Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun ac·qui·si·tion \ˌa-kwə-ˈzi-shən\

Definition of acquisition

  1. 1 :  the act of acquiring

  2. 2 :  something or someone acquired or gained <the team announced two new acquisitions>

acquisitional play \-shnəl, -shə-nəl\ adjective
acquisitor play \ə-ˈkwi-zə-tər\ noun

Examples of acquisition in a sentence

  1. Steven Schwartzman, the billionaire CEO of Blackstone, suffers no personal liquidity problems. But his firm, and others like it—have had to call off a series of proposed acquisitions because they can't get financing. —Daniel Gross, Newsweek, 3 Mar. 2008

  2. The gifting of books, too, endured as a legacy of our book hunting. I quickly learned not to ask for newly published books as birthday or Christmas presents, since they provided my father with too little of a challenge. The measure of a gift's value was the amount of thought and effort that went into its acquisition. —Charles Mitchell, Bloomsbury Review, November/December 2002

  3. Although some believe that the rise of advertising and strip malls have fostered slavish devotion to shopping where it didn't exist before, Hine posits that the acquisition of objects has a firm place in humanity's history. —Publishers Weekly, 7 Oct. 2002

  4. McKnight and Ward, free-agent acquisitions who each have only one full season as a starter, have brought much-needed speed to the position. But rookie Chris Chambers, a second-round draft pick from Wisconsin, is the jewel. —Jeffri Chadiha, Sports Illustrated, 1 Oct. 2000

  5. the country's acquisition of new ships

  6. The big company's newest acquisition is a small chain of clothing stores.

  7. The museum has put its latest acquisitions on display.

Origin of acquisition

Middle English acquisicioun, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French acquisition, from Latin acquisition-, acquisitio, from acquirere

First Known Use: 14th century

ACQUISITION Defined for Kids


noun ac·qui·si·tion \ˌa-kwə-ˈzi-shən\

Definition of acquisition for Students

  1. 1 :  the act of gaining especially through effort <the acquisition of knowledge>

  2. 2 :  something gained especially through effort <The museum's new acquisitions>

Law Dictionary


noun ac·qui·si·tion \ˌa-kwə-ˈzi-shən\

Legal Definition of acquisition

  1. 1 :  the act or action of acquiring; specifically :  the obtaining of controlling interest in a company — compare merger, takeover

  2. 2 :  a thing gained or acquired

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up acquisition? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the range of perception or understanding

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of these is a synonym of nonplus?

disapprove soothe reduce perplex
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.