Did you know?

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


 - definitions and thesaurus

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 obtain pronunciation in British English /əbˈteɪn/
Word Forms
present tense
present participleobtaining
past tenseobtained
past participleobtained
  1. 1
    [transitive] to get something that you want or need, especially by going through a process that is difficult
    She has to obtain her parents’ permission before she does anything.
    Long delays in obtaining passports and visas often occur.
    obtain something by (doing) something: He was charged with obtaining property by deception.
    obtain something from someone/something: Details can be obtained from the Department for Education.
    Synonyms and related words
  2. 2
    [intransitive] formal if something such as a rule or condition obtains, it exists, is used, or is accepted
    This situation generally obtains in early language learning.
    Synonyms and related words


used to describe foods which don't contain ingredients such as wheat, dairy products etc …

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

red market

the buying and selling of human organs

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