Definition of acquire in English:



[with object]
  • 1Buy or obtain (an asset or object) for oneself.

    ‘I managed to acquire all the books I needed’
    • ‘Instead, tax will become payable automatically 30 days after the date that the purchaser acquires the property or land.’
    • ‘If the criminals could not prove the assets were acquired legally they would be forfeited.’
    • ‘The college outgrew its quarters downtown and the Brothers acquired property in the Bronx.’
    • ‘They are paid in order to acquire assets whose use is a source of profits over and above the payments which must be made.’
    • ‘On the other side sit large investors who acquire supplier assets at an attractive price.’
    • ‘For him, the opportunity for blacks to earn a living and acquire property was more important than the right to vote.’
    • ‘The government spends the money, and the person who put up the capital acquires a financial asset.’
    • ‘On occasion, I also deal directly with the licensor to acquire art assets for use in the guide.’
    • ‘The Agency claims the assets were acquired as a result of unlawful conduct related to drug trafficking.’
    • ‘Investor consortia usually acquire properties that have already been constructed and let.’
    • ‘In some cases, you are acquiring an asset that you haven't inspected, except from the curb.’
    • ‘The company has neither improved its financial indicators, nor acquired new assets.’
    • ‘Indian companies have been acquiring assets of foreign telecom companies that had been in distress.’
    • ‘They acquired assets to grow their market share and effectively overpaid for those acquisitions.’
    • ‘A third category is made up of foreigners who acquire properties purely as investments.’
    • ‘Well, whether or not he has assets or may acquire assets in the future is a question.’
    • ‘John went on to acquire properties and land in and around the village for future preservation.’
    • ‘I have also been lucky enough to be able to acquire some investment property.’
    • ‘By the end of his life he had acquired substantial property in Lynn.’
    • ‘Young men going out to work were having to stay longer if they were to acquire rural assets.’
    obtain, come by, come to have, get, receive, gain, earn, win, come into, come in for, take possession of, take receipt of, be given
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  • 2Learn or develop (a skill, habit, or quality)

    ‘I've acquired a taste for whisky’
    • ‘Mr Brunet says the future's looking bright too, with youngsters acquiring important skills early on, equipping them well for the future.’
    • ‘When children go to camp, they learn to be more independent and acquire social skills.’
    • ‘The answer is to acquire skills and a deeper understanding of global communications.’
    • ‘It becomes interesting and exciting only when we acquire some new skills physical or intellectual.’
    • ‘Most teachers recognise that pupils vary in the speed and manner in which they grasp new ideas and acquire skills.’
    • ‘For junior officers to become good officers, they must acquire the necessary virtues.’
    • ‘He thought he was acquiring the skills for dishonest practice on the streets of his native Australia.’
    • ‘They want to learn more, know more and acquire skills like any other individual in society.’
    • ‘If a person acquires the skills to handle only one job, he or she is less likely to be a survivor in the years to come,’ she argues.’
    • ‘Too few people are acquiring educational skills needed by employers.’
    • ‘Certainly, if I were an airline employee, I'd be looking into acquiring some new skills.’
    • ‘They will have acquired the skills for conducting research, and often some research experience.’
    • ‘They acquired computer skills at a local training institute and received a certificate as well.’
    • ‘I'm not proposing that hopeful writers rush out to acquire a habit, you understand.’
    • ‘Specifically military skills were acquired by actual practice and performance under supervision.’
    • ‘It takes chimps up to four years to acquire the necessary skills to select and adequately use the tools to crack a nut.’
    • ‘The overall objective of the primer is so that a person with a visual handicap can acquire a skill to read on his own and even sign his name.’
    • ‘Just because a person eats cheese, they don't acquire the habits of a mouse for example.’
    • ‘It provides an opportunity for people to acquire skills and confidence in devising their own responses to distress.’
    • ‘You need to understand and acquire leadership skills, regardless of whom you are leading.’
    learn, learn thoroughly, become proficient in, know inside out, know backwards, become expert in, pick up, grasp, understand
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    1. 2.1 Come to have (a particular reputation) as a result of one's behaviour or activities.
      ‘he acquired a reputation for scrupulous honesty’
      • ‘That's an unfair characterisation though it's easy to see how Copland acquired such a reputation.’
      • ‘They are rapidly acquiring a reputation for producing accessible and uniquely powerful theatre.’
      • ‘For the artistic bad boys of the 20th century, acquiring a reputation as a pornographer was a rebellion too far.’
      • ‘More recently, and largely as a result of English tutelage, it had acquired some reputation as a maritime power.’
      • ‘The response was overwhelming and the club acquired a reputation for a lively, hedonistic atmosphere.’
      • ‘The Illegal Eagles have progressed from playing the small local club circuit to acquiring a reputation for themselves at major concert venues.’
      • ‘In Medieval Europe, wolves acquired a pungent reputation for trickery and ferocity.’
      • ‘Since the band's cultural rehabilitation, however, hasn't it acquired a certain cachet?’
      • ‘He claimed the city was in danger of acquiring a reputation for public order problems.’
      • ‘Kenneth had acquired a good reputation in the area, and was asked to take on the role, to which he agreed.’
      • ‘So it's no surprise the team leads the majors in hit batsmen and is acquiring a reputation.’
      • ‘By the 1960s he had acquired another reputation, that of guerrilla leader.’
      • ‘The country is acquiring a reputation, partly deserved, for being obsessed with its own decline but unable to do much about it.’
      • ‘The centre soon acquired a reputation for the way in which it cared for children with learning disabilities.’
      • ‘Once a region acquires a bad reputation it takes a generation to change it.’
      • ‘Along the way she has acquired a reputation for becoming intensely, even dangerously, involved in her parts.’
      • ‘They were paid little by the state and acquired a reputation for charging extortionate fees and for drunkenness.’
      • ‘The dish acquired a reputation for difficulty and proneness to accidents which it does not really deserve.’
      • ‘They did their work well and acquired the fearsome reputation of brutality and violence.’
      • ‘Getting its name on the front of a record was the way symphony orchestras acquired reputation over the past century.’


  • an acquired taste

    • A thing that one comes to like over time.

      ‘pumpkin pie is an acquired taste’
      • ‘Somewhat of an acquired taste, his screaming vocals transmit a message of fury, desperation and anger, though perhaps the actual content is hard to pick up.’
      • ‘Their comedy is very much an acquired taste - think Goons, think Python, think sillier - but the fact they are allowed access to Tellyland at all should be welcomed by everyone.’
      • ‘‘Raw fish - it's an acquired taste,’ said Stokes, a former SAS soldier and survival expert.’
      • ‘While I have never tried authentic bird's nest soup, apparently it is an acquired taste - many westerners think it tastes quite rubbery the first time they try it.’
      • ‘The food is quite good - Mexican, barbecue, chili, shrimp and chicken-fried steak, an acquired taste.’
      • ‘Like the other books reviewed here, it's an acquired taste.’
      • ‘Green tea is made to be appreciated ‘au nature’ (adding milk is a criminal offence) and it has a subtle flavour, at first slightly elusive - definitely an acquired taste.’
      • ‘Although his singing is definitely an acquired taste, the songs are deep in the American vein and generally good.’
      • ‘The flavor combination is something of an acquired taste, which I, unfortunately, had yet to acquire.’
      • ‘Either you like it or you don't, and the condiments - pickled ginger and spicy horseradish - are also an acquired taste.’
      • ‘Thomas Mann, the great German novelist, is an acquired taste.’
      • ‘The book is an acquired taste, but on stage it revealed itself as an entertaining character comedy thanks to a set of brilliant performances led by Ward as a catty matriarch driven by self-interest.’
      • ‘She said: ‘Aged champagne is an acquired taste and often loses its fizz, and this had lost most of its fizz.’’
      • ‘His music is an acquired taste and I don't think I am going to acquire it any time soon.’
      • ‘Goats' milk is an acquired taste and we never did quite take to it.’
      • ‘Their ‘weird concoction of styles,’ as their vocalist/guitarist would say, is indeed an acquired taste, but it certainly never stopped the fans from coming.’
      • ‘Strauss's music may be an acquired taste, according to some, but I don't remember a time when I knew it and didn't like it.’
      • ‘Like gin, oysters and goats' cheese, Jimi Hendrix is an acquired taste for the more mature, developed palate - and well worth the effort.’
      • ‘Now my friend protests that the lyrics are deep and that the sound is an acquired taste, but with so much else out there to listen to, why bother?’
      • ‘Granted, this kind of musical satire is an acquired taste, but his adaptation is little more than an excuse for clever rhymes and in-jokes.’


Late Middle English acquere, from Old French aquerre, based on Latin acquirere ‘get in addition’, from ad- ‘to’ + quaerere ‘seek’. The English spelling was modified ( c 1600) by association with the Latin word.