acquire

verb
ac·​quire | \ ə-ˈkwī(-ə)r How to pronounce acquire (audio) \
acquired; acquiring

Essential Meaning of acquire

1 formal : to get (something) : to come to own (something) They're planning to acquire [=buy] a new home in the country. He acquired [=got, inherited] a small fortune after the death of her parents. See More ExamplesThe two ships were acquired by the navy after the war. The team acquired three new players this year.Hide : to come to have (something) She dreamed of acquiring [=gaining, getting] control of the company. When I saw her next she had somehow managed to acquire a few cuts and bruises. [=she had a few cuts and bruises] See More ExamplesThe old word has acquired a new meaning. This apparently minor event has acquired increasing significance in recent weeks.Hide
2 : to gain (a new skill, ability, etc.) usually by your own effort She quickly acquired [=gained] fluency in French. He is studying the way that language is acquired by children. See More Examplesacquire knowledge He has acquired a reputation as a careful/careless worker. [=people regard him as a careful/careless worker]Hide

Full Definition of acquire

transitive verb

1 : to get as one's own:
a : to come into possession or control of often by unspecified means acquire property The team acquired three new players this year.
b : to come to have as a new or added characteristic, trait, or ability (as by sustained effort or natural selection) acquire fluency in French bacteria that acquire tolerance to antibiotics
2 : to locate and hold (a desired object) in a detector acquire a target by radar

Synonyms & Antonyms for acquire

Synonyms

Antonyms

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of acquire in a Sentence

The two ships were acquired by the navy after the war. The team acquired three new players this year. The old word has acquired a new meaning. This apparently minor event has acquired increasing significance in recent weeks. He is studying the way that language is acquired by children.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The city also expects to acquire an additional technician and buy a bucket truck and new materials. Alixel Cabrera, The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 Dec. 2021 Both have spent tens of billions of dollars to acquire the bandwidth and build the necessary towers and other infrastructure to launch the network. Ike Brannon, Forbes, 28 Dec. 2021 Nationally, some school systems have struggled to find sufficient staffing to coordinate testing, acquire the necessary stock of rapid tests and gather parental permission for the testing, Aspinall said. Washington Post, 24 Dec. 2021 The funds will be put toward several projects that acquire and rehabilitate motels, hotels, hostels or other buildings to create permanent housing that will have wraparound services for the homeless. Sarah Ravani, San Francisco Chronicle, 21 Dec. 2021 That encounter led Sanguinetti to acquire her first camera and start to shoot friends and family members; in the decades since, she has become known for her sensitive, intimate images, especially of girls and women. Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, 18 Dec. 2021 SPACs raise money that must be used to acquire and bring public private firms. Matt Egan, CNN, 14 Dec. 2021 The Lakers traded him to Dallas on Dec. 11, effectively breaking up the pieces needed to acquire Paul and exiting the point guard’s sweepstakes. Los Angeles Times, 13 Dec. 2021 Winter Park will pitch two properties to the U.S. Postal Service as possible sites for a replacement facility — the latest attempt in the city’s longstanding effort to acquire the current downtown location and expand Central Park. Lisa Maria Garza, orlandosentinel.com, 8 Dec. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'acquire.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of acquire

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for acquire

borrowed from Latin acquīrere, from ad- ad- + quaerere "to seek, gain, obtain, enquire"; replacing earlier aquere, going back to Middle English aqweren, borrowed from Anglo-French acquerre, going back to Vulgar Latin *acquaerere, restructuring (by restoring the vocalism of quaerere) of acquīrere — more at quest entry 1

Learn More About acquire

Time Traveler for acquire

Time Traveler

The first known use of acquire was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near acquire

acquirable

acquire

acquire a reputation

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for acquire

Last Updated

13 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Acquire.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/acquire. Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for acquire

acquire

verb
ac·​quire | \ ə-ˈkwīr How to pronounce acquire (audio) \
acquired; acquiring

Kids Definition of acquire

: to get especially through effort : gain acquire a skill

acquire

transitive verb
ac·​quire | \ ə-ˈkwī(ə)r How to pronounce acquire (audio) \
acquired; acquiring

Medical Definition of acquire

: to come to have as a new or additional characteristic, trait, or ability (as by sustained effort, by mutation, or through environmental forces) a cognitive system … that is acquired in early childhood— Noam Chomsky bacteria that acquire tolerance to antibiotics insects that acquire resistance to insecticides

acquire

transitive verb
ac·​quire | \ ə-ˈkwīr How to pronounce acquire (audio) \
acquired; acquiring

Legal Definition of acquire

: to come into possession, ownership, or control of : obtain as one's own the target's directors don't want the company to be acquired— R. C. Clark the court acquired jurisdiction

Other Words from acquire

acquirer also acquiror \ ə-​ˈkwīr-​ər \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on acquire

Nglish: Translation of acquire for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of acquire for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!