Difference Between Attain and Obtain

Main Difference

The difference between attain and obtain is that attain means to accomplish and obtain means to acquire.

Attain vs. Obtain

Attain are obtain two different worlds, but they are related to each other. The word attain means getting or achieving a specific goal. Obtain is a word that means to show ownership or possession of something given.

The meaning of attain implies having less effort. Obtain implies a little bit more effort. Attain and Obtain are confused with each other but have their distinction. Attain are normally non-tangible entities. Obtain are tangible entities.

The word attain originates from Old French “ateindre,” Latin “attingere” and “tangere” meaning ‘to touch.’ The word obtain originates from Old French “obtenir,” Latin “obtinere” meaning ‘obtain, gain.’

Attain involves work and effort. Obtain is rather related to possession. Attain is progression or motion. Obtain specified some treatment. Attain is gaining a thing with a high level of proficiency. Obtain is valid, true, and applicable.

Attain is reaching a target or goal. Obtain shows ownership. Attain means to reach the excellence of degree to get knowledge. Obtain means to prevalent or establish. Attain relates to success, goal, and getting something. Obtain is related to gaining.

Attain is to overtake. Obtain is to hold something. Attain is to gain with effort, e.g., “She achieved the goal despite many hurdles and setbacks.” It is a bodily exertion. Attain and obtain are often confused with each other but both the words have distinct meanings. For example, in an institute, you work hard to attain a degree. But once you get graduated, the diploma is what you will obtain.

Obtain” is to come into possession of something, usually through some action or effort. “Attain” is to reach a certain thing or goal and could also mean ‘obtain.’ The two terms are very close and could be used as synonyms but “obtain” slightly implies more effort being made toward a goal.

Comparison Chart

AttainObtain
To achieveTo acquire
Entities
Non-tangible entitiesTangible entities
Effort
More effortLess effort
Goal
To accomplishTo gain possession
Kind of Verb
Simple verbIntransitive verb
Nature
SpecificPossessive
Validity
Not validValid

What is Attain?

Attain a means to succeed in achieving something. It means to accomplish or to reach a specific goal which you set for yourself. We normally attain non-tangible entities.

The word attain originates from Old French “ateindre,” Latin “attingere” and “tangere” meaning ‘to touch.’ Middle English (in the senses ‘bring to justice’ and ‘reach a state’):

Attaining a goal requires more effort. To attain a thing requires hard work and effort. Attain means to reach the excellence of degree. It means to reach a specific point in time which is considered as a high ranking position. It is the achievement of abstract goals and objectives. However, it is not so valid and not applicable.

In simple words, attain is a word that directs towards getting or achieving a specific goal. Attain means to gain anything with investing energy or effort, e.g., “She achieved the goal despite setbacks.” Attain is progression or motion.

Furthermore, attain means to reach the excellence of degree to get knowledge. Attain is related to success, goal achieving, or getting something. Attain is to overtake something. It refers to bodily exertion.

Examples

  • At the age of 29, Clara attained her goal of graduating from college with a Ph.D.
  • After six months, I attained my goal of losing 15 pounds.
  • The football team finally attained.
  • My siblings and I were able to attain our American Dream.

What is Obtain?

Obtain is a term that means to gain possession of something. It is used to show ownership. The word obtain is a verb. Obtain is true, valid, and used to acquire something. Obtain is used in situations where someone physically acquires something.

The word obtain originates from Old French “obtenir,” Latin “obtinere” meaning ‘obtain, gain.’

In other words, obtain means acquiring tangible entities. It is an applicable term. Obtain required specific treatment. To obtain means to prevail, succeed, to hold, and to achieve. Obtain is to come into possession and used to occupy something.

To obtain the things mentioned above requires less effort. Obtain refers to gain the possession or ownership of something through less effort. You usually obtain things that are already available to you.

The word “obtain” means to show ownership or possession of something given. This word obtain specified with some treatment. Obtain is valid, true, and applicable.

Obtain means to prevalent or establish. It is related to gaining or accomplishing, or holding something. Also, obtain is to come into possession of something, usually through some action or effort.

Examples

  • I obtained the latest copy of the Journal.
  • One day, I would like to obtain a pocket watch.
  • Of course, I will obtain a degree after graduation.
  • Police obtained the warrant of searching the criminal’s house.

Key Differences

  1. Attain is to achieve to accomplish something whereas ‘obtain’ is to acquire or to get something.
  2. Attain requires more effort; on the other hand, obtain requires less effort.
  3. Attain is a non-tangible entity conversely obtain is a tangible entity.
  4. Attain is rather specific on the flip side, obtain is rather possessive.
  5. Attain is to achieve the goal you set for yourself on the contrary obtain is to show ownership.
  6. Attain is not valid while obtain is valid.
  7. Attain is a verb; on the contrary, obtain works as an intransitive verb.
  8. Attain means to get knowledge on the contrast obtain means to occupy something.
  9. Attain shows achievement inversely obtain shows prevalence.
  10. Attain is not applicable; contrarily obtain is applicable.

Conclusion

Attain and obtain are two different words which sometimes confused with each other, but we could know that they are two distinct words having different usage and verb form.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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