditation, whereas one would obtain a book from a library.
Attain can be used in contexts where there's a sense of accomplishment or reaching a certain status, while obtain is more straightforward, often focusing on the act of getting or procuring.
Degrees, milestones, or personal growth are typically "attained," whereas objects, permissions, or tangible items are usually "obtained."
While you attain a new skill by practicing and learning, you obtain a new gadget by buying or receiving it.
Achieve a goal or level
Acquire or get something
Part of Speech
Attain and Obtain Definitions
Reach or achieve.
He worked hard to attain his goals.
Get or acquire.
She managed to obtain the rare book.
Succeed in achieving.
Through dedication, she attained excellence in her field.
Be prevalent, customary, or established.
The same rules obtain for everyone.
Arrive at (a place).
After hours of hiking, they attained the summit.
Secure (something) as a result of effort.
Through hard work, he obtained the promotion.
Reach (a particular age, size, or amount).
The tree can attain a height of 20 feet.
Succeed in gaining.
She obtained a grant for her research.
Accomplish or realize (a goal).
They hope to attain peace through dialogue.
Bring something into one's possession.
He obtained the documents through legal means.
To gain as an objective; achieve
Attain a diploma by hard work.
To succeed in gaining possession of as the result of planning or endeavor; acquire.
Is attain only about achieving goals?
Primarily, but it can also refer to reaching a place, age, or size.
Can one attain a book?
Not typically. One would more likely "obtain" a book.
Can you obtain mastery?
While you can "attain" mastery through effort, it's less common to say "obtain" mastery.
Is it correct to say "obtain a milestone"?
No, milestones are typically "attained."
Is obtain about physical possession?
Often, but it can also refer to gaining rights, permissions, or conditions.
Can you attain permission?
It's more typical to "obtain" permission.
Can you obtain knowledge?
While less common, it can be used to mean acquiring knowledge from a source.
Is obtain more transactional?
Often, as it implies getting or securing something.
What's the antonym of obtain?
Lose or fail to get.
Can one obtain a height or level?
No, one would "attain" a height or level.
Can obtain be used in the sense of prevailing conditions?
Yes, as in "the same rules obtain for everyone."
Can a person attain objects?
Not typically. Objects are usually obtained.
Can you attain knowledge?
Yes, through learning and experience.
Can something be both attained and obtained?
In some contexts, yes, like achieving and getting a degree.
Is attain always about a long journey or process?
Often, but not always. It can simply mean to reach or achieve.
Can one obtain age or size?
No, one would "attain" a certain age or size.
Is attain more about personal achievement?
Generally, yes. It often implies effort and accomplishment.
Which word indicates more effort: attain or obtain?
Typically, "attain" implies more effort in reaching a goal or status.
Which word is more about possession?
Is there any overlap in the usage of attain and obtain?
Occasionally, especially when discussing achievements like degrees.
Written bySumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited byHuma Saeed
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