- to overcome in a contest, election, battle, etc.; prevail over; vanquish: They defeated the enemy. She defeated her brother at tennis.
- to frustrate; thwart.
- to eliminate or deprive of something expected: The early returns defeated his hopes of election.
- Law. to annul.
- the act of overcoming in a contest: an overwhelming defeat of all opposition.
- an instance of defeat; setback: He considered his defeat a personal affront.
- an overthrow or overturning; vanquishment: the defeat of a government.
- a bringing to naught; frustration: the defeat of all his hopes and dreams.
- the act or event of being bested; losing: Defeat is not something she abides easily.
- Archaic. undoing; destruction; ruin.
Origin of defeat
SynonymsSee more synonyms for defeat on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for defeat
He rebuffed calls to institute the death penalty, and his last term as governor ended in his defeat.Mario Cuomo, a Frustrating Hero to Democrats, Is Dead at 82
January 2, 2015
After the defeat of ISIS in Sinjar, most other locals have been left wondering who might rule the city in the near future.Has the Kurdish Victory at Sinjar Turned the Tide of ISIS War?
December 27, 2014
That defeat was driven largely by Romney losing women voters by an insurmountable 11 points.Surprise! The GOP Closed the Gender Gap
December 10, 2014
In recent days, there has been a subtle feeling of defeat permeating through the camp.The Monuments Men of Occupy Hong Kong
December 4, 2014
But it certainly contributed, and purposely so, to the defeat of the tough Likud hardliner Yitzhak Shamir in 1992.The Inside Story of U.S. Meddling in Israel’s Elections
Aaron David Miller
December 4, 2014
Then there came upon him to reinforce this want a burning sense of defeat.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
In my lifetime—in depression and in war—they have awaited our defeat.
You know what you have to expect from the Syracusans, if this last struggle should end in defeat.Stories from Thucydides
H. L. Havell
Yes, they were wolves leaping at the throat of her father, and joying in the defeat of Lucretia.
Lucretia's defeat in the Handicap had increased his despondency.
- to overcome in a contest or competition; win a victory over
- to thwart or frustratethis accident has defeated all his hopes of winning
- law to render null and void; annul
- the act of defeating or state of being defeated
- an instance of defeat
- overthrow or destruction
- law an annulment
Word Origin and History for defeat
late 14c., from Anglo-French defeter, from Old French desfait, past participle of desfaire "to undo," from Vulgar Latin *diffacere "undo, destroy," from Latin dis- "un-, not" (see dis-) + facere "to do, perform" (see factitious). Original sense was of "bring ruination, cause destruction." Military sense of "conquer" is c.1600. Related: Defeated; defeating.
1590s, from defeat (v.).