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See also: Gain, gain-, and ga in




Etymology 1Edit

From dialectal English gen, gin, short for again, agen (against); also Middle English gayn, gein, ȝæn (against), from Old English gēan, geġn (against). More at against.



  1. (obsolete) Against.
Derived termsEdit

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English gayn, gein, geyn (straight, direct, short, fit, good), from Old Norse gegn (straight, direct, short, ready, serviceable, kindly), from gegn (opposite, against, adverb) (whence gagna (to go against, meet, suit, be meet)); see below at gain. Adverb from Middle English gayne (fitly, quickly), from the adjective.


gain (comparative more gain, superlative most gain)

  1. (obsolete) Straight, direct; near; short.
    the gainest way
  2. (obsolete) Suitable; convenient; ready.
  3. (dialectal) Easy; tolerable; handy, dexterous.
  4. (dialectal) Honest; respectable; moderate; cheap.
Derived termsEdit


gain (comparative more gain, superlative most gain)

  1. (obsolete) Straightly; quickly; by the nearest way or means.
  2. (dialectal) Suitably; conveniently; dexterously; moderately.
  3. (dialectal) Tolerably; fairly.
    gain quiet (= fairly/pretty quiet)

Etymology 3Edit

From Middle English gain, gein (profit, advantage), from Old Norse gagn (benefit, advantage, use), from Proto-Germanic *gagną, *gaganą (gain, profit", literally "return), from Proto-Germanic *gagana (back, against, in return), a reduplication of Proto-Germanic *ga- (with, together), from Proto-Indo-European *kom (next to, at, with, along). Cognate with Icelandic gagn (gain, advantage, use), Swedish gagn (benefit, profit), Danish gavn (gain, profit, success), Gothic 𐌲𐌰𐌲𐌴𐌹𐌲𐌰𐌽 (gageigan, to gain, profit), Old Norse gegn (ready), Swedish dialectal gen (useful, noteful), Latin cum (with); see gain-, again, against. Compare also Middle English gainen (to be of use, profit, avail), Icelandic and Swedish gagna (to avail, help), Danish gavne (to benefit).

The Middle English word was reinforced by Middle French gain (gain, profit, advancement, cultivation), from Old French gaaing, gaaigne, gaigne, a noun derivative of gaaignier (to till, earn, win), from Frankish *waidanjan (to pasture, graze, hunt for food), ultimately from Proto-Germanic *waiþiz, *waiþī, *waiþō, *waiþijō (pasture, field, hunting ground); compare Old High German weidōn, weidanōn (to hunt, forage for food) (Modern German Weide (pasture)), Old Norse veiða (to catch, hunt), Old English wǣþan (to hunt, chase, pursue). Related to wathe, wide.


gain (countable and uncountable, plural gains)

  1. The act of gaining; acquisition.
    • Tennyson
      the lust of gain
  2. What is gained.
    • No loss, no gain. To gain, one has to lose. ― Li Hongzhi, Zhuan Falun
    • Shakespeare
      Everyone shall share in the gains.
  3. (electronics) The factor by which a signal is multiplied.

Derived termsEdit

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.
Derived termsEdit


gain (third-person singular simple present gains, present participle gaining, simple past and past participle gained)

  1. (transitive) To acquire possession of.
    Looks like you've gained a new friend.
    • Bible, Matthew xvi. 26
      What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
    • Alexander Pope
      For fame with toil we gain, but lose with ease.
  2. (intransitive) To have or receive advantage or profit; to acquire gain; to grow rich; to advance in interest, health, or happiness; to make progress.
    The sick man gains daily.
    • Bible, Ezekiel xxii. 12
      Thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbours by extortion.
  3. (transitive, dated) To come off winner or victor in; to be successful in; to obtain by competition.
    to gain a battle; to gain a case at law
  4. (transitive) To increase.
  5. (intransitive) To be more likely to catch or overtake an individual.
    I'm gaining (on you).
    gain ground
  6. (transitive) To reach.
    to gain the top of a mountain
    • 1907, Jack London, The Iron Heel:
      Ernest laughed harshly and savagely when he had gained the street.
  7. To draw into any interest or party; to win to one's side; to conciliate.
    • Bible, Matthew xviii. 15
      If he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
    • Dryden
      to gratify the queen, and gain the court
  8. (intransitive) To put on weight.
    I've been gaining.
  9. (of a clock or watch) To run fast.

Etymology 4Edit

Compare Welsh gan (a mortise).


gain (plural gains)

  1. (architecture) A square or bevelled notch cut out of a girder, binding joist, or other timber which supports a floor beam, so as to receive the end of the floor beam.





  1. summit



From Middle French gain, from Old French gaaing, from the verb gaaignier (to earn, gain, seize, conquer by force), from Old Frankish *waidanjan (to graze, forage, hunt), from Proto-Germanic *waiþō (a hunt, pasture, food), from Proto-Indo-European *weye- (to go, seek, crave, hunt, desire, drive). Cognate with Old High German weidanōn (to hunt, chase), German Weide (pasture, pasturage). Compare also related Old French gain (harvest time, revival), from Old Frankish *waida (income, food, fodder) (whence French regain), from the same Germanic source.



gain m (plural gains)

  1. (usually in the plural) winnings, earnings, takings
  2. (finance) gain, yield

Further readingEdit

Middle FrenchEdit


Old French gaaing.


gain m (plural gains)

  1. income (financial)
    • 15th century, Rustichello da Pisa (original author), Mazarine Master (scribe), The Travels of Marco Polo, page 19, line 16:
      et donnoit chascun iour de son gaaing pour Dieu
      and every day he gave away some of his income for God



  • gain on Dictionnaire du Moyen Français (1330-1500) (in French)





  1. Soft mutation of cain.


Welsh mutation
radical soft nasal aspirate
cain gain nghain chain
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.