\ 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 Some studies have found weight gain among adults and children during COVID-19, which research has tied to stress and more sedentary lifestyles, among other factors. Emma Court,, 16 Sep. 2021 In addition, those that remained in the market benefitted from the S&P 500 16.26% annual gain, which would necessitate further rebalancing as a result. Francois Botha, Forbes, 16 Sep. 2021 An out-and-back hike is about 8 miles, with a modest 1,564 feet in elevation gain. oregonlive, 15 Sep. 2021 On Wall Street, the S&P 500 lost 0.6% to 4,443.05, giving up the previous day's gain, after the government reported consumer prices in August rose 0.3% over the previous month. Joe Mcdonald, ajc, 15 Sep. 2021 In the Senate, the GOP needs only a one-seat gain to take control. Mabinty Quarshie, USA TODAY, 14 Sep. 2021 What might be a losing business model is a wine lover’s gain. Sara L. Schneider, Robb Report, 13 Sep. 2021 Then there are withdrawals from traditional brokerage accounts; they will be taxed but can qualify for long-term capital-gain rates that run 15% for most people. Russ Wiles, The Arizona Republic, 12 Sep. 2021 Alaska is required, under state and federal law, to redraw legislative districts after every U.S. Census in order to accommodate population gain and loss in different parts of the state. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, 10 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In the wake of ongoing, tumultuous changes to the music industry being wrought by technology and the COVID-19 pandemic, BW and Kaboom each have much to gain from working together. Zachary Lewis, cleveland, 16 Sep. 2021 Positive energy balance — more calories consumed than expended — is a description of what happens when people gain weight. Gary Taubes, STAT, 16 Sep. 2021 From 1,000 feet in the air, the two were able to enjoy the breeze and gain some perspective. Miriam Marini, Detroit Free Press, 14 Sep. 2021 Democrats who already hold supermajorities in the Oregon Legislature would likely gain an edge in additional districts under plans put forward by House and Senate Democrats, The Oregonian/OregonLive’s analysis found. oregonlive, 14 Sep. 2021 To shop the sale, just enter your email address to gain access and start adding your favorite pieces to your Lilly tote (aka shopping cart). Alex Warner,, 13 Sep. 2021 But the companies’ recommendation algorithms also promote the most engaging content, which means controversial posts about the virus and vaccines often gain traction. Ashley Fetters And Gerrit De Vynck, Anchorage Daily News, 13 Sep. 2021 These experiences have given me the opportunity to meet and gain a unique insight into the hidden heroes of the B-2 program—the workers who build her, those who maintain her, and those who fly her. Jeff Bolton, Popular Mechanics, 13 Sep. 2021 Companies set up and expanded programs to help writers, directors, crew workers and aspiring executives gain exposure and experience. Greg Braxton, Los Angeles Times, 13 Sep. 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

19 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Gain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 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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