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verb de·feat \di-ˈfēt, dē-\

Simple Definition of defeat

  • : 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

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 obsolete :  destroy

  3. 2 a :  nullify <defeat an estate> b :  frustrate 2a(1) <defeat a hope>

  4. 3 :  to win victory over :  beat <defeat the opposing team>

de·feat·able play \-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

Synonym Discussion of defeat

conquer, vanquish, defeat, subdue, reduce, overcome, overthrow mean to get the better of by force or strategy. conquer implies gaining mastery of <Caesar conquered Gaul>. vanquish implies a complete overpowering <vanquished the enemy and ended the war>. defeat does not imply the finality or completeness of vanquish which it otherwise equals <the Confederates defeated the Union forces at Manassas>. subdue implies a defeating and suppression <subdued the native tribes after years of fighting>. reduce implies a forcing to capitulate or surrender <the city was reduced after a month-long siege>. overcome suggests getting the better of with difficulty or after hard struggle <overcame a host of bureaucratic roadblocks>. overthrow stresses the bringing down or destruction of existing power <violently overthrew the old regime>.



noun de·feat

Simple Definition of defeat

  • : failure to succeed or to win

  • : the act of winning a victory over someone or something

Full Definition of defeat

  1. 1 :  frustration by nullification or by prevention of success <the bill suffered defeat in the Senate>

  2. 2 obsolete :  destruction

  3. 3 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


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February 11, 2016

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