gain

1 of 2

noun

1
: resources or advantage acquired or increased : profit
made substantial gains last year
2
: the act or process of acquiring something
3
a
: 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

gain

2 of 2

verb

gained; gaining; gains

transitive verb

1
a
: 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
2
a
: 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
2
a
: 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
gainer noun
Phrases
gain ground
: to make progress

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
This could provoke cravings for fatty foods such as bread, pasta, and sweets that ultimately may lead to weight gain. Sandra Rose Salathe, Flow Space, 17 July 2024 The evolving thinking and language around DEI in the workplace has sparked fears that the small workforce and leadership gains made in recent years will stall. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, 17 July 2024
Verb
The nonprofit developer behind the plan, MHT Housing, also gained approval to build over 200 units of nearby affordable housing. Jc Reindl, Detroit Free Press, 6 July 2024 Don’t miss this opportunity to gain valuable insights into the future of AI in workforce efficiency. Essence, 6 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for gain 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gain.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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.

Verb

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.

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near gain

Cite this Entry

“Gain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gain. Accessed 21 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

gain

1 of 2 noun
1
: resources or advantage acquired or increased : profit
financial gains
2
: an increase in amount, size, or degree
a gain in weight

gain

2 of 2 verb
1
a
: to get possession of often by effort : earn
gain an advantage
b
: to win in competition or conflict
gain a victory
c
: to get by a natural development or process
gain strength
d
: to arrive at
the swimmer gained the shore
2
: to win to one's side : persuade
3
: to increase in
gain momentum
4
: to run fast
my watch gains a minute a day
5
: to get advantage : profit
hoped to gain from the deal
6
a
: increase entry 1 sense 1
the day was gaining in warmth
b
: to increase in weight
c
: to improve in health
gainer noun

Medical Definition

gain

intransitive verb
: to improve in health
the patient gained daily

Legal Definition

gain

noun
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
gain verb

More from Merriam-Webster on gain

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!