Can somebody please explain to me the difference between "attain" and "achieve"? I've looked them up in several dictionaries, but they all basically give interchangeable definitions or list them as synonyms. But there must be a difference! Does anyone know what it is?
• verb bring about or accomplish by effort, skill, or courage. — ORIGIN Old French achever ‘come or bring to a head'
The student achieved excellent results in his exams
• verb succeed in accomplishing.
— ORIGIN Latin attingere, from tangere ‘to touch’.
After much study, the student attained a first class degree