- 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 for obtain 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 obtaining
Thus, more time is spent organization and obtaining ones free of failings.Design Your Own Dinosaur: The Era of Custom DNA
January 8, 2015
They prevailed last August, obtaining—follow me here—an injunction prohibiting the enforcement of those provisions.The Back Alley, Low Blow-Ridden Fight to Stop Gay Marriage in Florida Is Finally Over
January 5, 2015
Obtaining this understanding and posterity is easy, according to the website.Rand Paul’s Many Leather-Bound Books
November 27, 2014
In turn, Holtsman assisted Spitz in obtaining a vehicle and supplies.On the Trail of Nazi Counterfeiters
Dr. Kevin C. Ruffner
September 20, 2014
They spent their last few hundred dollars on a trip up to New York City, obtaining donor commitments that kept them alive.Inside the Implosion of GOProud, the Right’s Most Notorious Pro-Gay Group
June 6, 2014
He had let the habit of obtaining whatever he started after get the better of him.Dust
Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius
I am foolish, indeed, to be so sad in obtaining the very object I have sought!Alice, or The Mysteries, Complete
His experiences were most interesting in obtaining some of the rarest specimens.How the Piano Came to Be
Ellye Howell Glover
Then, after obtaining her number, she entered the wash-house.L'Assommoir
Obtaining money with a cheque you knew your bank could not meet.The Silver Box (First Series Plays)
- (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 obtaining
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper