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 In 2013, researchers at DeepMind, a UK company later acquired by Google, used reinforcement learning to create a computer program that learned to play several Atari videogames to a superhuman level. Will Knight, Wired, "Gamemakers Inject AI to Develop More Lifelike Characters," 27 May 2020 Equipment acquired by the federal government has been slow to trickle down to states, and governors had trouble getting medical supplies as global demand surged. Murilo Fagundes,, "Covid-19 Is Killing Nurses in Brazil More Than Anywhere Else," 26 May 2020 Few of their decisions leading up to this year were focused solely on 2020 – unlike, say, the Los Angeles Dodgers, who made a massive trade just before spring training to acquire free-agent-to-be Mookie Betts. Nick Piecoro, azcentral, "D-Backs' GM Mike Hazen on missing baseball: ‘Hard to imagine what would have been’," 2 May 2020 Pittman said, referring to the longtime Chargers quarterback acquired by the Colts in free agency. Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times, "Teams follow family ties on Day 2 of the NFL draft," 24 Apr. 2020 In an ideal world, SARS-CoV-2 immunity would resemble that acquired by children who get chicken pox. Stacey Mckenna, Scientific American, "What Immunity to COVID-19 Really Means," 10 Apr. 2020 According to data acquired by Nielsen, per Vulture, Tiger King drew an average of 19 million U.S. television viewers in its first 10 days on the streamer. Kaitlin Reilly,, "Tiger King Became The World’s Quarantine Binge & The Numbers Prove It," 9 Apr. 2020 The production company set up a deal with Lorimar Television (later acquired by Warner Bros.) became the force behind much of ABC's TGIF lineup in the 1990s, with such shows as Full House, Family Matters, and Perfect Strangers. Tyler Aquilina,, "Thomas L. Miller, producer of Full House, Happy Days, and more, dies at 79," 8 Apr. 2020 However, the annual shopping holiday has been postponed from July until at least August due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to internal meeting reports acquired by Reuters. Madeline Diamond, Travel + Leisure, "Amazon Prime Day Postponed Due to Coronavirus Outbreak, Report Says," 5 Apr. 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

3 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Acquire.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on acquire

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for acquire

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with acquire

Spanish Central: Translation of acquire

Nglish: Translation of acquire for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of acquire for Arabic Speakers

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