What does defeat mean?

Definitions for defeat

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word defeat.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. defeat, lickingnoun

    an unsuccessful ending to a struggle or contest

    "it was a narrow defeat"; "the army's only defeat"; "they suffered a convincing licking"

  2. frustration, defeatverb

    the feeling that accompanies an experience of being thwarted in attaining your goals

  3. get the better of, overcome, defeatverb

    win a victory over

    "You must overcome all difficulties"; "defeat your enemies"; "He overcame his shyness"; "He overcame his infirmity"; "Her anger got the better of her and she blew up"

  4. kill, shoot down, defeat, vote down, vote outverb

    thwart the passage of

    "kill a motion"; "he shot down the student's proposal"


  1. defeatnoun

    The act of defeating or being defeated

  2. defeatverb

    To overcome in battle or contest.

    Wellington defeated Napoleon at Waterloo.

  3. defeatverb

    To destroy, ruin, undo, lay waste to.

  4. defeatverb

    To nullify; to reduce, to nothing, the strength of.

  5. Etymology: from desfait, from the verb desfaire des + faciō (to unmake).

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. DEFEATnoun

    Etymology: from defaire, French.

    End Marlb’rough’s work, and finish the defeat. Addison.

    A king, upon whose life
    A damn’d defeat was made. William Shakespeare, Hamlet.

  2. To Defeatverb

    Etymology: from the noun.

    Ye gods, ye make the weak most strong;
    Therein, ye gods, ye tyrants do defeat. William Shakespeare, Jul. Cæsar.

    They invaded Ireland, and were defeated by the lord Mountjoy. Francis Bacon, on the War with Spain.

    To his accusations
    He pleaded still not guilty, and alleg’d
    Many sharp reasons to defeat the law. William Shakespeare, Henry VIII.

    Then due by sentence when thou did’st transgress,
    Defeated of his seizure, many days,
    Giv’n thee of grace. John Milton, Paradise Lost, b. i. l. 254.

    Discover’d, and defeated of your prey,
    You skulk’d. John Dryden, Virg. Past. 3.

    He finds himself naturally to dread a superior Being, that can defeat all his designs, and disappoint all his hopes. John Tillotson.


  1. defeat

    Defeat is the act of being beaten or subdued in a competition, conflict, or struggle. It refers to the state of losing against an opponent, whether in a literal game, battle, or any form of contest, or metaphorically in terms of failing to achieve a goal or objective. It is the opposite of victory or success.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Defeatverb

    to undo; to disfigure; to destroy

  2. Defeatverb

    to render null and void, as a title; to frustrate, as hope; to deprive, as of an estate

  3. Defeatverb

    to overcome or vanquish, as an army; to check, disperse, or ruin by victory; to overthrow

  4. Defeatverb

    to resist with success; as, to defeat an assault

  5. Defeat

    an undoing or annulling; destruction

  6. Defeat

    frustration by rendering null and void, or by prevention of success; as, the defeat of a plan or design

  7. Defeat

    an overthrow, as of an army in battle; loss of a battle; repulse suffered; discomfiture; -- opposed to victory

  8. Etymology: [Cf. F. dfaite, fr. dfaire. See Defeat, v.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Defeat

    de-fēt′, v.t. to frustrate: to ruin.—n. a frustration of plans: ruin: overthrow, as of an army in battle.—n. Defeat′ure (Spens.), defeat: disfigurement, disguise. [O. Fr. defait, defaire, to undo—L. dis, neg. facĕre, to do.]

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. defeat

    This word expresses the complete want of success of an army; a repulse signifying less, and a rout more, than defeat.

  2. defeat

    To resist with success; as, to defeat an assault.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'defeat' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #3245

  2. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'defeat' in Nouns Frequency: #1306

  3. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'defeat' in Verbs Frequency: #623

How to pronounce defeat?

How to say defeat in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of defeat in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of defeat in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of defeat in a Sentence

  1. Debasish Mridha, M.D.:

    I can't defeat anyone except my past and transcend to be better.

  2. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus:

    The bottom line is solidarity, solidarity, solidarity. That is especially true in relation to sharing of samples and sequences, to defeat this outbreak, we need open and equitable sharing, according to the principles of fairness and equity.

  3. Norman Vincent Peale:

    Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure. The way you think about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it. You are overcome by the fact because you think you are.

  4. Pete Buttigieg:

    This is our only chance to defeat Donald Trump. And we shouldn't try to do it with one hand tied behind our back.

  5. Stephen Hanse:

    From the onset of this pandemic, nursing homes and assisted living providers have been on the front lines of the battle, the only way we will defeat this virus is working together with the State to ensure all nursing homes and assisted living providers are afforded the necessary resources to accomplish this goal. Hanse added : The States action today acknowledges the concerns providers voiced over the March 25thDepartment of Health advisory and we must continue to work together to implement solutions to assist long-term care providers. We are all in this together, and together, all of our actions must be directed at safeguarding our most vulnerable and lead us to overcome our present circumstances and create a stronger and safer future. Previously, Cuomo has seemed dismissive and resigned to defeat when asked about his state leading the nation in nursing-home deaths. Of the nations more than 26,000 coronavirus deaths in nursing homes and long-term care facilities, a fifth of them about 5,300 are in New York, according to a count by The Associated Press, and the toll has been increasing by an average of 20 to 25 deaths a day for the past few weeks.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for defeat

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for defeat »


Find a translation for the defeat definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"defeat." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 4 Mar. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/defeat>.

Discuss these defeat definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for defeat? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    an outward bevel around a door or window that makes it seem larger
    • A. splay
    • B. tenebrous
    • C. usurious
    • D. commensal

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for defeat: