\ 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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun HIlliard was also credited with a solo tackle for stopping Clemson star running back Travis Etienne for no gain on third-and-1. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "Ohio State football’s Justin Hilliard expanding X factor impact when Buckeyes need it most," 3 Jan. 2021 The duo reprised their roles on the next play, with Wright pushing tight end Tyler Higbee into the backfield and Brooks tripping up running back Malcolm Brown for no gain on fourth-and-goal. oregonlive, "Seattle Seahawks’ defense peaking at the right time after suffocating the L.A. Rams," 27 Dec. 2020 Three possessions later, on a key fourth-and-1 from the Vikings’ 34, Nichols shed guard Dakota Dozier to stop Dalvin Cook for no gain. Dan Wiederer,, "5 things to watch in Week 16 for the Chicago Bears, including the offense’s momentum and defensive lineman Bilal Nichols’ production," 25 Dec. 2020 Defensive tackle Justin Ellis added a stop for no gain. Jonas Shaffer,, "Ravens film study: Why a dominant first half vs. Jacksonville could be a postseason blueprint," 23 Dec. 2020 On a crucial drive, Mr. Hornung ran off right tackle, dragging defenders through the mud for a 20-yard gain. Matt Schudel, Washington Post, "Paul Hornung, ‘Golden Boy’ for Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers, dies at 84," 14 Nov. 2020 On the play before, King connected with Dee Wiggins for a 20-yard gain on a corner route to the UM sideline. David Furones,, "Miami Hurricanes win another ACC thriller at Virginia Tech," 14 Nov. 2020 Drake rumbled to a 20-yard gain on first down, the start to a 79-yard touchdown drive. Michael Gehlken, Dallas News, "What led to Cowboys' knockout in loss to Arizona? Dallas' own devastating turnover problems," 20 Oct. 2020 Zach Pascal's pass interference negates a 20-yard gain to T.Y. Hilton. Scott Horner, The Indianapolis Star, "Live updates: Colts lead Bengals 31-27 in fourth quarter," 18 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In order to gain access to the spreadsheet, please set up a Zoom meeting with M and recount your earliest memory of being on a train. Rebecca Turkewitz, The New Yorker, "Kafka Narrates My Online Teaching Experience," 5 Jan. 2021 In many newsrooms, including at the once staunchly anti-union Los Angeles Times, journalists have organized in order to gain a degree of control over their lives. Robin Kaiser-schatzlein, The New Republic, "The Artist Isn’t Dead," 4 Jan. 2021 His attempt to gain admission to the state bar was shut down by the state Supreme Court, which denied him on the basis of the Exclusion Act. NBC News, "1st Chinese American lawyer gets Columbia Law honor, highlights past barriers," 30 Dec. 2020 Boldig said issuing fines has increased the number of businesses proactively reaching out to Orange officials for help to gain compliance. Desiree Stennett,, "No new rules, but officials urge coronavirus caution on New Year’s Eve," 30 Dec. 2020 This includes in Maricopa County, Arizona, where GOP lawmakers are waging a legal battle to gain access to voting machines and records. Daniel Chaitin, Washington Examiner, "Michigan attorney fights to keep names of Antrim County election 'forensic team' secret," 30 Dec. 2020 Isaacs even claimed he was hospitalized due to stress from their breakup in 2018, as part of his attempt to gain financial support from the singer. Darlene Aderoju,, "Mary J. Blige 'Won't Deprive Myself of Love' After Painful 2-Year Divorce from Kendu Isaacs," 24 Dec. 2020 That the teacher who groomed him acted as a parental figure to gain his trust and then manipulate him. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "Pop Culture Reckoned With #MeToo in Radical New Ways in 2020—Even as It Receded From Headlines," 22 Dec. 2020 Microsoft, which has released an update to block the malicious code, noted that the code, once in the network, sought to collect credentials to gain additional access. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "Russian cyber attack against US: Worst may be yet to come, experts fear, as Trump remains mum," 18 Dec. 2020

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.

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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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Time Traveler for gain

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for gain

Last Updated

10 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for gain


How to pronounce gain (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of gain

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something wanted or valued that is gotten : something that is gained especially : money gotten through some activity or process
: something that is helpful : advantage or benefit
: an increase in amount, size, or number



English Language Learners Definition of gain (Entry 2 of 2)

: to get (something wanted or valued)
: to win (something) in a competition, battle, etc.
: to gradually get (something) or more of (something) as time passes


\ 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.
\ ˈgān How to pronounce gain (audio) \

Medical Definition of gain

: to improve in health the patient gained daily

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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

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