After a while I _______ the ability to understand their costumes.

I want a verb for the above blank.

Acquire, gain, obtain, and a lot of more verbs are used in such cases, but I would like to know the most idiomatic verb.

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  • How about "enable"? – Hot Licks Oct 5 '17 at 21:11
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    'the ability of understanding' should it not read 'the ability to understand' ? – Nigel J Oct 5 '17 at 22:04

"Most idiomatic" can be a pretty subjective measure. Instead, let's try looking at the "most popular" verbs.

Although it's not really the right tool for the job, I used NGram to get a list of the most popular verbs that come before "the ability" (using *_VERB the ability). Ignoring all the irrelevant verbs that would not fit in the context, there were two words that remained. In my opinion as a native speaker they are both very idiomatic here:

There's nothing wring with using "gain" or "got" in your context either; it's simply less popular.

On a side note, I would use "to" not "of" because it sounds better (again, look at the popularity in NGram).

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