Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To succeed in gaining possession of as the result of planning or endeavor; acquire.
  • intransitive v. To be established, accepted, or customary: "standards, proprieties that no longer obtain” ( Meg Greenfield).
  • intransitive v. Archaic To succeed.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To gain or have a firm footing; to be recognized or established; to become prevalent or general; to prevail.
  • intransitive v. To prevail; to succeed.
  • transitive v. To hold; to keep; to possess.
  • transitive v. To get hold of by effort; to gain possession of; to procure; to acquire, in any way.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To get; procure; secure; acquire; gain: as, to obtain a month's leave of absence; to obtain riches.
  • To attain; reach; arrive at.
  • To attain or reach by endeavor; succeed in (reaching, receiving, or doing something); manage.
  • Hence To achieve; win.
  • To hold; keep; maintain possession of.
  • Synonyms Attain, Obtain, Procure. See attain.
  • To secure what one desires or strives for; prevail; succeed.
  • To be common or customary; prevail or be established in practice; be in vogue; hold good; subsist; prevail: as, the custom still obtains in some country districts.
  • To attain; come.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. receive a specified treatment (abstract)
  • v. be valid, applicable, or true
  • v. come into possession of

Etymologies

Middle English obteinen, from Old French obtenir, from Latin obtinēre : ob-, intensive pref.; see ob- + tenēre, to hold; see ten- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Anglo-Norman obtenir, optiner et al., and Middle French obtenir, from Latin obtinēre ("to gain, achieve, succeed, possess"), from ob- + tenēre ("to hold"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • And the very things which the Jews speak of the Hebrew word obtain also in the Greek.

    From the Talmud and Hebraica

  • Recently, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (ABCNY) posted an Ethics Opinion commenting on the developing issue of what lawyers may properly obtain from the Internet concerning clients or adversaries.

    Bill Singer: Danger: Legal Sharks Circle Online Posters

  • He seems not to accept "authority" in any terms other than those that might obtain from a guarantee of preservation from all error by the Spirit.

    Fr. Robert Barron on Protestantism, authority, and Cardinal Newman

  • The central & north European pies I tasted were on par with what one might obtain from a day old Chuck-E-Cheese slice, after it has been carefully aged on the floor of a truck stop bathroom in Gaffney, SC.

    I Should Not Have Come.....

  • But also, as previously mentioned, what most people really obtain is not so much insurance (characterized by infrequent events and high payouts) but rather a product called insurance that really functions as insulation or consumption smoothing (characterized by frequent events and low pay outs).

    More Health Care Thoughts

  • Many figures were obtain from the Norton Online Living Report by Symantec.

    Internet News: Statistics on Internet Use

  • They will not obtain from the book a sound knowledge of the basics of the subjects under discussion, nor will they be in a position to judge the relative credibility of conventional ideas and Penrose's alternatives.

    Are Changes Brewing and How Does the Mind Fit In?

  • Nick are you an idiot or a college student with a life that daddy pays for? if you add FL and MI the number to obtain is 2210 not 2026.

    Paterson says Clinton frustrated, not desperate

  • Her charity for her neighbor made her grieve bitterly that there should be so many sinful men in danger of eternal death; and by constant prayer, together with voluntary sufferings, she strove to obtain from the divine mercy that they might return to the path of salvation, with the help of divine grace.

    29 December -- St Thomas of Canterbury

  • There is an Official Guide to Driving a Car In Mexico published by the Sectretaria of Turismo that you can obtain from the Mexican Government Tourism Office in all major cities in the US and Canada.

    Mexico FAQs: Transportation and travel

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