English edit

Pronunciation edit

  • IPA(key): /dɪˈfiːt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːt

Etymology 1 edit

From Middle English defeten, from Middle English defet (disfigured, past participle) and defet (defect, noun), see Etymology 2 below.

Verb edit

defeat (third-person singular simple present defeats, present participle defeating, simple past and past participle defeated)

  1. (transitive) To overcome in battle or contest.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:defeat
    Wellington defeated Napoleon at Waterloo.
    • 1917, Samuel Couling, “Japanese Relations with China”, in The Encyclopaedia Sinica[1], Literature House, Ltd., published 1964, →OCLC, page 255, column 2:
      The Japanese defeated the Ming general Tsu Chʻeng-hsün 祖承訓 at Pʻing jang 平壤 in 1592, the first year of Bunroku 文祿 of Japan, and the fighting continued for some years; but at Hideyoshi's death the Japanese troops left Korea.
    • 1980 August 1 [1980 May 1], Ching-kuo Chiang, “President Chiang Ching-kuo continues his period of mourning and finds that visits to countryside and people give him renewed strength”, in Taiwan Today[2], archived from the original on 17 May 2020:
      My personal success or failure is insignificant; the rise or fall of the nation is my responsibility and must not be shirked. Upon introspection, I feel I am firmer than ever in confidence that the Communists will be defeated. These are feelings which will comfort Father's soul in Heaven.
  2. (transitive) To reduce, to nothing, the strength of.
    • 1664, John Tillotson, “Sermon I. The Wisdom of Being Religious. Job XXVIII. 28.”, in The Works of the Most Reverend Dr. John Tillotson, Late Lord Archbishop of Canterbury: [], 8th edition, London: [] T. Goodwin, B[enjamin] Tooke, and J. Pemberton, []; J. Round [], and J[acob] Tonson] [], published 1720, →OCLC:
      He finds himself naturally to dread a superior Being that can defeat all his designs, and disappoint all his hopes.
    • 1879, Adolphus Ward, “Chaucer”, in English Men of Letters:
      In one instance he defeated his own purpose.
  3. (transitive) To nullify
    • 1827, Henry Hallam, The Constitutional History of England from the Accession of Henry VII. to the Death of George II. [], volumes (please specify |volume=I or II), London: John Murray, [], →OCLC:
      The escheators [] defeated the right heir of his succession.
  4. To prevent (something) from being achieved.
    • 1962 January, “Motive Power Miscellany: London Midland Region: Central Lines”, in Modern Railways, page 60:
      The last active L.Y.R. 0-6-0ST (apart from works shunters), No. 51408, has been moved from Bolton to Agecroft for use in New Bailey Yard, Salford, where a sharp 1 in 27 curve is said to have defeated all attempts so far to employ diesel shunters; an ex-L.Y.R. 0-4-0ST also works here.
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Etymology 2 edit

From Middle English defet, from French deffet, desfait, past participle of the verb desfaire (compare modern French défaire), from des- + faire.

Noun edit

defeat (countable and uncountable, plural defeats)

  1. The act or instance of being defeated, of being overcome or vanquished; a loss.
    Licking their wounds after a temporary defeat, they planned their next move.
    • 2012 May 13, Alistair Magowan, “Sunderland 0-1 Man Utd”, in BBC Sport[3]:
      Two defeats in five games coming into this contest, and a draw with Everton, ultimately cost Sir Alex Ferguson's side in what became the most extraordinary finale to the league championship since Arsenal beat Liverpool at Anfield in 1989.
  2. The act or instance of defeating, of overcoming, vanquishing.
    The inscription records her defeat of the country's enemies in a costly war.
  3. Frustration (by prevention of success), stymieing; (law) nullification.
    • 1909, The Southern Reporter, page 250:
      ... is subsequently issued to him, in accordance with his perfect equity thus acquired, by a legal fiction which the law creates for the protection, but not for the defeat, of his title.
    • 2008, Gene Porter, A Daughter of the Land, volume 1, →ISBN, page 17:
      She could see no justice in being forced into a position that promised to end in further humiliation and defeat of her hopes.
  4. (obsolete) Destruction, ruin.
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The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Anagrams edit