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



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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 Apple initially attempted to acquire Corellium in 2018, according to court records. Washington Post, "Apple loses copyright battle against security start-up Corellium," 29 Dec. 2020 The order comes after ParCare, a community health network with locations throughout the New York City metropolitan region, was accused of having used deceptive means to acquire more than its allotted share of COVID-19 vaccines. Carly Roman, Washington Examiner, "Andrew Cuomo: COVID-19 vaccine fraud could cost New York healthcare providers $1M and license," 28 Dec. 2020 As the pandemic kept many supporters at home, Trump’s campaign used the app to acquire new users remotely, and Parscale touted how the app was retooled to support virtual events. Garance Burke, Fortune, "Meet the financially troubled startup helped power Trump’s campaign," 18 Nov. 2020 Coach Dwane Casey said in June that the Pistons need to acquire a starting point guard this offseason, either through the draft or free agency. Omari Sankofa Ii, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons draft prospect, Iowa State's Tyrese Haliburton, 'a Midwest guy' sees a fit," 30 Sep. 2020 The Clippers did eventually acquire George in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder in addition to signing Leonard to a three-year, $103-million contract with a player option for the final season in 2021-22. Jack Harris, Los Angeles Times, "Who is Johnny Wilkes? A look at the man suing the Clippers and Jerry West," 19 Dec. 2020 The city used eminent domain powers to acquire the building in 2001 and Oliver moved out, eventually relocating back to Jackson and then to California, near her son. Howard Reich,, "Gerri Oliver, who made the Palm Tavern a nexus of Black culture in Chicago, dies at 101," 10 Dec. 2020 Sizable mergers and acquisitions must be reviewd by the government before they are consummated, and the FTC allowed the tech giant to acquire Instagram and WhatsApp in 2012 and 2014, respectively. John D. Mckinnon, WSJ, "Facebook Hit With Antitrust Lawsuits by FTC, State Attorneys General," 10 Dec. 2020 Obviously, management felt the same way in passing on any efforts to acquire either Earl Thomas or Jamal Adams in recent years. Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas News, "Easy Money: How the Cowboys’ defense continued to scrape rock bottom in loss to Ravens," 8 Dec. 2020

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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Time Traveler for acquire

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for acquire

Last Updated

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Acquire.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for acquire


How to pronounce acquire (audio)

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
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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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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