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Wordnet 3.0

VERB (3)

1. come into possession of;
- Example: "How did you obtain the visa?"

2. receive a specified treatment (abstract);
- Example: "These aspects of civilization do not find expression or receive an interpretation"
- Example: "His movie received a good review"
- Example: "I got nothing but trouble for my good intentions"
[syn: receive, get, find, obtain, incur]

3. be valid, applicable, or true;
- Example: "This theory still holds"
[syn: prevail, hold, obtain]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Obtain \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.] [1913 Webster] 1. To hold; to keep; to possess. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] His mother, then, is mortal, but his Sire He who obtains the monarchy of heaven. --Milton. [1913 Webster] 2. To get hold of by effort; to gain possession of; to procure; to acquire, in any way. [1913 Webster] Some pray for riches; riches they obtain. --Dryden. [1913 Webster] By guileful fair words peace may be obtained. --Shak. [1913 Webster] It may be that I may obtain children by her. --Gen. xvi. 2. [1913 Webster] 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. [1913 Webster]
The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Obtain \Ob*tain"\, v. i. 1. To gain or have a firm footing; to be recognized or established; to become prevalent or general; to prevail; as, the custom obtains of going to the seashore in summer. [1913 Webster] Sobriety hath by use obtained to signify temperance in drinking. --Jer. Taylor. [1913 Webster] The Theodosian code, several hundred years after Justinian's time, did obtain in the western parts of Europe. --Baker. [1913 Webster] 2. To prevail; to succeed. [archaic and Rare] --Evelyn. [1913 Webster] So run that ye may obtain. --1 Cor. ix. 24. [1913 Webster] There is due from the judge to the advocate, some commendation, where causes are fair pleaded; especially towards the side which obtaineth not. --Bacon. [1913 Webster]
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):

obtain v 1: come into possession of; "How did you obtain the visa?" 2: 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" [syn: receive, get, find, obtain, incur] 3: be valid, applicable, or true; "This theory still holds" [syn: prevail, hold, obtain]
Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0:

129 Moby Thesaurus words for "obtain": accept, acquire, admit, annex, apply, arouse, assume, bag, be, be extant, be found, be in, be in existence, be in force, be met with, be present, be seized of, be the case, be the rage, be the rule, be the thing, be there, breathe, bring, bring back, bring forth, bring on, bring out, bring to light, buy, call for, call forth, call out, call up, capture, catch, chalk up, chase after, come by, come in for, come into, contract, contrive, corral, deduce, derive, derive from, dominate, drag down, drag out, draw, draw down, draw forth, draw from, draw on, draw out, earn, educe, effect, elicit, enter into possession, evoke, exist, fetch, fetch and carry, gain, get, get from, get out of, go after, go and get, go fetch, go for, go get, go to get, grasp, happen to be, harvest, have, have being, have coming in, have place, hold, induce, inspire, instigate, lead, live, make, motivate, net, occur, pick up, predominate, prevail, procure, provoke, pull down, purchase, reap, receive, reign, relate, retrieve, rouse, rule, run after, sack, score, secure, seize, shag, stand, stimulate, subsist, summon forth, summon up, superinduce, take, take in, take on, take over, take possession of, wangle, wangle out of, win, winkle out, worm out, worm out of