Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

acquire - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [transitive] acquire pronunciation in British English /əˈkwaɪə(r)/
Word Forms
present tense
present participleacquiring
past tenseacquired
past participleacquired
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    formal to get something, for example by buying it or being given it

    We acquired the shares for £1.75 each.

    newly acquired:

    his newly acquired BMW

    acquire something from someone:

    The business was acquired from Orion four years ago.

  2. 2
    to get new knowledge or a new skill by learning it

    How can such a large quantity of knowledge be acquired?

    the way children acquire language

  3. 5
    to gradually develop or learn something
    acquire a taste for something (=start to like it):

    I’ve never really acquired a taste for wine.

    acquired taste (=something you do not like at first, but gradually start to enjoy):

    Decaffeinated coffee is an acquired taste.

    acquire the habit (of doing something) (=start to do something regularly, without thinking about why):

    We want people to acquire the habit of using public transport instead of their cars.

Open Dictionary


the activity of exploring abandoned buildings and other manmade structures

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play