- to come into possession of; get, acquire, or procure, as through an effort or by a request: to obtain permission; to obtain a better income.
- Obsolete. to attain or reach.
- to be prevalent, customary, or in vogue; prevail: the morals that obtained in Rome.
- Archaic. to succeed.
Origin of obtain
1375–1425; late Middle English obteinen < Middle French obtenir < Latin obtinēre to take hold of, equivalent to ob- ob- + -tinēre (combining form of tenēre to hold)
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. gain, achieve, earn, win, attain. See get.
1. lose, forgo.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for unobtainable
But that just made Summer more enticing, an unobtainable Beau Ideal.Our Doomed Love Affair with Summer
P. J. O’Rourke
August 30, 2014
With airbrushing and digital manipulation, fashion can be an unobtainable image that's dangerously unhealthy.Cara Delevingne and Michelle Rodriguez's PDA-Filled Holiday; Emma Watson Talks Pressures of Fashion Industry
The Fashion Beast Team
March 31, 2014
Yes, Smithson; but such a treasure seems to be unobtainable.The Queen's Scarlet
George Manville Fenn
All the previous reprints have been and now are unobtainable to most persons.Roister Doister
Since unanimity was unobtainable, however, his name was withdrawn later in the day.The Agrarian Crusade
Solon J. Buck
The particulars of his shipwreck are unobtainable, as is often the case with other explorers.The Campers Out
Edward S. Ellis
New suits of clothes were unobtainable at any price, for there was no cloth.Eastern Nights - and Flights
- not able to be obtained
- (tr) to gain possession of; acquire; get
- (intr) to be customary, valid, or accepteda new law obtains in this case
- (tr) archaic to arrive at
- (intr) archaic to win a victory; succeed
C15: via Old French from Latin obtinēre to take hold of, from ob- (intensive) + tenēre to hold
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for unobtainable
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper