defeat

verb
de·feat | \ di-ˈfēt , dē- \

Definition of defeat 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 obsolete : destroy his unkindness may defeat my life —Shakespeare

2a law : nullify defeat an estate

b : frustrate sense 2a(1) defeat a hope

3 : to win victory over : beat defeated their archrivals in the championship game The bill was defeated in the Senate.

defeat

noun

Definition of defeat (Entry 2 of 2)

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

2 obsolete : destruction upon whose property and most dear life a damned defeat was made —Shakespeare

3a : an overthrow especially of an army in battle celebrate their defeat of the enemy

b : the loss of a contest his first defeat as a professional boxer

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Other words from defeat

Verb

defeatable \-ˈfē-tə-bəl \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for defeat

Verb

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

Examples of defeat in a Sentence

Verb

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

Noun

We weren't prepared for defeat. One small error could make the difference between success and defeat. After several tries we were forced to accept defeat. They celebrated their defeat of the enemy.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Where does the defeat rank on the list of worst defeats for the all-time great? Chris Chase, For The Win, "Was Roger Federer's Wimbledon collapse the worst of his career? Ranking his five biggest losses.," 11 July 2018 Uruguay went on to defeat Argentina in the final match and was crowned the first-ever World Cup champions. Candace Rose Rardon, Longreads, "The Country Where Fútbol Comes First," 10 July 2018 The team cleared the first hurdle along that road by defeating North Palm Beach, 9-8, for the District 7 (south Palm Beach County) title. Gary Curreri, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Wellington Little League Major Division All-Stars advance to sectional tournament," 9 July 2018 One moment was the Class 2A IC Catholic Sectional final on May 26, when the Trojans defeated Lisle 5-1 behind six innings from Huisman. Hunter Tickel, chicagotribune.com, "Timothy Christian grad Nick Huisman follows his uncle's path to Lewis baseball," 6 July 2018 That debate was supercharged Tuesday night when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who emphasized abolishing ICE very prominently, defeated Joe Crowley. NBC News, "This congressman wants to 'abolish ICE.' We asked him how it would work.," 30 June 2018 Each weekend gives adults and children the chance to play interactive theatrical games by defeating evil villains and completing quests. Sheryl Devore, Lake County News-Sun, "Take a day trip to the past at Bristol Renaissance Faire," 25 June 2018 Before tonight, there have only been eight sweeps in the history of the NBA championship, the last time being in 2007 when the San Antonio Spurs defeated James and the Cavaliers. Jason Duaine Hahn, PEOPLE.com, "Golden State Warriors Win NBA Finals — in What Might Be LeBron James' Last Game as a Cavalier," 8 June 2018 Many are entering politics for the first time with the momentum from December’s special election, when Democrats turned out en masse to defeat Republican Roy Moore’s bid for US Senate and to elect Doug Jones. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "Black women in Alabama helped defeat Roy Moore. Now they’re running for office in deep-red districts.," 5 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Cardinals announced Matheny's firing after an 8-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday night, a defeat that dropped St. Louis to 47-46 and seven games back of the NL Central -leading Chicago Cubs . courant.com, "Hovering Near .500, Cards Fire Matheny," 14 July 2018 On July 15th Croatia’s footballers, spurred on to avenge defeat at the hands of France in the World Cup semi-finals in 1998, take on les bleus again in Moscow. The Economist, "Croatia stands on the cusp of World Cup victory," 13 July 2018 There is no period of grace and recuperation between a national defeat by the voters and the inauguration of a new chief executive. Arthur I. Cyr, Lake County News-Sun, "Cyr: Britain’s prime minister takes charge of cabinet," 13 July 2018 For the country’s bookmakers, defeat to Croatia in Wednesday’s semifinal averted a potential multi-million pound payout. BostonGlobe.com, "Two friends who worked at different pharmaceutical companies convicted of insider trading," 12 July 2018 Prince William isn’t letting England’s defeat at the FIFA World Cup get the best of him — or his country. Alexia Fernandez, PEOPLE.com, "Prince William Cheers Up England Soccer Team After Their World Cup Loss Against Croatia," 12 July 2018 Frank Lampard’s infamous ‘ghost goal’ in England’s 4-1 defeat to Germany in South Africa saw calls for goal line technology to be intensified. SI.com, "Why VAR is a Step in the Right Direction for Football Despite the Continued Scrutiny," 12 July 2018 Where does the defeat rank on the list of worst defeats for the all-time great? Chris Chase, For The Win, "Was Roger Federer's Wimbledon collapse the worst of his career? Ranking his five biggest losses.," 11 July 2018 Without question, this is a religious experience for a nation of crazed soccer fans, 19.4 million of whom tuned in Saturday to watch England defeat Sweden 2-0. Sam Farmer, latimes.com, "England riding high on World Cup success as Wimbledon also creates a racket," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'defeat.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of defeat

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for defeat

Verb

Middle English defeten, defaiten "to ruin, destroy, nullify," in part verbal derivative of defet "disfigured, null and void (in law)," borrowed from Anglo-French defait, defet, desfet, past participle of defaire, desfaire "to undo, put an end to, destroy, nullify," from de-, des- de- + faire "to do, make," going back to Latin facere; in part borrowed from Anglo-French defeter, derivative of defet — more at fact

Noun

in part noun derivative of defeat entry 1, in part borrowed from Middle French defaite, noun derivative from feminine of defait, past participle of defaire, desfaire "to undo, destroy, kill" — more at defeat entry 1

Transitive verb

Anglo-French defait, past participle of defaire to undo, defeat, from Old French deffaire desfaire, from de-, prefix marking reversal of action + faire to do

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Statistics for defeat

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for defeat

The first known use of defeat was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for defeat

defeat

verb

English Language Learners Definition of defeat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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)

defeat

noun

English Language Learners Definition of defeat (Entry 2 of 2)

: failure to succeed or to win

: the act of winning a victory over someone or something

defeat

verb
de·feat | \ di-ˈfēt \
defeated; defeating

Kids Definition of defeat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to win victory over The champs defeated their rivals handily.

2 : to cause to fail or be destroyed The bill was defeated in Congress.

defeat

noun

Kids Definition of defeat (Entry 2 of 2)

: loss of a contest or battle

de·feat

Legal Definition of defeat 

1a : to render null third parties will defeat an attached but “unperfected” security interest —J. J. White and R. S. Summers

b : to prevent or undo the effectiveness or establishment of defeat jurisdiction defendant took stand and defeated intoxication defenseNational Law Journal

2a : to prevail over

b : to thwart the claim of defeat creditors an intent to defeat the surviving spouse of his…elective shareTennessee Code Annotated

Other words from defeat

defeat noun

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Comments on defeat

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