verb (used with object), ac·quired, ac·quir·ing.

  1. to come into possession or ownership of; get as one’s own: to acquire property.
  2. to gain for oneself through one’s actions or efforts: to acquire learning.
  3. Linguistics. to achieve native or nativelike command of (a language or a linguistic rule or element).
  4. Military. to locate and track (a moving target) with a detector, as radar.


  1. (tr) to get or gain (something, such as an object, trait, or ability), esp more or less permanently

mid-15c., acqueren, from Old French aquerre “acquire, gain, earn, procure,” from Vulgar Latin *acquaerere, from Latin acquirere “to seek in addition to” (see acquisition). Reborrowed in current form from Latin c.1600. Related: Acquired; acquiring.

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