[ uh-kwiz-i-tiv ]
/ əˈkwɪz ɪ tɪv /


tending or seeking to acquire and own, often greedily; eager to get wealth, possessions, etc.: our acquisitive impulses; acquisitive societies.



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Also ac·quis·i·to·ry [uh-kwiz-i-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee]. /əˈkwɪz ɪˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/.

Origin of acquisitive

1630–40; <Medieval Latin, Late Latin acquīsītīvus;see acquisition, -ive

OTHER WORDS FROM acquisitive Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020


What does acquisitive mean?

Acquisitive most generally means tending or seeking to gain possession of wealth or material things, especially in a greedy way.

It’s perhaps most commonly used in a more specific way to describe companies that are known for acquiring (buying) other companies and properties—which are often referred to as acquisitions. (However, it’s used much less commonly than acquisition.) This sense of the word doesn’t necessarily imply greediness like the more general sense does, but it can imply that such companies tend to buy up competitors.

Example: The tech conglomerates are notoriously acquisitive, buying out any startup that has some technology they want.

Where does acquisitive come from?

The first records of the word acquisitive come from around 1600. It ultimately comes from the Latin verb acquīrere, which is the root of acquire and means “to add to one’s possessions.”

Due to the common use of acquisition to refer to a company bought by another company, acquisitive is most commonly used in this context. Acquisition can also be used in many general ways to refer to things acquired or the process or acquiring things, including intangible things like knowledge and skills. But acquisitive, when used in a general way, almost always refers to the tendency to try to acquire material goods or money. Criticism of consumerism often involves the discussion of the acquisitive nature of consumers who keep buying stuff.

Acquisitive should not be confused with the term inquisitive, which is used to describe a person who’s curious or asks a lot of questions.

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What are some other forms related to acquisitive?

  • acquisitively (adverb)
  • acquisitiveness (noun)
  • nonacquisitive (adjective)
  • nonacquisitively (adverb)
  • acquisition (noun)
  • acquire (verb)

What are some words that share a root or word element with acquisitive


What are some words that often get used in discussing acquisitive?

What are some words acquisitive may be commonly confused with?

How is acquisitive used in real life?

Acquisitive is often used in a somewhat formal way. It is most commonly used in the context of mergers and acquisitions.



Try using acquisitive!

Is acquisitive used correctly in the following sentence? 

Children tend to be acquisitive and need to be taught how to share.

Example sentences from the Web for acquisitive

British Dictionary definitions for acquisitive

/ (əˈkwɪzɪtɪv) /


inclined or eager to acquire things, esp material possessionswe currently live in an acquisitive society

Derived forms of acquisitive

acquisitively, adverbacquisitiveness, noun
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