verb (used with object)


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 for defeat

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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for undefeated

unbeaten, reigning, triumphant, winning, unconquered

Examples from the Web for undefeated

Contemporary Examples of undefeated

Historical Examples of undefeated

  • But there will be no peace for Europe while Germany remains an undefeated autocracy.

    The Devil's Paw

    E. Phillips Oppenheim

  • And then there was a defiance about his nostrils that showed he was undefeated.

    The Crossing

    Winston Churchill

  • But nevertheless you are a masculine being, strong and undefeated.

  • Jack snorted, but Sarella, undefeated, proceeded to put the case of his being ill.


    John Ayscough

  • Meanwhile the poet in 1833 went on quietly and undefeated with his work.

    Alfred Tennyson

    Andrew Lang

British Dictionary definitions for undefeated



not having been defeatedthe undefeated champion


verb (tr)

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
Derived Formsdefeater, noun

Word Origin for defeat

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 undefeated

1701, from un- (1) "not" + past participle of defeat (v.).



1590s, from 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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper