obtain

verb formal
1 (T) to get something that you want, especially through your own effort, skill, or work: Further information can be obtained from head office. | They've extended the growing season to obtain a larger crop. | the difficulty of obtaining credit
2 (intransitive not in progressive) if a situation, system, or rule obtains, it continues to exist: These conditions no longer obtain.
USAGE NOTE: OBTAIN WORD CHOICE: obtain, get, get hold of, find out, achieve, receive Obtain is formal and often sounds unnatural in spoken English or in a personal letter: Where can I obtain a list of restaurants? | Fresh fruit and vegetables were especially difficult to obtain. Get is the most common word in spoken English and informal writing meaning to come to have something. However, some people feel that get should not be used too often in writing: Where did you get that painting? | He gets about $200 a week at the textile mill. You can also get hold of things, or information, especially after some difficulty (informal): I need to get hold of a powerful computer. | At last I managed to get hold of her address. You find out information: I need to find out where my classes are. If you get yourself into a better situation through you own efforts, you achieve something: We are working to achieve better results/equality/independence. | Regular exercise helps people achieve better health. If what you get comes naturally or is given to you, you can use the word receive (slightly formal): The charity receives most of its money through private donations.

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Obtain — Ob*tain , v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Obtained}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Obtaining}.] [F. obtenir, L. obtinere; ob (see {Ob }) + tenere to hold. See {Tenable}.] [1913 Webster] 1. To hold; to keep; to possess. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] His mother, then, is mortal,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • obtain — I verb accumulate, achieve, acquire, adipisci, appropriate, arrive at, attain, be in receipt of, capture, collect, come into possession, consequi. earn, enter into possession, gain, gain possession, gather, get, get hold of, get possession of,… …   Law dictionary

  • Obtain — Ob*tain , v. i. 1. To gain or have a firm footing; to be recognized or established; to become prevalent or general; to prevail; as, the custom obtains of going to the seashore in summer. [1913 Webster] Sobriety hath by use obtained to signify… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • obtain — [əb tān′] vt. [ME obteinen < OFr obtenir < L obtinere, to obtain, prevail, maintain < ob (see OB ) + tenere, to hold: see TENANT] 1. to get possession of, esp. by some effort; procure 2. Archaic to arrive at; reach or achieve vi. 1. to… …   English World dictionary

  • obtain — (v.) early 15c., from M.Fr. obtenir (14c.), from L. obtinere hold, take hold of, acquire, from ob to (though perhaps intensive in this case; see OB (Cf. ob )) + tenere to hold (see TENET (Cf. tenet)). Related: Obtained; obtaining …   Etymology dictionary

  • obtain — *get, procure, secure, acquire, gain, win Analogous words: gain, *reach, achieve, attain: effect, fulfill, accomplish, *perform …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • obtain — is a formal and often pretentious word, and no one should be afraid of using the perfectly respectable word get in most contexts …   Modern English usage

  • obtain — [v] get, acquire access, accomplish, achieve, annex, attain, beg borrow or steal*, capture, chalk up*, collect, come by, compass, cop*, corral, drum up*, earn, effect, fetch, gain, gather, get at, get hold of*, get one’s hands on*, glean, gobble… …   New thesaurus

  • obtain — ► VERB 1) come into possession of; get. 2) formal be prevalent, customary, or established. DERIVATIVES obtainable adjective. ORIGIN Latin obtinere …   English terms dictionary

  • obtain — 01. Where can I [obtain] information about registering for regular courses? 02. Some medicinal herbs that were previously [obtainable] at health stores are now available only with a doctor s prescription. 03. I bought this CD at a store a few… …   Grammatical examples in English

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