Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Old French desfait, from the verb desfaire (compare modern French défaire), from des- + faire, or possibly from Vulgar Latin disfaciō, disfacere (unmake), from Latin dis- + faciō.


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


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

  1. (transitive) To overcome in battle or contest.
    Wellington defeated Napoleon at Waterloo.
  2. (transitive) To reduce, to nothing, the strength of.
    • (Can we date this quote by Tillotson and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      He finds himself naturally to dread a superior Being that can defeat all his designs, and disappoint all his hopes.
    • (Can we date this quote by A. W. Ward and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      In one instance he defeated his own purpose.
  3. (transitive) To nullify
    • (Can we date this quote by Hallam and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      The escheators [] defeated the right heir of his succession.

Derived terms[edit]



Related terms[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[1]:
      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.



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.