Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English achieven, acheven, from Anglo-Norman achever, Old French achever, achiever et al., apparently from Late Latin *accappāre, present active infinitive of *accappō, from ad (to) + caput (head) + (verbal suffix), or alternatively a construction based on Old French chief (head). Compare Catalan, Occitan, Portuguese and Spanish acabar, French achever.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /əˈtʃiːv/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːv


achieve (third-person singular simple present achieves, present participle achieving, simple past and past participle achieved)

  1. (intransitive) To succeed in something, now especially in academic performance. [from 14th c.]
  2. (transitive) To carry out successfully; to accomplish. [from 14th c.]
    • (Can we date this quote by I. Taylor and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
      Supposing faculties and powers to be the same, far more may be achieved in any line by the aid of a capital, invigorating motive than without it.
  3. (obsolete, transitive) To conclude, finish, especially successfully. [14th-18th c.]
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.1:
      Full many Countreyes they did overronne, / From the uprising to the setting Sunne, / And many hard adventures did atchieve []
  4. (transitive) To obtain, or gain (a desired result, objective etc.), as the result of exertion; to succeed in gaining; to win. [from 14th c.]
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 1, in The Celebrity:
      I was about to say that I had known the Celebrity from the time he wore kilts. But I see I will have to amend that, because he was not a celebrity then, nor, indeed, did he achieve fame until some time after I left New York for the West.
    • 2013 January 22, Phil McNulty, “Aston Villa 2-1 Bradford (3-4)”, in BBC:
      Bradford may have lost on the night but they stubbornly protected a 3-1 first-leg advantage to emulate a feat last achieved by Rochdale in 1962.
    • c. 1601-1602, William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, II-v
      Some are born great, some achieve greatness.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 10”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker [] [a]nd by Robert Boulter [] [a]nd Matthias Walker, [], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, OCLC 230729554:
      Thou hast achieved our liberty.
  5. (obsolete, intransitive) To conclude, to turn out. [14th-16th c.]
  6. (transitive, now literary) To obtain (a material thing). [from 15th c.]
    • (Can we date this quote by Prior and provide title, author’s full name, and other details?)
    Show all the spoils by valiant kings achieved.


Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Further readingEdit