verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)



    gain ground, to progress or advance, as in value, strength, or achievement: The company's new products are gaining ground in suburban areas.
    gain time, to arrange a postponement or delay for a particular purpose, especially by roundabout means.

Origin of gain

1425–75; late Middle English (noun) < Middle French, contraction of Old French gaaing, noun derivative of gaaignier to till, earn, win < Germanic; compare Old High German weidanōn to hunt, forage for food
Related formsgain·a·ble, adjectiveun·gain·a·ble, adjective

Synonyms for gain

1. procure. Gain, attain, earn, win imply obtaining a reward or something advantageous. Gain carries the least suggestion of method or of effort expended. Attain emphasizes the reaching of a goal. Earn emphasizes the exertions and labor expended that deserve reward. Win emphasizes attainment in spite of competition or opposition. 7. attain. 13. addition, increment, acquisition.

Antonyms for gain

1. lose.




a notch, dado, or mortise cut into a piece of wood, as to receive another piece or to house a flap of a hinge.
a short rabbet, for receiving a flap of a butt hinge.

verb (used with object)

to make a gain or gains in.
to fasten or support by means of a gain.

Origin of gain

1670–80; perhaps akin to obsolete gane, Old English (north) ganian to yawn, open Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gain

Contemporary Examples of gain

Historical Examples of gain

British Dictionary definitions for gain




(tr) to acquire (something desirable); obtain
(tr) to win in competitionto gain the victory
to increase, improve, or advancethe car gained speed; the shares gained in value
(tr) to earn (a wage, living, etc)
(intr; usually foll by on or upon)
  1. to get nearer (to) or catch up (on)
  2. to get farther away (from)
(tr) (esp of ships) to get to; reachthe steamer gained port
(of a timepiece) to operate too fast, so as to indicate a time ahead of the true time or to run fast by a specified amountthis watch gains; it gains ten minutes a day
gain ground to make progress or obtain an advantage
gain time
  1. to obtain extra time by a delay or postponement
  2. (of a timepiece) to operate too fast


something won, acquired, earned, etc; profit; advantage
an increase in size, amount, etc
the act of gaining; attainment; acquisition
Also called: amplification electronics the ratio of the output signal of an amplifier to the input signal, usually measured in decibels
See also gains
Derived Formsgainable, adjective

Word Origin for gain

C15: from Old French gaaignier, of Germanic origin; related to Old High German weidenen to forage, hunt




a notch, mortise, or groove, esp one cut to take the flap of a butt hinge


(tr) to cut a gain or gains in

Word Origin for gain

C17: of obscure origin


n acronym for (in Canada)

Guaranteed Annual Income
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 gain

late 15c., from Middle French gain, from Old French gaaigne "gain, profit, advantage; booty; arable land" (12c.), from gaaignier "to gain" (see gain (v.)). The original French sense enfolded the notions of "profit from agriculture" and "booty, prey." Implied earlier in Middle English gaignage (late 14c.) "profit from agriculture."


1520s, from Middle French gagner, from Old French gaaignier "to earn, gain; trade; capture, win," also "work in the fields, cultivate land," from Frankish *waidanjan "hunt, forage," also "graze, pasture," from Proto-Germanic *wartho "hunting ground" (cf. Old English waþ "hunting," German Weide "pasture, pasturage," Old Norse veiðr "hunting, catch of fish"), from PIE *weie- "to strive after, pursue with vigor, desire" (see venison). Related: Gained; gaining. To gain on "advance nearer" is from 1719. To gain ground (1620s) was originally military.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

gain in Medicine




An increase in amount or degree.
Progress; advancement.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with gain


In addition to the idiom beginning with gain

  • gain ground

also see:

  • ill-gotten gains
  • no pain, no gain
  • nothing ventured, nothing gained
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.