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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Any development that is built over an aquifer recharge zone needs to acquire a permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Annie Blanks, San Antonio Express-News, 15 June 2022 In 2006, Rite Aid made what now looks like a critical overstep in its bid for growth, spending $3 billion to acquire the Eckerd and Brooks chains. Phil Wahba, Fortune, 14 June 2022 Days after Oracle closed its roughly $28 billion deal to acquire health record software company Cerner, Ellison described plans for a national electronic health record system that would pull from thousands of separate hospitals. Mohana Ravindranath, STAT, 13 June 2022 The organization partners with other groups to acquire and maintain these lands, and CILT Executive Director Cliff Chapman said the DNR should have no problem spending all $25 million. Karl Schneider, The Indianapolis Star, 13 June 2022 Chernin Group led a consortium of investors — including former Disney CEO Bob Iger — that paid $263 million to acquire a 25% stake in Funko. Todd Spangler, Variety, 13 June 2022 Third-party aggregators and technology manufacturers are already working aggressively with utility customers to acquire energy resources under a variety of ownership models, and many utilities are lagging in relevant solutions for their customers. Abhay Gupta, Forbes, 13 June 2022 Since then, several teams have emptied their cupboards of draft picks and young players to acquire big-name stars — as the Celtics did — in a leaguewide arms race to compete for mercenary championships. New York Times, 12 June 2022 The order may indicate that the city is preparing to short-circuit its existing lease-to-own deals and acquire the properties outright as part of a settlement plan aimed at resolving three lawsuits. Jeff Mcdonald, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 June 2022 See More

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.

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

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Dictionary Entries Near acquire



acquire a reputation

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Last Updated

18 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Acquire.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for acquire


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


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


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