obtained; obtaining; obtains

Obtain means to get something that is not so easy to come by such as knowledge, rights, or a large amount of money. You wouldn't say you obtained a pair of pants, unless they were one of a kind.

At times in its history, obtain has meant to be victorious or to succeed. Today, it mostly means to acquire, but keeping its prior meanings in mind helps you to use it in the right way. College degrees are something that you obtain as is permission from your parents to go to a party. When you obtain something, you have worked hard to get it, so you are pretty happy to have it.

Definitions of obtain
  1. verb
    come into possession of
    “How did you obtain the visa?”
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    secure the passage or adoption (of bills and motions)
    dig up, excavate, turn up
    find by digging in the ground
    extort, wring from
    get or cause to become in a difficult or laborious manner
    get credit or money by using a bad check
    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
    bum, cadge, grub, mooch, sponge
    ask for and get free; be a parasite
    derive, gain
    do one's shopping
    get by acting quickly and smartly
    obtain illegally or unscrupulously
    procure (false testimony or perjury)
    grub out, grub up
    dig up
    dig out with the snout
    prise, pry
    make an uninvited or presumptuous inquiry
    secure a copyright on a written work
    obtain a patent for
    engage, enlist
    hire for work or assistance
    live off somebody's generosity
    draw, reap
    get or derive
    buy household supplies
    obtain goods or services from an outside supplier; to contract work out
    disinter, exhume
    dig up for reburial or for medical investigation; of dead bodies
    type of:
    acquire, get
    come into the possession of something concrete or abstract
  2. verb
    receive a specified treatment (abstract)
    synonyms: find, get, incur, receive
    acquire, get
    come into the possession of something concrete or abstract
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    ascertain or determine by measuring, computing or take a reading from a dial
    type of:
    undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature
  3. verb
    be valid, applicable, or true
    synonyms: hold, prevail
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    type of:
    be, exist
    have an existence, be extant
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘obtain'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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