verb de·feat \di-ˈfēt, dē-\

: to win a victory over (someone or something) in a war, contest, game, etc.

: to cause (someone or something) to fail

: to control or overcome (something)

Full Definition of DEFEAT

transitive verb
obsolete :  destroy
a :  nullify <defeat an estate>
b :  frustrate 2a(1) <defeat a hope>
:  to win victory over :  beat <defeat the opposing team>
de·feat·able \-ˈfē-tə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of DEFEAT

  1. We must be ready to defeat our enemies in battle.
  2. Our candidate defeated him in the last election.
  3. She finally found a solution to a problem that had defeated many other researchers.
  4. The bill was defeated in the state senate.
  5. Scientists from around the world are working to defeat the disease.

Origin of DEFEAT

Middle English deffeten, from Anglo-French defait, past participle of defaire, desfaire to destroy, from Medieval Latin disfacere, from Latin dis- + facere to do — more at do
First Known Use: 14th century



: failure to succeed or to win

: the act of winning a victory over someone or something

Full Definition of DEFEAT

:  frustration by nullification or by prevention of success <the bill suffered defeat in the Senate>
obsolete :  destruction
a :  an overthrow especially of an army in battle
b :  the loss of a contest

Examples of DEFEAT

  1. We weren't prepared for defeat.
  2. One small error could make the difference between success and defeat.
  3. After several tries we were forced to accept defeat.
  4. They celebrated their defeat of the enemy.

First Known Use of DEFEAT


Other Military Terms

bivouac, logistics, petard, salient, sally, supernumerary, tactical


Next Word in the Dictionary: defeatismPrevious Word in the Dictionary: defeasibleAll Words Near: defeat
May 23, 2015
debouch Hear it
to emerge or cause to emerge
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