Definitions for obtainəbˈteɪn

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word obtain

Random House Webster's College Dictionary


  1. to come into possession of; get, acquire, or procure, as through effort or request.

  2. Obs. to attain or reach.

  3. (v.i.)to be prevalent, customary, or in vogue:

    the morals that obtained in Rome.

  4. Archaic. to succeed.

Origin of obtain:

1375–1425; < MF obtenir蠐 L obtinēre to take hold of =ob-ob-+-tinēre, comb. form of tenere to hold


Princeton's WordNet

  1. obtain(verb)

    come into possession of

    "How did you obtain the visa?"

  2. receive, get, find, obtain, incur(verb)

    receive a specified treatment (abstract)

    "These aspects of civilization do not find expression or receive an interpretation"; "His movie received a good review"; "I got nothing but trouble for my good intentions"

  3. prevail, hold, obtain(verb)

    be valid, applicable, or true

    "This theory still holds"

Kernerman English Learner's Dictionary

  1. obtain(verb)əbtˈeɪn

    to get sth, usually through effort

    You must pass the test in order to obtain a license.; She obtained legal advice from a friend studying law.


  1. obtain(Verb)

    To get hold of; to gain possession of, to procure; to acquire, in any way.

  2. obtain(Verb)

    To secure (that) a specific objective or state of affairs be reached.

  3. obtain(Verb)

    To prevail, be victorious; to succeed.

  4. obtain(Verb)

    To hold; to keep, possess or occupy.

  5. obtain(Verb)

    To exist or be the case; to hold true, be in force.

  6. Origin: From obtenir, optiner et al., and obtenir, from obtinere, from ob- + tenere.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Obtain(verb)

    to hold; to keep; to possess

  2. Obtain(verb)

    to get hold of by effort; to gain possession of; to procure; to acquire, in any way

  3. Obtain(verb)

    to become held; to gain or have a firm footing; to be recognized or established; to subsist; to become prevalent or general; to prevail; as, the custom obtains of going to the seashore in summer

  4. Obtain(verb)

    to prevail; to succeed

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'obtain' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #2198

  2. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'obtain' in Verbs Frequency: #175

Translations for obtain

Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary


to get; to become the possessor of

He obtained a large sum of money by buying and selling houses.

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