Simple Definition of obtain
: to gain or get (something) usually by effort
: to continue to be accepted or in use
Full Definition of obtain
Examples of obtain
The information may be difficult to obtain.
We obtained a copy of the original letter.
These ideas no longer obtain for our generation.
Origin of obtain
Middle English obteinen, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French obtenir, from Latin obtinēre to hold on to, possess, obtain, from ob- in the way + tenēre to hold — more at thin
First Known Use: 15th century
OBTAIN Defined for Kids
Definition of obtain
: to gain or get hold of with effort <She was able to obtain a ticket to the show.> <We obtained permission to enter.>
Word Root of obtain
The Latin words tenēre, meaning “to hold,” gives us the roots ten and tain. Words from the Latin tenēre have something to do with holding. Something tenacious holds on and is not easily gotten rid of. To contain is to hold things together inside. To obtain is to get hold of. To retain is to continue to hold.
Seen and Heard
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