Definition of acquire in English:



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

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

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


  • an acquired taste

    • A thing that one comes to like over time.

      ‘pumpkin pie is an acquired taste’
      • ‘His music is an acquired taste and I don't think I am going to acquire it any time soon.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Either you like it or you don't, and the condiments - pickled ginger and spicy horseradish - are also 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The food is quite good - Mexican, barbecue, chili, shrimp and chicken-fried steak, an acquired taste.’
      • ‘She said: ‘Aged champagne is an acquired taste and often loses its fizz, and this had lost most of its fizz.’’
      • ‘The flavor combination is something of an acquired taste, which I, unfortunately, had yet to acquire.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘Raw fish - it's an acquired taste,’ said Stokes, a former SAS soldier and survival expert.’
      • ‘Like the other books reviewed here, it's an acquired taste.’
      • ‘Like gin, oysters and goats' cheese, Jimi Hendrix is an acquired taste for the more mature, developed palate - and well worth the effort.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Thomas Mann, the great German novelist, is an acquired taste.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Although his singing is definitely an acquired taste, the songs are deep in the American vein and generally good.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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?’


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.