\ 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 Rhamondre Stevenson swung out of pass protection and toward the sideline in the opening quarter last Sunday at Gillette Stadium, leaving Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch in the rearview on a gain of 14 yards. Oliver Thomas, Forbes, 22 Oct. 2021 Verizon reported a net gain of 429,000 postpaid phone connections. Drew Fitzgerald, WSJ, 21 Oct. 2021 Yet Oregon shed 200 jobs in September, compared to an average monthly gain of more than 10,000 jobs during the first eight months of 2021. Mike Rogoway | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 19 Oct. 2021 On third and 25 at their own 45-yard line with 31 seconds remaining, Prescott connected with Lamb up the middle, with Mills once again in coverage, for a gain of 24 yards., 17 Oct. 2021 Republicans need a net gain of just one seat to win the Senate majority in 2022. Fredreka Schouten And Alex Rogers, CNN, 15 Oct. 2021 The news that no extra supply is forthcoming pushed prices from $76 the day before the October 4 announcement, to $81 on October 6, a quick gain of 6%. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 14 Oct. 2021 The result, a gain of more than 20 yards on a carry by senior Andy Bowles, could have been much different if Moll hadn’t adjusted. Steve Reaven,, 14 Oct. 2021 Baric’s experiments, which the N.I.H. had determined were not gain-of-function, continued at the University of North Carolina. Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, 12 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Cowboys, though, were unable to get past the Iowa State 40-yard line, where the Cyclones held Brennan Presley short of the line to gain on fourth down thanks to a thunderous hit by safety Isheem Young. Travis Hines, USA TODAY, 24 Oct. 2021 The Panthers got to the St. Thomas 18-yard line on that drive, but a botched snap, a delay-of-game penalty and a pass that got tipped back to Norcius for a loss pushed Dillard far from the line to gain. Adam Lichtenstein,, 23 Oct. 2021 Defensively, the Blazers allowed Rice to gain 346 total yards, but held the Owls to a 6-for-16 showing on third-down conversions, 5-of-5 on fourth downs, and collected four sacks, seven tackles for loss and two turnovers. Evan Dudley, al, 23 Oct. 2021 CISOs should begin by benchmarking their awareness program to gain an understanding of the overall organization’s security posture. Sai Venkataraman, Forbes, 22 Oct. 2021 The child tax credit, however, has become embroiled in the battle to reduce the size of the bill to gain the approval of Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, both moderate Democrats who have demanded the package be slashed. Tami Luhby, CNN, 21 Oct. 2021 Instead of jumping into traditional weight lifting moves like shoulder presses, which could put too much load on the weakened joint, that person could do lower-impact moves like the bear crawl to more safely gain strength and stability. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, 21 Oct. 2021 Stephanie Yang attended the launch event to see how the company is diversifying its business to gain a foothold in the auto industry. Rebecca Elliott, WSJ, 20 Oct. 2021 Businesses are still scrambling to gain the attention of potential workers as unfilled jobs persist nearly everywhere — from warehouses to corporate offices — as a tight labor market shows no signs of easing. Ricardo Torres, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 19 Oct. 2021

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

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

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Last Updated

25 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for gain



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 : profit
: 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.


intransitive verb
\ 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

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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