verb ob·tain \əb-ˈtān, äb-\

: to gain or get (something) usually by effort

: to continue to be accepted or in use

Full Definition of OBTAIN

transitive verb
:  to gain or attain usually by planned action or effort
intransitive verb
archaic :  succeed
:  to be generally recognized or established :  prevail
ob·tain·abil·i·ty \-ˌtā-nə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
ob·tain·able \-ˈtā-nə-bəl\ adjective
ob·tain·er noun
ob·tain·ment \-ˈtān-mənt\ noun

Origin of OBTAIN

Middle English obteinen, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French obtenir, from Latin obtinēre to hold on to, possess, obtain, from ob- in the way + tenēre to hold — more at thin
First Known Use: 15th century
OBTAIN Defined for Kids


verb ob·tain \əb-ˈtān\

Definition of OBTAIN for Kids

:  to gain or get hold of with effort <She was able to obtain a ticket to the show.> <We obtained permission to enter.>

Word Root of OBTAIN

The Latin words tenēre, meaning to hold, gives us the roots ten and tain. Words from the Latin tenēre have something to do with holding. Something tenacious holds on and is not easily gotten rid of. To contain is to hold things together inside. To obtain is to get hold of. To retain is to continue to hold.


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