ob·tain (əb-tān, ŏb-)
v. ob·tained, ob·tain·ing, ob·tains
To succeed in gaining possession of as the result of planning or endeavor; acquire.
1. To be in existence, in effect, or customary: "standards, proprieties that no longer obtain" (Meg Greenfield).
2. Archaic To succeed.
[Middle English obteinen, from Old French obtenir, from Latin obtinēre : ob-, intensive pref.; see OB- + tenēre, to hold; see ten- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.