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

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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for acquire


cultivate, develop, form



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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The scheme began when Towers acquired the parent of two insurance companies, Associated Life Insurance and United Fire. Author: Marc Fisher, Jonathan O'connell, Anchorage Daily News, "For 30 years, prosecutors and victims tried to hold Jeffrey Epstein to account. At every turn, he slipped away.," 10 Aug. 2019 He was involved in startup projects in Vietnam in 1991 and Myanmar in 2000, and later acquired Cambodia’s Phnom Penh Post. Washington Post, "Australian ex-publisher gets 13 years on Myanmar drug charge," 9 Aug. 2019 Her shops in West Palm Beach and Georgetown is a must for anyone interested in acquiring or learning more about these striking pieces. Elizabeth Pash, House Beautiful, "What to Look for When Shopping for Quality Scandinavian Furniture," 9 Aug. 2019 Manchester United, which hosts Chelsea on Sunday, made a big splash earlier this week with acquiring Harry Maguire. Olivia Conte And Jill Martin, CNN, "Weekend sports lineup: Simone Biles, Christian Pulisic -- and still no Ezekiel Elliott," 9 Aug. 2019 The Eagles acquired defensive lineman Eli Harold from the Bills on Friday, Buffalo confirmed. Michael Shapiro,, "Eagles Acquire DE Eli Harold in Trade With Bills, Send OL Ryan Bates to Buffalo," 9 Aug. 2019 And in March, the West Virginia health department announced an outbreak in Cabell County due to a spike in new cases of HIV acquired through drug use. Scientific American, "The U.S. Opioid Epidemic Is Driving a Spike in Infectious Diseases," 9 Aug. 2019 Pluto TV, which Viacom acquired for $340 million early in the year, had 18 million monthly active users as of the end of July, a gain of 50 percent from the time the acquisition was unveiled, management also highlighted on Thursday. Georg Szalai, The Hollywood Reporter, "Viacom Posts Higher Film Profit, U.S. Ad Revenue as CBS Deal Talks Continue," 8 Aug. 2019 Wednesday, it was announced that Anheuser-Busch will acquire the five-year-old brewery. Marc Bona,, "Analysis: Will beer drinkers stick with Platform Beer Co. in light of sale?," 8 Aug. 2019

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.

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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

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Statistics for acquire

Last Updated

13 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for acquire

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

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More Definitions for acquire



English Language Learners Definition of acquire

formal : to get (something) : to come to own (something) : to come to have (something)
: to gain (a new skill, ability, etc.) usually by your own effort


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

Kids Definition of acquire

: to get especially through effort : gain acquire a skill


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

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on acquire

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with acquire

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for acquire

Spanish Central: Translation of acquire

Nglish: Translation of acquire for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of acquire for Arabic Speakers

Comments on acquire

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of or relating to the heavens

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