\ 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 Stocks rallied on Wall Street Friday, sending the S&P 500 up 3.1% for its best gain in two years. Alex Veiga,, 24 June 2022 That is a gain of 103% in the XOP in the ~1.5 years that President Biden has been in office. Robert Rapier, Forbes, 17 June 2022 That was a quarterly gain of 4 million paying Peacock Premium customers, but company execs cautioned that the Q1 growth was largely driven by Peacock’s livestreaming of the Super Bowl and the Beijing Winter Olympics during the quarter. Todd Spangler, Variety, 14 June 2022 The job growth in May, though healthy, was the lowest monthly gain in a year. Matt Ott, Chicago Tribune, 9 June 2022 The job growth in May, though healthy, was the lowest monthly gain in a year. Christopher Rugaber, ajc, 3 June 2022 That's the biggest weekly gain for the benchmark index since November 2020. CBS News, 27 May 2022 For each dollar booked at home there would be a gain for the U.S. Treasury, since 21% of a positive number is much larger than 35% of zero. Tyler Goodspeed, WSJ, 8 May 2022 The survey did not address what respondents thought the personal interests were (e.g. political ambition, financial gain or something else). Michael Smolenscolumnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb If the Sixers do manage to gain access to the non-taxpayer MLE, the following six players could all be of interest. Bryan Toporek, Forbes, 25 June 2022 Sixteen alternate electors had attempted to gain access to the Michigan Capitol on Dec. 14, 2020, to cast votes for Trump, but were denied entry by Michigan State Police. Arpan Lobo, Detroit Free Press, 23 June 2022 As the season comes to a head, the Umbrellas and the Sparrows (or what's left of them) must join forces to fight off the guardians and gain access to the portal. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, 22 June 2022 Price also said the State Department continues to work to gain regular access to U.S. detainees in Russia including Paul Whelan, who has been in a Russian prison since 2018. Deena Zaru, ABC News, 21 June 2022 Platforms can also look into greater worldwide expansion, as more countries gain broader internet access. Caitlin Huston, The Hollywood Reporter, 21 June 2022 Once investigators gain access to occupied territory, the numbers are expected to soar. Paulina Villegas And Reis Thebault, Anchorage Daily News, 20 June 2022 Once investigators gain access to occupied territory, the numbers are expected to soar. Reis Thebault, Washington Post, 19 June 2022 The ability to gain unauthorized access to such projects opens the possibility of supply chain attacks, in which threat actors tamper with malware before it's distributed to users. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 13 June 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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Last Updated

27 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Gain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 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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