Definitions for: Obtain


[v] receive a specified treatment (abstract); "These aspects of civilization do not find expression or receive an interpretation"; "His movie received a good review"; "I got nothing but trouble for my good intentions"
[v] come into possession of; "How did you obtain the visa?"
[v] be valid, applicable, or true; "This theory still holds"



Webster (1913) Definition: Ob*tain", v. i.
To gain or have a firm footing; to become recognized or
established; to become or be prevalent or general; as, the
custom obtains of going to the seashore in summer.


Ob*tain", v. t. [imp. & p. p. Obtained; p. pr. & vb.
n. Obtaining.] [F. obtenir, L. obtinere; ob (see Ob-) +
tenere to hold. See Tenable.]
1. To hold; to keep; to possess. [Obs.]

His mother, then, is mortal, but his Sire He who
obtains the monarchy of heaven. --Milton.

2. To get hold of by effort; to gain possession of; to
procure; to acquire, in any way.

Some pray for riches; riches they obtain. --Dryden.

By guileful fair words peace may be obtained.
--Shak.

It may be that I may obtain children by her. --Gen.
xvi. 2.

Syn: To attain; gain; procure; acquire; win; earn.

Usage: See Attain. -- To Obtain, Get, Gain, Earn,
Acquire. The idea of getting is common to all these
terms. We may, indeed, with only a slight change of
sense, substitute get for either of them; as, to get
or to gain a prize; to get or to obtain an employment;
to get or to earn a living; to get or to acquire a
language. To gain is to get by striving; and as this
is often a part of our good fortune, the word gain is
peculiarly applicable to whatever comes to us
fortuitously. Thus, we gain a victory, we gain a
cause, we gain an advantage, etc. To earn is to
deserve by labor or service; as, to earn good wages;
to earn a triumph. Unfortunately, one does not always
get or obtain what he has earned. To obtain implies
desire for possession, and some effort directed to the
attainment of that which is not immediately within our
reach. Whatever we thus seek and get, we obtain,
whether by our own exertions or those of others;
whether by good or bad means; whether permanently, or
only for a time. Thus, a man obtains an employment; he
obtains an answer to a letter, etc. To acquire is more
limited and specific. We acquire what comes to us
gradually in the regular exercise of our abilities,
while we obtain what comes in any way, provided we
desire it. Thus, we acquire knowledge, property,
honor, reputation, etc. What we acquire becomes, to a
great extent, permanently our own; as, to acquire a
language; to acquire habits of industry, etc.


Ob*tain", v. i.
1. To become held; to gain or have a firm footing; to be
recognized or established; to subsist; to become prevalent
or general; to prevail; as, the custom obtains of going to
the seashore in summer.

Sobriety hath by use obtained to signify temperance
in drinking. --Jer. Taylor.

The Theodosian code, several hundred years after
Justinian's time, did obtain in the western parts of
Europe. --Baker.

2. To prevail; to succeed. [R.] --Evelyn.

So run that ye may obtain. --1 Cor. ix.
24.

There is due from the judge to the advocate, some
commendation, where causes are fair pleaded;
especially towards the side which obtaineth not.
--Bacon.

Synonyms: find, get, hold, incur, prevail, receive

See Also: acquire, be, bum, cadge, carry, change, derive, dig up, eke out, excavate, exist, extort, extract, gain, get, get in, get into, grab, grub, mooch, outsource, procure, secure, shop, snag, sponge, squeeze out, take, take out, turn up, wring from

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