\ ˈgān How to pronounce gain (audio) \

Definition of gain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : resources or advantage acquired or increased : profit made substantial gains last year
2 : the act or process of acquiring something
3a : an increase in amount, magnitude, or degree a gain in efficiency
b : the increase (as of voltage or signal intensity) caused by an amplifier especially : the ratio of output over input
c : the signal-gathering ability of an antenna


gained; gaining; gains

Definition of gain (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to acquire or get possession of usually by industry, merit, or craft gain an advantage he stood to gain a fortune
b : to win in competition or conflict the troops gained enemy territory
c(1) : to arrive at : reach, attain gained the river that night
(2) : traverse, cover gained 10 yards on the play
d : to get by a natural development or process gain strength
e : to establish a specific relationship with gain a friend
2a : to make an increase of (a specified amount) gained three percent in the past month
b : to increase in (a particular quality) gain momentum
3 : to win to one's side : persuade gain adherents to a cause
4 : to cause to be obtained or given : attract gain attention
5 of a timepiece : to run fast by the amount of the clock gains a minute a day

intransitive verb

1 : to get advantage : profit hoped to gain by the deal
2a : increase the day was gaining in warmth
b : to increase in weight
c : to improve in health or ability
3 of a timepiece : to run fast
4 : to get closer to something pursued usually used with on or upon
gain ground
: to make progress

Other Words from gain


gainer noun

Examples of gain in a Sentence

Noun The medication can cause nausea and weight gain. attributed her recent weight gain to the medication she was taking Verb They stand to gain an advantage over their competitors by getting an early start. What do you hope to gain from this? gain control of the territory Investigators are trying to gain access to the group's financial records. We were unable to gain admission to the club. We need to gain a better understanding of the problem. They had nothing to lose and everything to gain. He first gained attention as a young writer. Her theories are slowly gaining acceptance. I took the job to gain experience. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Hormonal treatments for women, like the pill, are blamed for side effects like weight gain, acne, and mood changes, to name a few. Manasee Wagh, Popular Mechanics, 20 May 2022 People who are sleep deprived also may have poor control of the hormones that govern hunger, leading to cravings for junk foods that result in weight gain. Bryant Stamford, The Courier-Journal, 19 May 2022 Someone following a carnivore, keto, or paleo diet could be glycogen-depleted and might not maximize muscle gain. Oliver Lee Bateman, Men's Health, 19 May 2022 In a poll released last week, The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that about 1 in 3 Americans believe an effort is underway to replace U.S.-born Americans with immigrants for electoral gain. David Bauder, ajc, 16 May 2022 In a poll released last week, The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that about 1 in 3 Americans believe an effort is underway to replace U.S.-born Americans with immigrants for electoral gain. The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 May 2022 Growth was driven by the company’s largest ever quarterly gain in subscriptions — as demonstrated in the above slide from Hims & Hers’ investor deck — that tipped subscriptions over 710,000. Mario Aguilar, STAT, 14 May 2022 He is charged with capital murder during a first-degree burglary, and murder for pecuniary gain - meaning that he was paid to commit the slaying. Carol Robinson |, al, 13 May 2022 Patterson was effective with his feet, however, picking up 79 yards on nine carries, including a 37-yard gain and a 9-yard TD scamper. Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press, 13 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The latest noodle replacement to gain popularity in the United States: shirataki, a food that’s been consumed in Japan for centuries. Chihiro Tomioka, Bon Appétit, 20 May 2022 Such artificial-intelligence systems use large amounts of data to train algorithms, so Porsche’s initiative to gain drivers’ trust and coax them to share information, with safeguards, is important, Mr. Völkel said. Catherine Stupp, WSJ, 20 May 2022 Wedgeworth would often meet up with the women in person to gain their trust, prosecutors said. Jaclyn Peiser, Washington Post, 20 May 2022 For example, to practice safely and effectively to gain patients’ or clients’ confidence, anyone in the medical or legal professions must undergo years of education and training. Benjamin Laker, Forbes, 20 May 2022 Epicenter’s calm was on display Thursday when Asmussen took him to the paddock at Pimlico Race Course to gain familiarity with the space where he will be saddled for the Preakness. Childs Walker, Baltimore Sun, 20 May 2022 McIlroy, always known for having solid power with the driver, has launched his tee shots to put himself in manageable positions to gain strokes. USA TODAY, 20 May 2022 Ford said community groups and officials must gain insight from previous episodes of violence to prevent future ones. Tat Bellamy-walker, NBC News, 19 May 2022 To gain insight into why women give up on Tinder—and what might entice them to stick around or come back—the executive set up a cross-functional team to dig into some essential questions: What would add value to women’s time on Tinder? Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, 18 May 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of gain


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for gain


Middle English gain, borrowed from Anglo-French gain, gaigne, gaaing "tillage, winning, profit," derivative of gaainer, gaaigner "to till, secure (profit, advantage)" — more at gain entry 2

Note: See note at gain entry 2.


Middle English gaynen "to prevail against," borrowed from Anglo-French gaainer, gaaigner "to cultivate, till, secure (profit, advantage), capture, acquire, be victorious," going back to Old Low Franconian *waiđanjan, of uncertain meaning and origin

Note: The presumed Old Low Franconian verb *waiđanjan has no exact counterpart in neighboring Germanic languages, and given the diverse meanings of the French verb, hypotheses that explain it are all somewhat tenuous. The base has traditionally been taken to be that of Old High German weida "pasture," Old Saxon weiđa, from which a verb meaning "to pasture" was derived, which then hypothetically developed the sense "to cultivate, till" and further derived senses. Alternatively, the verb could be linked to Old High German weidenōn "to hunt," a derivative of weida "hunt, quantity of game taken, catch" (corresponding to Old English wāth "hunt, chase, wandering," Old Norse veiðr "catch, haul of fish"). In Middle English both the noun and verb are presumed to have crossed with borrowings of Old Norse gagn "advantage, victory." Early Modern English gain has acquired senses directly from Middle French and French gagner.

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The first known use of gain was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

22 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Gain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for gain


\ ˈgān How to pronounce gain (audio) \

Kids Definition of gain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something valuable or desirable that is obtained or acquired : profit financial gains
2 : an increase in amount, size, or degree


gained; gaining

Kids Definition of gain (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to get or win often by effort You gain knowledge by study. He exercised to gain strength.
2 : to get or acquire in a natural or gradual way He gained ten pounds.
3 : to increase in The car gained speed.
4 : to get to : reach The swimmer gained the shore.
5 : to get an advantage : profit We all gained from the lesson.


intransitive verb
\ ˈgān How to pronounce gain (audio) \

Medical Definition of gain

: to improve in health the patient gained daily



Legal Definition of gain

1 : an increase in value, capital, or amount — compare loss
capital gain
: a gain realized on the sale or exchange of a capital asset (as a stock or real estate)
casualty gain
: a gain realized by an insured because property insurance benefits paid for a loss from a casualty or theft are greater than the adjusted value of the insured asset
long-term capital gain
: a capital gain realized on the sale or exchange of an asset held for more than a specified period (as a year)
ordinary gain
: a gain from the exchange or sale of an asset that is not capital
short-term capital gain
: a capital gain realized on the sale or exchange of an asset held for less than a specified period (as a year) that is treated as ordinary income under federal income tax laws
2 plural, in the civil law of Louisiana : a class of community property that reflects the increase in property value contributed by the common skill or labor of the spouses

Other Words from gain

gain verb

More from Merriam-Webster on gain

Nglish: Translation of gain for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of gain for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about gain


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