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The word acquire and its family (acquired, acquires, acquiring, acquisition, acquisitions) are included in the Academic Word List by Dr. Averil Coxhead, which contains the 570 most frequent word families used in academic texts from a variety of subject areas, of interest for students that learn the words most needed to study at tertiary institutions.

Video footage: Lab rats figure out how to acquire food in their cage in 1939. (1930s)
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Definition of the verb acquire

What does acquire mean as a doing word?

Acquire is one of the top 1000 most common verbs in the English language.

verb - inflections: acquired | acquiring | acquires

  1. come into the possession of something concrete or abstract
    • examples: They acquired a new pet | The children acquire the ball
    • syntax:
      Syntactic formulaExample for the syntactic formula
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme]Carmen bought a dress | Carmen obtained the spare part
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme] for [Asset]Carmen purchased a dress for $50
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme] from [Source]Carmen bought a dress from Diana | Carmen obtained the spare part from Diana
      [Asset - currency] [Verb] [Theme]$50 won't even buy a dress | $50 won't even purchase a dress

      Verbs of Change of Possession (with the same syntax): obtain, purchase.

    • lexical domain: Possession - verbs of buying, selling, owning
    • synonym of acquire: get
    • more specific terms:
  2. take on a certain form, attribute, or aspect
    • lexical domain: Change - verbs of size, temperature change, intensifying, etc.
    • synonyms of acquire: adopt / assume / take / take on
    • more generic word: change = undergo a change; become different in essence
    • more specific word: re-assume = take on again, as after a time lapse
  3. come to have or undergo a change of (physical features and attributes)
    • lexical domain: Body Actions - verbs of grooming, dressing and bodily care
    • synonyms of acquire: develop / get / grow / produce
    • more generic word: change = undergo a change; become different in essence
    • more specific terms:
  4. locate (a moving entity) by means of a tracking system such as radar
    • lexical domain: Stative - verbs of being, having, spatial relations
    • more generic words: locate / situate = determine or indicate the place, site, or limits of, as if by an instrument or by a survey
  5. win something through one's efforts
    • example: I acquired a passing knowledge of Chinese
    • lexical domain: Possession - verbs of buying, selling, owning
    • synonyms of acquire: gain / win
    • more generic word: get = come into the possession of something concrete or abstract
    • more specific word: cozen = cheat or trick
  6. gain knowledge or skills
  7. gain through experience
    • example: I acquired a strong aversion to television
    • lexical domain: Change - verbs of size, temperature change, intensifying, etc.
    • synonyms of acquire: develop / evolve
    • more generic word: change = undergo a change; become different in essence

Alternative definition of the verb acquire


  1. To get.
  2. To gain, usually by one's own exertions; to get as one's own, as, to acquire a title, riches, knowledge, skill, good or bad habits.


Acquire Corp. is a video game developer based in Japan, mainly known for their Tenchu and Way of the Samurai series.


Acquire is a board game designed by Sid Sackson. The game was originally published in 1962 by 3M as a part of their bookshelf games series. In most versions, the theme of the game is investing in hotel chains. In the 1990s Hasbro edition, the hotel chains were replaced by generic corporations, though the actual gameplay was unchanged.

  • genres: German-style, Economic simulation
  • publisher: Avalon Hill

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for Acquire

Click on a title to look inside that book (if available):

Google previewThe Business Philosopher (1919)

The Magazine of Practical Business Building

The Desire to Acquire is the great mainspring of Human Activity. Were it to cease to flow the clock of civilization and Human Progress would soon run down. , The Desire to Acquire is a law of Human Nature. It is a Universal Rule of Being and ...

Google previewFormal Techniques for Distributed Objects, Components, and Systems (2015)

35th IFIP WG 6.1 International Conference, FORTE 2015, Held as Part of the 10th International Federated Conference on Distributed Computing Techniques, DisCoTec 2015, Grenoble, France, June 2-4, 2015, Proceedings by Susanne Graf, Mahesh Viswanathan

The intuition behind release/acquire is that prior writes made to other memory locations by the thread executing the release become visible in the thread that performs the corresponding acquire. Crucially, the particular form of release/ acquire ...

Google previewModern Cosmology (2003)

by Scott Dodelson

Clearly, then, one skill we must acquire is the ability to make predictions about the angular correlation function In Section 9.1 We will see that the angular correlation function is an integral over the 3D power spectrum. . Redshift surveys suffer ...

Google previewThe International Law of Property (2014)

by John G. Sprankling

The right to acquire means that a natural or legal person is entitled to obtain property without unjustifiable interference by the state or by third parties. The distinction between an opportunity and a guarantee is inherent in this definition.

Google previewThe Vampire Survival Guide (2008)

How to Fight, and Win, Against the Undead by Scott Bowen

Among the numerous survival skills the undead acquire is a magician's ability to cut glass with honed fingernails or self-made tools. They can remove panes of class so quickly and neatly that the pane appears to have simply fallen loose.

Google previewDBA Survivor (2010)

Become a Rock Star DBA by Thomas LaRock

In addition to having your own set of tools at your disposal, another good skill to acquire is the ability to remain unemotional. If you allow emotions to be a factor in your work then you will likely have clouded judgment. You need to focus on the ...

Google previewDictionary of Philosophy (2002)

by Alan Lacey

an idea we can acquire without our being presented with an instance in experience, and without having to construct it from ideas so presented (as perhaps we construct unicorn from ...

Google previewEncyclopedia of Law and Society (2007)

American and Global Perspectives by David S. Clark

To acquire capital with the earnings of capital, well-capitalized people use (1) the pretax earnings of capital, (2) collateral, (3) credit, (4) insurance and capital- market mechanisms to diversify and reduce risk, and (5) a monetary policy intended ...

Google previewEncyclopaedia of the Ĺšaivism (2004)

Hence God provides the soul with the body and the world made out of Mayai in order that the soul may step by step acquire knowledge and eliminate anavam. God does this act purely out ...

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for Acquire

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Usage statistics about acquire

The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English from the later part of the 20th century, both spoken and written.

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the verb acquire:


Photos about Acquire

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If you need related images for an article or a report, you can download stock photos:
Small photo of Inspirational Wood Crossword. Human values to acquire so we can all live in harmonySmall photo of Acquire - Isolated female hand touching or pointing to button. Business and future technology concept. Stock PhotoSmall photo of acquire word on index cardSmall photo of Multicolored highlighter casing isolated on white background with word acquireSmall photo of TOP-60. Jean-Jacques Rousseau (French philosopher, writer, thinker of the Enlightenment) quote. Free people, remember this maxim: we may acquire liberty, but it is never recovered if it is once lost.Small photo of TOP-60. Jean-Jacques Rousseau (French philosopher, writer, thinker) quote. Money is the seed of money, and the first guinea is sometimes more difficult to acquire than the second million.Small photo of the word of ACQUIRE on building blocks concept More...

Video language resources about Acquire

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See also the pronunciation examples of Acquire!

Quotes about Acquire

Self-esteem is the reputation we acquire with ourselves. (Nathaniel Branden)
more quotes about acquire...

Scrabble value of A1C3Q10U1I1R1E1

The value of this 7-letter word is 18 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

Anagrams of ACQUIRE

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