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

  • transitive v. To gain possession of: acquire 100 shares of stock.
  • transitive v. To get by one's own efforts: acquire proficiency in math.
  • transitive v. To gain through experience; come by: acquired a growing dislike of television sitcoms.
  • transitive v. To locate (a moving object) with a tracking system, such as radar.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To get.
  • v. To gain, usually by one's own exertions; to get as one's own, as, to acquire a title, riches, knowledge, skill, good or bad habits.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To gain, usually by one's own exertions; to get as one's own.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To get or gain, the object being something which is more or less permanent, or which becomes vested or inherent in the subject: as, to acquire a title, estate, learning, habits, skill, dominion, etc.; to acquire a stammer; sugar acquires a brown color by being burned.

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

  • v. win something through one's efforts
  • v. take on a certain form, attribute, or aspect
  • v. gain knowledge or skills
  • v. come into the possession of something concrete or abstract
  • v. come to have or undergo a change of (physical features and attributes)
  • v. locate (a moving entity) by means of a tracking system such as radar
  • v. gain through experience


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

Middle English acquere, from Old French aquerre, from Latin acquīrere, to add to : ad-, ad- + quaerere, to seek, get.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English aqueren, from Old French aquerre, from Latin adquaerere; ad + quaerere. See quest.


  • Only later, when fear had been replaced by boredom, did the term acquire a derogatory shading.

    No Uncertain Terms

  • Not until the time of Linnæus (1707-1778) did the term acquire a definite and precise meaning.

    Q. E. D., or New Light on the Doctrine of Creation

  • The historical events which mothers take part in acquire the greatness and invincibility of natural phenomena.

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  • I know an Aussie company who had been negotiating a possible buyout that would have seen them move across to join that firm but in the end the company in question decided to only recruit/acquire from the Bay Area!

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  • Perhaps the most notorious example was Attorney General Robert Jackson's opinion (prior to the Lend-Lease Act) that existing statutes gave the President the authority to acquire from the British Government rights for the establishment of naval and air bases in exchange for over-age destroyers and obsolescent military material.


  • The principal object of this request is to enable me to obtain the countenance and protection of the government in the enterprise of conveying, exhibiting and explaining models and specimens of American arts and productions under the auspices of the American Institute, and of obtaining whatever information may be practicable to acquire from the ancient nation for the benefit of our country.

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  • We must set up here plans for the manufacturing of tractors and trucks and we will possibly acquire from the Czechoslovaks some machine making factories.


  • ‹ The only wisdom we can hope to acquire is the wisdom of humility. ›

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  • The tribute and the call acquire additional force and energy when the trust is committed for performance after the decease of him by whom it is granted; when he no longer lives to constrain the effective fulfilment of his design.

    Memoir of the Life of John Quincy Adams.

  • Hence in the generation of the buds of trees, there are probably two kinds of glands, which acquire from the vegetable blood, and deposite beneath the cuticle of the tree two kinds of formative organic matter, which unite and form parts of the new vegetable embryon; which again uniting with other such organizations form the caudex, or the plumula, or the radicle, of

    Note VIII


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