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 : to win victory over : beat defeated their archrivals in the championship game The bill was defeated in the Senate.
2a : frustrate sense 2a(1) defeat a hope
b law : nullify defeat an estate
3 obsolete : destroy … his unkindness may defeat my life …— Shakespeare

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

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Other Words from defeat

Verb

defeatable \ di-​ˈfē-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce defeat (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 The Suns just had to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night at Fiserv Forum to force a winner-take-all game in the NBA Finals with a sellout crowd at Footprint Center foaming for a franchise-first NBA championship on the line. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 22 July 2021 The Timbers took the lead in stoppage time and go on to defeat LAFC 2-1 on Felipe Mora’s goal at the death. oregonlive, 22 July 2021 Giannis, 26, and Thanasis, 29, helped the Milwaukee Bucks defeat the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, receiving their first rings and joining their brother Kostas, 23, who won a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers last season. Zoe Christen Jones, CBS News, 22 July 2021 Smith connected for a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Dodgers rallied from five runs down to defeat the Giants 8-6 on Tuesday night in the second game of a pivotal series between NL West rivals. Joe Reedy, Star Tribune, 21 July 2021 The New Hampshire Fisher Cats rallied with four runs in the eighth to defeat the Yard Goats 5-2 in an Eastern League Northern Division game on Friday night at Dunkin’ Donuts Park. Staff Report, courant.com, 16 July 2021 The Milwaukee Bucks rallied from nine points down in the fourth quarter to defeat the Phoenix Suns 109-103 in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday to tie the best-of-seven series at 2-2 in front their own elated fans at Fiserv Forum. Reuters, CNN, 15 July 2021 The Dodgers’ best chance to defeat the Chicago Cubs on Friday, the previous three months suggested, was to pound Jake Arrieta before the gate to the Cubs’ vaunted bullpen opened. Los Angeles Times, 25 June 2021 Carli Lloyd scored 24 seconds into the game and the U.S. women’s national team went on to defeat Jamaica 4-0 on Sunday night in the Summer Series. orlandosentinel.com, 14 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Julien has accepted defeat in the Obie department and is now searching for a hot new heir to maintain her Queen Bee status, like Mia Thermopolis in The Princess Diaries 2. Kyndall Cunningham, Vulture, 22 July 2021 And with the Americans failing to get a goal of their own for the first time in four years, Wednesday’s defeat was the worst since a 4-0 beating by Brazil in the semifinal of the 2007 Women’s World Cup. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, 21 July 2021 The two tried to figure who would tell Trump to accept defeat. Mabinty Quarshie, USA TODAY, 20 July 2021 The Orlando Pride continued a stuttering streak of winless matches with a 2-1 loss to the Thorns in Portland on Sunday night, the team’s third defeat in the last four games. Julia Poe, orlandosentinel.com, 19 July 2021 Hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman has been forced to admit defeat in his attempt to engineer a complex Spac — or blank check — deal to buy 10% of Universal Music Group for about $4 billion. Hanna Ziady, CNN, 19 July 2021 Devin Booker totaled 42 points in Wednesday’s defeat for Phoenix and the Suns were hampered by late turnovers. Kristen Davis, cleveland, 17 July 2021 While refusing to concede defeat, Trump eventually relinquished power peacefully and departed for his home at Mar-a-Lago. Mark Whitaker, Washington Post, 15 July 2021 As the crisis with Trump unfolded, and the chairman’s worst-case fears about the President not accepting defeat seemed to come true, Milley repeatedly met in private with the Joint Chiefs. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, 15 July 2021

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 3

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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Time Traveler for defeat

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near defeat

defeasible

defeat

defeatism

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Statistics for defeat

Last Updated

26 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Defeat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/defeat. Accessed 2 Aug. 2021.

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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

defeat

transitive verb
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

More from Merriam-Webster on defeat

Nglish: Translation of defeat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of defeat for Arabic Speakers

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