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defeat

play
verb de·feat \ di-ˈfēt , dē- \
Updated on: 11 Sep 2017

Definition of defeat

transitive verb
1 obsolete :destroy
  • his unkindness may defeat my life
  • —Shakespeare
2 a law :nullify
  • defeat an estate
b :frustrate 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.

defeatable

play \-ˈfē-tə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of defeat in a Sentence

  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.

Recent Examples of defeat from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology 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

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

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defeat

noun

Definition of defeat

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
3 a :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

Examples of defeat in a Sentence

  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.

Recent Examples of defeat from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of defeat



DEFEAT Defined for English Language Learners

defeat

play
verb

Definition of defeat for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of defeat for English Language Learners

  • : failure to succeed or to win

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


DEFEAT Defined for Kids

1

defeat

play
verb de·feat \ di-ˈfēt \

Definition of defeat for Students

defeated; defeating
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.

2

defeat

noun

Definition of defeat for Students

:loss of a contest or battle

Law Dictionary

defeat

transitive verb de·feat

legal Definition of defeat

1 a :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 defense
  • National Law Journal
2 a :to prevail over
b :to thwart the claim of
  • defeat creditors
  • an intent to defeat the surviving spouse of his…elective share
  • Tennessee Code Annotated

defeat

noun

Origin and Etymology of defeat

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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