(1)   Come to have or undergo a change of (physical features and attributes)
"He grew a beard"
"The patient developed abdominal pains"
"I got funny spots all over my body"
"Well-developed breasts"
(2)   Take on a certain form, attribute, or aspect
"His voice took on a sad tone"
"The story took a new turn"
"He adopted an air of superiority"
"She assumed strange manners"
"The gods assume human or animal form in these fables"
(3)   Gain through experience
"I acquired a strong aversion to television"
"Children must develop a sense of right and wrong"
"Dave developed leadership qualities in his new position"
"Develop a passion for painting"
(4)   Gain knowledge or skills
"She learned dancing from her sister"
"I learned Sanskrit"
"Children acquire language at an amazing rate"
(5)   Come into the possession of something concrete or abstract
"She got a lot of paintings from her uncle"
"They acquired a new pet"
"Get your results the next day"
"Get permission to take a few days off from work"
(6)   Win something through one's efforts
"I acquired a passing knowledge of Chinese"
"Gain an understanding of international finance"
(7)   Locate (a moving entity) by means of a tracking system such as radar


From adquaerere; ad + . In Old English this verb was aqueren, which comes from the same Latin verb, through Old French aquerre. See quest.


  1. To get.
  2. To gain, usually by one's own exertions; to get as one's own, as, to acquire a title, riches, knowledge, skill, good or bad habits.
    No virtue is acquired in an instant, but step by step. — Isaac Barrow
    Descent is the title whereby a man, on the death of his ancestor, acquires his estate, by right of representation, as his heir at law. — William Blackstone