defeat

verb
de·​feat | \ di-ˈfēt How to pronounce defeat (audio) , dē- \
defeated; defeating; defeats

Definition of defeat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to win victory over : beat defeated their archrivals in the championship game The bill was defeated in the Senate.
2a : frustrate sense 2a(1) defeat a hope
b law : nullify defeat an estate
3 obsolete : destroy … his unkindness may defeat my life …— Shakespeare

defeat

noun

Definition of defeat (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : frustration by nullification or by prevention of success The bill suffered defeat in the Senate.
2a : an overthrow especially of an army in battle celebrate their defeat of the enemy
b : the loss of a contest his first defeat as a professional boxer
3 obsolete : destruction … upon whose property and most dear life a damned defeat was made.— Shakespeare

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Other Words from defeat

Verb

defeatable \ di-​ˈfē-​tə-​bəl How to pronounce defeat (audio) , dē-​ \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for defeat

Verb

conquer, vanquish, defeat, subdue, reduce, overcome, overthrow mean to get the better of by force or strategy. conquer implies gaining mastery of. Caesar conquered Gaul vanquish implies a complete overpowering. vanquished the enemy and ended the war defeat does not imply the finality or completeness of vanquish which it otherwise equals. the Confederates defeated the Union forces at Manassas subdue implies a defeating and suppression. subdued the native tribes after years of fighting reduce implies a forcing to capitulate or surrender. the city was reduced after a month-long siege overcome suggests getting the better of with difficulty or after hard struggle. overcame a host of bureaucratic roadblocks overthrow stresses the bringing down or destruction of existing power. violently overthrew the old regime

Examples of defeat in a Sentence

Verb We must be ready to defeat our enemies in battle. Our candidate defeated him in the last election. She finally found a solution to a problem that had defeated many other researchers. The bill was defeated in the state senate. Scientists from around the world are working to defeat the disease. Noun We weren't prepared for defeat. One small error could make the difference between success and defeat. After several tries we were forced to accept defeat. They celebrated their defeat of the enemy.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb What’s implicit in this recognition is the idea that the specter of global economic violence must be met with a corresponding mobilization of the workers of the world to defeat it. Chris Lehmann, The New Republic, 15 Sep. 2021 There, a nation has been handed back to the terrorist forces that the West went to defeat in the first place. Christiane Amanpour, CNN, 11 Sep. 2021 But their most significant gains have been in the northern half of the country, a traditional stronghold of the U.S.-allied warlords who helped defeat them in 2001. Rahim Faiez And Kathy Gannon, USA TODAY, 5 July 2021 The history, Sniezko said, dates back to 1655 when the Swedish invaded the area of Jasna Gora but the Poles were able to defeat them. Alexandra Kukulka, chicagotribune.com, 13 Aug. 2021 Chris Collins would defeat her in the 2012 election. Ivan Pereira, ABC News, 11 Aug. 2021 The Democratic Town Committee is banking on longtime state Rep. Bobby Sanchez to defeat her, and nominated him this week in a 30-5 vote over Veronica DeLandro. Don Stacom, courant.com, 29 July 2021 There was no way to defeat them without the nuclear codes. BostonGlobe.com, 23 July 2021 In the face of the enormous threat Godspeed posed to Central City and the world, Barry (Grant Gustin) realized the only way to defeat him was to team up with the man who killed his mother. Chancellor Agard, EW.com, 21 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Democrats’ bill, if brought to the Senate floor, faces certain defeat. Jennifer Haberkorn, Los Angeles Times, 22 Sep. 2021 The club started the 2021 season with two straight wins, the first over Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys (31-29), which was followed by last weekend's defeat of the Atlanta Falcons (48-25). Jason Duaine Hahn, PEOPLE.com, 21 Sep. 2021 So for us, basically, it was seen at the level of Macron of course assuming this real loss, but also as a strategic defeat. Daniel Strauss, The New Republic, 21 Sep. 2021 Last week's closer-than-expected defeat of Tulsa again exposed holes in its defense and, more concerning, freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud struggled for most of the game. Erick Smith, USA TODAY, 20 Sep. 2021 Green Bay’s 35-point defeat marked its most lopsided loss in any game Rodgers has started. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, 20 Sep. 2021 But the awards gods have their own ideas, and Menzies’s victory in absentia bore an eerie resemblance to Anthony Hopkins’s uncomfortable defeat of Chadwick Boseman at this year’s Academy Awards. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, 20 Sep. 2021 But his reign ended in September 1870 when his reckless declaration of war against Prussia ended in a swift and humiliating defeat. Washington Post, 20 Sep. 2021 Some view such defeat as solely the responsibility of the driver do it. Brad Templeton, Forbes, 20 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'defeat.' 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 defeat

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Noun

1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for defeat

Verb

Middle English defeten, defaiten "to ruin, destroy, nullify," in part verbal derivative of defet "disfigured, null and void (in law)," borrowed from Anglo-French defait, defet, desfet, past participle of defaire, desfaire "to undo, put an end to, destroy, nullify," from de-, des- de- + faire "to do, make," going back to Latin facere; in part borrowed from Anglo-French defeter, derivative of defet — more at fact

Noun

in part noun derivative of defeat entry 1, in part borrowed from Middle French defaite, noun derivative from feminine of defait, past participle of defaire, desfaire "to undo, destroy, kill" — more at defeat entry 1

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Time Traveler for defeat

Time Traveler

The first known use of defeat was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near defeat

defeasible

defeat

defeatism

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Statistics for defeat

Last Updated

24 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Defeat.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/defeat. Accessed 25 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for defeat

defeat

verb

English Language Learners Definition of defeat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to win a victory over (someone or something) in a war, contest, game, etc.
: to cause (someone or something) to fail
: to control or overcome (something)

defeat

noun

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

: failure to succeed or to win
: the act of winning a victory over someone or something

defeat

verb
de·​feat | \ di-ˈfēt How to pronounce defeat (audio) \
defeated; defeating

Kids Definition of defeat

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to win victory over The champs defeated their rivals handily.
2 : to cause to fail or be destroyed The bill was defeated in Congress.

defeat

noun

Kids Definition of defeat (Entry 2 of 2)

: loss of a contest or battle

defeat

transitive verb
de·​feat

Legal Definition of defeat

1a : to render null third parties will defeat an attached but “unperfected” security interest— J. J. White and R. S. Summers
b : to prevent or undo the effectiveness or establishment of defeat jurisdiction defendant took stand and defeated intoxication defenseNational Law Journal
2a : to prevail over
b : to thwart the claim of defeat creditors an intent to defeat the surviving spouse of his…elective shareTennessee Code Annotated

Other Words from defeat

defeat noun

History and Etymology for defeat

Anglo-French defait, past participle of defaire to undo, defeat, from Old French deffaire desfaire, from de-, prefix marking reversal of action + faire to do

More from Merriam-Webster on defeat

Nglish: Translation of defeat for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of defeat for Arabic Speakers

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