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 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

Gonzales defeated LaHood in the March 2018 Democratic primary and succeeded him in January. Brian Chasnoff, ExpressNews.com, "LaHood’s firm booted from case," 28 Aug. 2019 The varsity’s lower-level counterparts fared better against equally unexperienced opposition: Ramona’s junior varsity defeated Olympian by a 46-0 score and the Bulldogs’ freshman team prevailed in a 28-0 game. Joe Naiman, Ramona Sentinel, "Bulldogs fall to Olympian gridders," 28 Aug. 2019 And Kristina Mladenovic defeated 2016 U.S. Open champion Angelique Kerber, 7-5, 0-6, 6-4. James Martinez, BostonGlobe.com, "Serena Williams vs. Maria Sharapova tops packed first day of US Open," 26 Aug. 2019 His most successful high school stop was at St. Pius X, during which the Panthers won two district crowns, defeated St. Agnes for the first time in 30 years and finished one season 40-2. Jack Marrion, Houston Chronicle, "Smith, St. John XXIII volleyball off to fast start," 26 Aug. 2019 Fittingly, his first start will be against Oregon, the team Newton’s Tigers defeated on Jan. 10, 2011. Tom Green | Tgreen@al.com, al, "Freshman Orientation: Auburn’s Bo Nix the latest in trend of true freshman starting quarterbacks," 26 Aug. 2019 This show is set after Empire when Luke, Leia and Han defeat the Emperor and overthrow his government. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "We Broke Down Every Second of the Mandalorian Trailer," 25 Aug. 2019 Horse racing: Apprentice Julio Correa won four times on Sunday’s closing day program to defeat Trevor McCarthy and clinch his first career riding title in style at Laurel Park. Baltimore Sun Staff, baltimoresun.com, "Mystics set WNBA record with 18 3-pointers in rout of Fever," 18 Aug. 2019 His forces defeated Austria, and in 1804 Napoleon crowned himself emperor of France. National Geographic, "Napoleon lost the Battle of Waterloo—here’s what went wrong," 15 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That would take some doing, given that Thursday’s defeat was their 99th and 16 games remain in this 2019 season, the first of the organization’s lengthy rebuild. Nathan Ruiz, baltimoresun.com, "Orioles’ Brandon Hyde focused on individual improvement, not win-loss milestones, in season’s final weeks," 13 Sep. 2019 Every president confronts crises, defeats, and mistakes. NBC News, "Full transcript: Democratic debate in Houston," 13 Sep. 2019 There’s this idea that victory is the natural state of affairs and defeat is the intolerable intrusion. Benjamin Wallace-wells, The New Yorker, "David French, Sohrab Ahmari, and the Battle for the Future of Conservatism," 12 Sep. 2019 However, a defeat last time out at Elland Road to early pacesetters Swansea was a blow. SI.com, "Barnsley vs Leeds: Where to Watch, Buy Tickets, Live Steam, Kick Off Time & Team News," 12 Sep. 2019 For Gauff, in that moment, the defeat was too much to bear. Wired, "Depth of Field: Coco Gauff and the Future of Women's Tennis," 5 Sep. 2019 Classy mare could certainly atone for that defeat, especially with the leading combo of Brown and Jose Ortiz in her corner. Bob Clancy, courant.com, "Clancy’s Call: Saratoga," 30 Aug. 2019 Senator Mitch McConnell would later reciprocate by announcing that the defeat of President Obama in 2012 was his No. 1 priority. Barney Frank, Time, "We Need Bipartisanship to Fix the Economy. That Seems Impossible Right Now," 22 Aug. 2019 Two gut-wrenching defeats — by one possession at Florida and in seven overtimes at Texas A&M — were the difference. Edgar Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "2019 College Football Rankings: No. 6 LSU could challenge Alabama in SEC West," 19 Aug. 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 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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Statistics for defeat

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

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 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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