To acquire means to get or come to own something. You acquire an education by your own effort. You acquire a painting by paying for it or by someone giving it to you. You acquire a sense of calm in crisis through experience.

The list of things you can acquire includes: an object, a trait, a skill, or an ability. An acquired taste is something that people usually don't like when they first experience it, but later they come to enjoy it, such as raw clams or marmite. The verb acquire was borrowed from Latin acquīrere "to add to," from the prefix ad- "at, toward" plus quaerere "to seek, get."

Definitions of acquire
  1. verb
    come into the possession of something concrete or abstract
    “They acquired a new pet”
    synonyms: get
    find, get, incur, obtain, receive
    receive a specified treatment (abstract)
    see moresee less
    show 99 types...
    hide 99 types...
    obtain in pure form
    get back, win back
    recover something or somebody that appeared to be lost
    express, extract, press out
    obtain from a substance, as by mechanical action
    capture, catch
    capture as if by hunting, snaring, or trapping
    come by, come into
    obtain, especially accidentally
    buy, purchase
    obtain by purchase; acquire by means of a financial transaction
    charter, engage, hire, lease, rent, take
    engage for service under a term of contract
    have, receive
    get something; come into possession of
    get by buying and selling
    acquire by trade or sacrifice or exchange
    obtain through effort or management
    seize upon or latch onto something
    come upon, enter upon, luck into
    take possession of
    come up, find, get hold, line up
    get something or somebody for a specific purpose
    accept, have, take
    receive willingly something given or offered
    come into possession of
    find, recover, regain, retrieve
    get or find back; recover the use of
    get or regain something necessary, usually quickly or briefly
    recoup, recover, recuperate
    regain or make up for
    reclaim, repossess
    claim back
    find, regain
    come upon after searching; find the location of something that was missed or lost
    gain, win
    win something through one's efforts
    bring in, clear, earn, gain, make, pull in, realise, realize, take in
    earn on some commercial or business transaction; earn as salary or wages
    earn, garner
    acquire or deserve by one's efforts or actions
    benefit, gain, profit
    derive a benefit from
    partake, partake in, share
    have, give, or receive a share of
    acquire for oneself before others can do so
    gain possession of by prior right or opportunity, especially so as to obtain the right to buy (land)
    call for, collect, gather up, pick up
    gather or collect
    obtain from someone after their death
    get temporarily
    pick up
    get in addition, as an increase
    acquire as a result of some effort or action
    get the votes of
    isolate beforehand
    secure the passage or adoption (of bills and motions)
    hunt, hunt down, run, track down
    pursue for food or sport (as of wild animals)
    dig up, excavate, turn up
    find by digging in the ground
    squeeze the juice out (of a fruit) with a reamer
    hunt frogs for food
    capture or kill, as in hunting
    catch birds by temporarily blinding them
    catch rats, especially with dogs
    ensnare, entrap, snare, trammel, trap
    catch in or as if in a trap
    take in, take up
    extort, wring from
    get or cause to become in a difficult or laborious manner
    get credit or money by using a bad check
    hit, stumble
    encounter by chance
    buy back, repurchase
    buy what had previously been sold, lost, or given away
    buy, select
    subscribe, subscribe to, take
    receive or obtain regularly
    get by trying hard
    receive (a report) officially, as from a committee
    deal stolen goods
    accept, admit, take, take on
    admit into a group or community
    accept gladly
    honor, honour
    accept as pay
    get (a product) from another country or business
    procure, secure
    get by special effort
    get despite difficulties or obstacles
    take out
    obtain by legal or official process
    get in, get into
    secure a place in a college, university, etc.
    eke out, squeeze out
    obtain with difficulty
    eke out, squeeze out
    make by laborious and precarious means
    obtain or retrieve from a storage device; as of information on a computer
    receive an academic degree upon completion of one's studies
    bum, cadge, grub, mooch, sponge
    ask for and get free; be a parasite
    buy out, buy up, take over
    take over ownership of; of corporations and companies
    legally take something in place of a debt payment
    subject to foreclosing procedures; take away the right of mortgagors to redeem their mortgage
    profit, turn a profit
    make a profit; gain money or materially
    cash in on
    take advantage of or capitalize on
    make an unreasonable profit, as on the sale of difficult to obtain goods
    capitalise, capitalize, take advantage
    draw advantages from
    rake off
    take money from an illegal transaction
    find by testing or cautious exploration
    locate, turn up
    discover the location of; determine the place of; find by searching or examining
    attain, chance on, chance upon, come across, come upon, discover, fall upon, happen upon, light upon, strike
    find unexpectedly
    pick up
    buy casually or spontaneously
    cheat or trick
    bring home, take home
    earn as a salary or wage
    rake in, shovel in
    earn large sums of money
    win an athletic letter
    enlarge one's holdings on an exchange on a continued rise by using paper profits as margin to buy additional amounts
    clear, net, sack, sack up
    make as a net profit
    earn before taxes, expenses, etc.
    bear, pay, yield
    bring in
    derive, gain
    rout out, rout up
    get or find by searching
    cut in
    allow someone to have a share or profit
    receive by genetic transmission
    do one's shopping
    buy food, take out
    purchase prepared food to be eaten at home
    adopt, borrow, take over, take up
    take up and practice as one's own
    get by acting quickly and smartly
    buy on impulse without proper reflection
    obtain illegally or unscrupulously
    catch up with, make up
    make up work that was missed due to absence at a later point
  2. verb
    gain knowledge or skills
    “Children acquire language at an amazing rate”
    synonyms: larn, learn
    see moresee less
    show 7 types...
    hide 7 types...
    learn something again, as after having forgotten or neglected it
    catch up
    learn belatedly; find out about something after it happened
    absorb, assimilate, ingest, take in
    take up mentally
    hit the books, study
    learn by reading books
    receive into the mind and retain
    con, learn, memorise, memorize
    commit to memory; learn by heart
    bone, bone up, cram, drum, get up, grind away, mug up, swot, swot up
    study intensively, as before an exam
  3. verb
    gain through experience
    “I acquired a strong aversion to television”
    synonyms: develop, evolve
    develop, get, grow, produce
    come to have or undergo a change of (physical features and attributes)
    elaborate by the unfolding of a musical idea and by the working out of the rhythmic and harmonic changes in the theme
    develop, explicate, formulate
    elaborate, as of theories and hypotheses
    generate gradually
    see moresee less
    type of:
    undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature
  4. verb
    win something through one's efforts
    “I acquired a passing knowledge of Chinese”
    synonyms: gain, win
    see moresee less
    fail to get or obtain
    cheat or trick
    type of:
    come into the possession of something concrete or abstract
  5. verb
    take on a certain form, attribute, or aspect
    synonyms: adopt, assume, take, take on
    see moresee less
    take on again, as after a time lapse
    type of:
    undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature
  6. verb
    come to have or undergo a change of (physical features and attributes)
    synonyms: develop, get, grow, produce
    develop, evolve
    gain through experience
    see moresee less
    show 11 types...
    hide 11 types...
    feather, fledge
    grow feathers
    grow anew or continue growth after an injury or interruption
    develop suddenly
    sprout, stock
    put forth and grow sprouts or shoots
    stool, tiller
    grow shoots in the form of stools or tillers
    produce leaves, of plants
    produce pods, of plants
    grow teeth; cut the baby teeth
    develop into a pupa
    get up, work up
    have grow through the gums
    type of:
    undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature
  7. verb
    locate (a moving entity) by means of a tracking system such as radar
    see moresee less
    type of:
    locate, situate
    determine or indicate the place, site, or limits of, as if by an instrument or by a survey
Word Family

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week


  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week