usage of 'achieve' with respect to 'requirement'

This is the full read-only archive of the "Ask the Wordwizard" section of the original Wordwizard site. The responses to the questions originate from Jonathon Green, the compiler of the Cassell Dictionary of Slang and numerous other dictionaries.
Post Reply

usage of 'achieve' with respect to 'requirement'

Post by Archived Topic » Wed Feb 10, 1999 12:00 am

My boss says that a business can "achieve a regulatory requirement." I maintain that although a business can "achieve compliance with" or "meet" (or just plain "comply with") that requirement, they cannot achieve the requirement itself, the requirement being something imposed by an outside entity (in this case, the state's environmental regulatory agency). My ear screams that she's wrong and I'm right, but I can find no written justification for my usage over hers. She fancies herself a word expert and will only back down in the face of written "proof" of an error. Help!
Submitted by Amy Fowler (Albany - U.S.A.)
Post actions:
Signature: Topic imported and archived

usage of 'achieve' with respect to 'requirement'

Post by Jonathon Green » Fri Feb 12, 1999 8:00 am

These are the relevant definitions, as suggested by the OED and copied therefrom; I offer one citation per use, which may help. As you will see, the crosses at 5b and 6 mean that this use is obsolete.

II. Of an end: To attain, gain.

5. trans. To succeed in gaining, to acquire by effort, to gain, win.
a. An abstract property or possession.
1674 Milton P.L. xi. 792 Having spilt much blood..and achieved thereby Fame in the world.

† b. A material acquisition. Obs.
1618 Bolton Florus (1636) 325 Provinces are atchieved by the sword, but retayned by Iustice.

† 6. intr. To arrive or attain successfully (to a point or position). Obs.
1553­87 Foxe A. & M. 17/1 (1596) By the means whereof, the archbishops of the Romish see haue atchiued to their great kingdome.

7. trans. To attain successfully, to reach (an end).
1794 Sullivan View of Nat. I. 255 These able men strove to attain the same great end, and separately atchieved it.

8. [See over-achiever, under-achiever.] intr. To be successful in attaining one’s (educational) goals. See achiever b.
1980 Church Times 11 July 4/3 He believed that there were intelligent people in the parish who had not achieved academically.
Post actions:
Signature: Jonathon Green

End of topic.
Post Reply