defeat

verb
de·​feat | \ di-ˈfēt How to pronounce defeat (audio) , dē-\
defeated; defeating; defeats

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 \ di-​ˈfē-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce defeatable (audio) , dē-​ \ 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

In the state tournament, Katy defeated four-time state champion Keller 1-0 and avenged a loss earlier in the season to state runnerup Klein with an 8-2 victory in the title game. Roy Kent, Houston Chronicle, "In pictures: Katy Lady Tigers cap season with 6A title," 7 June 2019 In the quarterfinals, Swenson defeated Sujit Chepuri of Blake 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in a match that lasted over three hours. Paul Hodowanic, Twin Cities, "State boys tennis: Mounds View freshman Bjorn Swenson wins Class 2A singles title," 7 June 2019 Phoenix defeated the Spurs 108-105 in the January 2017 meeting. Jeff Mcdonald, ExpressNews.com, "Spurs Notebook: Spurs to face Suns in Mexico City," 7 June 2019 Senator Doug Jones, a Democrat, defeated Moore in the December 2017 special election. Ivana Hrynkiw | Ihrynkiw@al.com, al.com, "Roy Moore’s lawyer Trenton Garmon arrested on drug charges," 6 June 2019 The Raptors defeated the Warriors 123-109 at game 3. Ashley Boucher, PEOPLE.com, "Beyoncé and Jay Z Cheer Courtside from NBA Finals Game 3 as Metallica Rocks Fiery National Anthem," 6 June 2019 Region finalists defeated Windermere early in season during 11-game win streak before going on to win at Lake Brantley in region semifinals for its second victory over Patriots in three tries. J.c. Carnahan, orlandosentinel.com, "Windermere High baseball sits atop final Sentinel Super Six rankings," 5 June 2019 West Bend East defeated North Shore runner-up West Bend West, 10-9, in other regional final in the sectional. Mark Stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "WIAA baseball: Down to his last strike, Joe Seymour delivers for Germantown," 11 July 2018 Louisville defeated Boise State 74-42 in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament at the KFC Yum! Center in March on its way to a third Final Four appearance since 2009. Rachel Roberts, idahostatesman, "Boise State will host Final Four squad in Taco Bell Arena this November," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

After the ballots were counted, though, the tax earned only 45% of the vote — a stunning defeat for school leaders and Mayor Eric Garcetti, who campaigned hard for the measure. Howard Blume, latimes.com, "A political disaster: How Measure EE, L.A. schools tax hike, failed so badly," 5 June 2019 The decision, which can’t be challenged in court, expunged a stinging defeat for Mr. Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, or AKP, which has dominated Turkish politics for the past 17 years. David Gauthier-villars, WSJ, "Turkey’s Opposition Vows to Reconquer Istanbul Mayor Seat," 7 May 2019 An economic downturn or a defeat for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s ruling party in next year’s elections could potentially force a rethink in the decision. Alex Ward, Vox, "Japan plans to purchase nearly 150 F-35 fighter jets from the US," 12 Dec. 2018 And there was the defeat to Sabine Lisicki in the fourth round in 2013. Sandra Harwitt, USA TODAY, "Serena Williams has an amazing record at Wimbledon, but here's the story behind her losses," 9 July 2018 Orlando handed Toronto the biggest loss of its season, a 116-87 defeat on Dec. 28 — a game that was notable for two reasons. Tim Reynolds, The Seattle Times, "Red-hot Magic set to face Raptors in Round 1 of NBA playoffs," 12 Apr. 2019 The former adviser, Paul Stadlen, left Malaysia last year, shortly after Mr. Najib’s surprise defeat in national elections that were dominated by a multibillion-dollar corruption scandal at state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd., or 1MDB. Yantoultra Ngui, WSJ, "Malaysia Orders Arrest of Ex-Leader Najib’s Former Media Adviser," 21 Feb. 2019 Sermanni said the club lacked cohesion after that defeat. Jordan Culver, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando Pride set for rematch against Houston Dash," 10 July 2018 That same year, another fateful event happened across the country, when a rising star in the Nazi party named Adolf Hitler suffered an embarrassing defeat in Munich as his Beer Hall Putch uprising was foiled by local authorities. Alex Hollings, Popular Mechanics, "The Saturn V Story: From Nazi Roots to America's Moon Rocket," 6 Feb. 2019

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

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Statistics for defeat

Last Updated

10 Jun 2019

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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 How to pronounce defeat (audio) \
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

History and Etymology for 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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More from Merriam-Webster on defeat

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with defeat

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for defeat

Spanish Central: Translation of defeat

Nglish: Translation of defeat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of defeat for Arabic Speakers

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