What does obtain mean?

Definitions for obtain

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word obtain.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. obtainverb

    come into possession of

    "How did you obtain the visa?"

  2. receive, get, find, obtain, incurverb

    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, obtainverb

    be valid, applicable, or true

    "This theory still holds"


  1. obtainverb

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

  2. obtainverb

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

  3. obtainverb

    To prevail, be victorious; to succeed.

  4. obtainverb

    To hold; to keep, possess or occupy.

  5. obtainverb

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

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

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. To OBTAINverb

    Etymology: obtenir, Fr. obtineo, Latin.

    May be that I may obtain children by her. Gen. xvi. 2.

    We have obtained an inheritance. Eph. i. 11.

    Whatever once is denied them, they are certainly not to obtain by crying. John Locke, Education.

    The juices of the leaves are obtained by expression, which is the nutritious juice rendered somewhat more oleaginous. John Arbuthnot, on Aliments.

    In such our prayers cannot serve us as means to obtain the thing we desire. Richard Hooker, b. v. s. 48.

    By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. Heb. ix. 12.

    If they could not be obtained of the proud and crafty tyrant, then to conclude peace with him upon any conditions. Richard Knolles, History of the Turks.

    Some pray for riches, riches they obtain;
    But watch’d by robbers for their wealth are slain. Dryden.

    The conclusion of the story I forbore, because I could not obtain from myself to shew Absalom unfortunate. Dryden.

  2. To Obtainverb

    The Theodosian Code, several hundred years after Justinian’s time, did obtain in the western parts of Europe. Thomas Baker.

    Our impious use no longer shall obtain,
    Brothers no more, by brothers, shall be slain. Dryden.

    The situation of the sun and earth, which the theorist supposes, is so far from being preferable to this which at present obtains, that this hath infinitely the advantage of it. John Woodward.

    The general laws of fluidity, elasticity, and gravity, obtain in animal and inanimate tubes. George Cheyne, Phil. Prin.

    There is due from the judge to the advocate, some commendation where causes are fair pleaded; especially towards the side which obtaineth not. Francis Bacon.


  1. obtain

    Obtain generally refers to the act of acquiring, gaining or procuring something, usually through effort, work or request. It could encompass anything from information to physical objects.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Obtainverb

    to hold; to keep; to possess

  2. Obtainverb

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

  3. Obtainverb

    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. Obtainverb

    to prevail; to succeed

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Obtain

    ob-tān′, v.t. to lay hold of: to hold: to procure by effort: to gain: to keep possession of.—v.i. to be established: to continue in use: to become customary or prevalent: to hold good: (rare) to succeed.—adj. Obtain′able, that may be obtained, procured, or acquired.—ns. Obtain′er; Obtain′ment; Obten′tion, procurement.—Obtain to (Bacon), to attain to. [Fr.,—L. obtinēreob, upon, tenēre, to hold.]

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. obtain

    To get hold of by effort; to gain possession of.

Suggested Resources

  1. Obtain

    Obtain vs. Attain -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words Obtain and Attain.

Matched Categories

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

Anagrams for obtain »

  1. batino

  2. oatbin

How to pronounce obtain?

How to say obtain in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of obtain in Chaldean Numerology is: 2

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of obtain in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of obtain in a Sentence

  1. James Sargent:

    To me, that's one strategy, but the other issues are kids are obtaining product across the internet, they're obtaining product from adults who buy the product and then resell it, so there's a whole lot of practices through which youths obtain these tobacco products that wouldn't be covered by that.

  2. Gloria Calvo:

    I hope this will end up in an agreement and that Catalans will obtain a better situation out of all this, i hope it all turns out well and that the result of the general election in December will help.

  3. Ranil Wickremesinghe:

    This is our only option. We must take this path. Our aim is to hold discussions with the IMF and arrive at an agreement to obtain an additional credit facility.

  4. Jeff Woodburn:

    College students are eligible to vote if they declare domicile here, but anybody who does that then has to comply with the laws of the state, if someone is domiciled in New Hampshire (and has a vehicle), then within 60 days, they need to obtain a driver’s license. I think we will find that within that 5,000, there will be many who did not comply with the law.

  5. James Scott:

    The two main problems with signature and heuristic based anti-virus is the mutating hash and the fact that you first need a victim in order to obtain the signature. James Scott, Senior Fellow, Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for obtain

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • حصلArabic
  • získatCzech
  • bestehen, erlangenGerman
  • obtenerSpanish
  • به دست آوردنPersian
  • pitää hallussaan, olla, olla olemassa, hankkiaFinnish
  • réussir, se procurer, s'établir, avoir succès, avoir, obtenirFrench
  • प्राप्तHindi
  • hozzájut, kap, megkapHungarian
  • avere, ottenere, riuscire, stabilirsiItalian
  • לְהַשִׂיגHebrew
  • 持っている, 手に入れる, 成し遂げる, 獲得, 持つ, 取得Japanese
  • 얻다, 갖다, 이루다, 굳히다Korean
  • ده‌سکه‌وتن, په‌یداکردنKurdish
  • consequor, succedo, impetro, assequor, teneo, obtineoLatin
  • dabūt, iegūt, būtLatvian
  • verkrijgenDutch
  • dostać, dostawać, nabyć, otrzymać, otrzymywać, uzyskać, nabywać, uzyskiwaćPolish
  • obterPortuguese
  • reuși, avea succes, avea, obține, a se stabiliRomanian
  • доставать, добыть, получить, добывать, получать, достатьRussian
  • erhållaSwedish
  • பெறTamil
  • సమకూర్చుకొనుTelugu
  • ได้รับThai
  • elde etmekTurkish
  • حاصل کریںUrdu

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"obtain." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 5 Mar. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/obtain>.

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    openly distrustful and unwilling to confide
    • A. transparent
    • B. suspicious
    • C. whirring
    • D. abrupt

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