Word of the day – Obtain

Word of the Day : July 2, 2020


verb ub-TAYN


1 : to gain or attain usually by planned action or effort

2 : to be generally recognized or established : prevail

Did you know?

Obtain, which was adopted into English in the 15th century, comes to us via Anglo-French from the Latin obtinēre, meaning “to hold on to, possess.” Obtinēre was itself formed by the combination of ob-, meaning “in the way,” and the verb tenēre, meaning “to hold.” In its earliest uses, obtain often implied a conquest or a successful victory in battle, but it is now used for any attainment through planned action or effort. The verb tenēre has incontestably prevailed in the English language, providing us with such common words as abstaincontaindetainsustain, and, perhaps less obviously, the adjectives tenable and tenacious.


The experiment was designed to obtain more accurate data about weather patterns.

“By time of competition, [NHL deputy commissioner Bill] Daly said, the league will test players every night and obtain results by the time they report to the rink the next morning.” — Matt Porter, The Boston Globe, 26 May 2020