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defeat

[dih-feet]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to overcome in a contest, election, battle, etc.; prevail over; vanquish: They defeated the enemy. She defeated her brother at tennis.
  2. to frustrate; thwart.
  3. to eliminate or deprive of something expected: The early returns defeated his hopes of election.
  4. Law. to annul.
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noun
  1. the act of overcoming in a contest: an overwhelming defeat of all opposition.
  2. an instance of defeat; setback: He considered his defeat a personal affront.
  3. an overthrow or overturning; vanquishment: the defeat of a government.
  4. a bringing to naught; frustration: the defeat of all his hopes and dreams.
  5. the act or event of being bested; losing: Defeat is not something she abides easily.
  6. Archaic. undoing; destruction; ruin.
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Origin of defeat

1325–75; Middle English defeten (v.) < Anglo-French, Old French desfait, past participle of desfaire to undo, destroy < Medieval Latin disfacere, equivalent to Latin dis- dis-1 + facere to do
Related formsde·feat·er, nounnon·de·feat, nounpre·de·feat, noun, verbqua·si-de·feat·ed, adjectivere·de·feat, verb, nounun·de·feat·ed, adjectiveun·de·feat·ed·ly, adverbun·de·feat·ed·ness, noun

Synonyms

See more synonyms for defeat on Thesaurus.com
1. overwhelm, overthrow, rout, check. 2. foil, baffle, balk. 7. downfall.

Synonym study

1. Defeat, conquer, overcome, subdue imply gaining a victory or control over an opponent. Defeat suggests beating or frustrating: to defeat an enemy in battle. Conquer implies finally gaining control over, usually after a series of efforts or against systematic resistance: to conquer a country, one's inclinations. Overcome emphasizes surmounting difficulties in prevailing over an antagonist: to overcome opposition, bad habits. Subdue means to conquer so completely that resistance is broken: to subdue a rebellious spirit.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for defeater

defeat

verb (tr)
  1. to overcome in a contest or competition; win a victory over
  2. to thwart or frustratethis accident has defeated all his hopes of winning
  3. law to render null and void; annul
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noun
  1. the act of defeating or state of being defeated
  2. an instance of defeat
  3. overthrow or destruction
  4. law an annulment
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Derived Formsdefeater, noun

Word Origin

C14: from Old French desfait, from desfaire to undo, ruin, from des- dis- 1 + faire to do, from Latin facere
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for defeater

defeat

n.

1590s, from defeat (v.).

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defeat

v.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper