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gain

play
noun \ ˈgān \
Updated on: 11 Sep 2017

Definition of gain

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

Examples of gain in a Sentence

  1. The medication can cause nausea and weight gain.

  2. attributed her recent weight gain to the medication she was taking

Recent Examples of gain from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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 2gain
Note: See note at 2gain.


2

gain

verb

Definition of gain

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
gain ground
:to make progress

Examples of gain in a Sentence

  1. They stand to gain an advantage over their competitors by getting an early start.

  2. What do you hope to gain from this?

  3. gain control of the territory

  4. Investigators are trying to gain access to the group's financial records.

  5. We were unable to gain admission to the club.

  6. We need to gain a better understanding of the problem.

  7. They had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

  8. He first gained attention as a young writer.

  9. Her theories are slowly gaining acceptance.

  10. I took the job to gain experience.

Recent Examples of gain from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of gain

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.

gain Synonyms

Synonyms
build up, gather, grow (in), pick up
Antonyms
decrease (in), lose
Related Words
double (in), triple (in); accrue, accumulate, amass; excite, stimulate; enhance, enlarge, enrich, expand, extend, maximize; boost, elevate, jack (up), mount, ramp (up), step up
Near Antonyms
abate, decline (in), diminish (in), dip, dwindle, fall (in), lessen, taper, taper off

Financial Definition of GAIN

gain

What It Is

A gain, also called a capital gain, is an increase in the value of an investment. It is the difference between the purchase price (the basis) and the sale price of an asset. Thus the formula for gain is:

Sale Price - Purchase Price = Gain

Note that this formula assumes the sale price is higher than the purchase price. If an investor sells an asset for less than he or she paid, this is called a loss.

How It Works

Let's assume you purchase 100 shares of Company XYZ for $1 per share. After three months, the share price increases to $5. This means the value of the investment has increased from $100 to $500, for a gain of $400.

Why It Matters

Gains are taxable, but only when they are realized. That is, they only become taxable when the asset is sold. Until that point, any gains are considered unrealized and are not taxable. The IRS considers nearly every asset owned by individuals and companies as capital assets and thus subject to capital gains taxes.

Taxpayers report capital gains on IRS Schedule D, but these gains are subject to different tax rates depending on whether they are short-term or long-term (and in some cases depending on the type of asset). In the example above, if you sold the Company XYZ shares after a year, the IRS would consider your $400 profit a long-term capital gain and tax it at one of several flat rates. However, if you sold the Company XYZ shares after just three months, the IRS would consider your $400 profit a short-term capital gain and tax that $400 at your ordinary income tax rate, which varies by several factors, including which state you live in, and is generally higher than the long-term capital gains tax rate. This system encourages long-term investing, but there are still many logical reasons an investor might want to sell an asset before a year has passed.

Some retirement vehicles, such as 401(k)s and IRAs, allow investors to buy and sell assets within these vehicles without becoming subject to capital gains tax. This tax deferral effectively gives investors a larger balance on which to compound interest or returns, with capital gains tax applying only when the investor begins to make withdrawals.

An investor's capital losses sometimes will offset all or a portion of his or her capital gains, lowering the investor's tax bill. There is a limit, however, to how much the investor can offset. Note also that the IRS does not treat the distributions of net realized long-term capital gains, like those from a mutual fund, for example, as capital gains. The IRS treats those as ordinary dividends.


GAIN Defined for English Language Learners

gain

play
noun

Definition of gain for English Language Learners

  • : 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


gain

verb

Definition of gain for English Language Learners

  • : 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


GAIN Defined for Kids

1

gain

play
noun \ ˈgān \

Definition of gain for Students

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

2

gain

verb

Definition of gain for Students

gained; gaining
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.

Medical Dictionary

gain

play
intransitive verb \ ˈgān \

medical Definition of gain

:to improve in health
  • the patient gained daily

Law Dictionary

gain

noun

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

gain

verb


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