acquire

verb ac·quire \ ə-ˈkwī(-ə)r \
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of acquire

acquired; acquiring
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

Examples of acquire in a Sentence

  1. The two ships were acquired by the navy after the war.

  2. The team acquired three new players this year.

  3. The old word has acquired a new meaning.

  4. This apparently minor event has acquired increasing significance in recent weeks.

  5. He is studying the way that language is acquired by children.

Recent Examples of acquire from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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 1quest

acquire Synonyms



ACQUIRE Defined for English Language Learners

acquire

verb

Definition of acquire for English Language Learners

  • : 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


ACQUIRE Defined for Kids

acquire

verb ac·quire \ ə-ˈkwīr \

Definition of acquire for Students

acquired; acquiring
:to get especially through effort :gain
  • acquire a skill

Medical Dictionary

acquire

transitive verb ac·quire \ ə-ˈkwī(ə)r \

medical Definition of acquire

acquired; acquiring
: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

Law Dictionary

acquire

transitive verb ac·quire \ ə-ˈkwīr \

legal Definition of acquire

acquired; acquiring
: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

acquirer

also acquiror \ə-ˈkwīr-ər\ noun


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