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WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2016
ob•tain /əbˈteɪn/USA pronunciation   v. 
  1. to come into possession of;
    acquire[+ object]to obtain a driver's license.
  2. to be common or customary, esp. so as to be in force or to exist in a particular place or time[no object; usually: not be + ~ -ing]the morals that obtained in ancient Rome.
ob•tain•a•ble, adj. 
ob•tain•ment, n. [uncountable]See -tain-.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2016
ob•tain  (əb tān), 
  1. to come into possession of;
    get, acquire, or procure, as through an effort or by a request:to obtain permission; to obtain a better income.
  2. [Obs.]to attain or reach.

  1. to be prevalent, customary, or in vogue;
    prevail:the morals that obtained in Rome.
  2. [Archaic.]to succeed.
  • Latin obtinēre to take hold of, equivalent. to ob- ob- + -tinēre (combining form of tenēre to hold)
  • Middle French obtenir
  • late Middle English obteinen 1375–1425
ob•taina•ble, adj. 
ob•tain′a•bili•ty, n. 
ob•tainer, n. 
ob•tainment, n. 
1 . gain, achieve, earn, win, attain. See get.  1 . lose, forgo.

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

obtain /əbˈteɪn/ vb
  1. (transitive) to gain possession of; acquire; get
  2. (intransitive) to be customary, valid, or accepted: a new law obtains in this case
Etymology: 15th Century: via Old French from Latin obtinēre to take hold of, from ob- (intensive) + tenēre to hold

obˈtainable adj obˌtainaˈbility n obˈtainer n obˈtainment n

'obtaining' also found in these entries:

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