[ win ]
See synonyms for: winwinningwon on

verb (used without object),won, win·ning.
  1. to finish first in a race, contest, or the like: My story won in the short fiction category.

  2. to gain the victory; overcome an adversary: The home team won.

  1. to succeed by striving or effort: He applied for a scholarship and won.

  2. Slang. to be successful or competent and be acknowledged for it: My sister wins at finding the best bargains.: Compare fail (def. 9).

verb (used with object),won, win·ning.
  1. to gain (a prize, fame, etc.): She won a million dollars in the lottery.

  2. to be victorious or successful in (a game, race, battle, etc.): The Toronto Blue Jays won the World Series two years in a row.

  1. to obtain or earn (a point or goal); score: You win 10 bonus points if you play all your cards in the same turn.Our team won two goals in the first five minutes!

  2. to get by effort, as through labor, competition, or conquest: He won his post after years of striving.

  3. to gain (favor, love, consent, etc.), as by qualities or influence: You will win the kids’ respect if you take them seriously.

  4. to gain the favor, regard, or adherence of: The candidate won younger voters with his proposal on tuition aid.

  5. to gain the consent or support of; persuade (often followed by over): The speech won them over to our side.

  6. to succeed in reaching (a place, condition, etc.), especially by great effort: They won the shore through a violent storm.

  7. to persuade to marry; gain in marriage.

  8. British Mining.

    • to obtain (ore, coal, etc.).

    • to prepare (a vein, bed, mine, etc.) for working, by means of shafts or the like.

  1. a victory, as in a game or horse race: The Flames have had only two wins in the whole season.

  2. the position of the competitor who comes in first in a horse race, harness race, etc.: Compare place (def. 27b), show (def. 27).

  1. Slang.

    • a success, or something good: She was having a bad week, so she really needed a win.: Compare fail (def. 14a).

    • the state or quality of being successful or good: There was so much win in last night’s episode!: Compare fail (def. 14b).

  1. Slang.

    • successful or competent: She got accepted for publication on her first try—I call that a win person!: Compare fail (def. 19b).

    • very good or of high quality; awesome: To hear him play, now that was win!Those movers we hired did such a win job with our stuff.: Compare fail (def. 19c).

  1. Slang. (used to acknowledge success, competence, etc.): I just got tickets to the concert. Win!

Verb Phrases
  1. win out, to win or succeed, especially over great odds; triumph: His better nature finally won out.

Idioms about win

  1. for the win, Slang. (used to express enthusiasm for someone or something that is very good, likely to succeed, etc.): A plant-based diet, for the win!

  2. win one's way, to advance or succeed, as by ability or effort: The battalion won its way at great cost.Your original ideas have won their way in a field where it is difficult to say anything new.

  1. win the internet. internet (def. 3).

Origin of win

First recorded before 900; Middle English verb winnen, win(ne) “to strive, exert effort,” Old English winnan “to labor, work, fight, bear”; cognate with German gewinnen, Old Norse vinna, Gothic winnan

synonym study For win

8. See gain1.

Other words for win

Other words from win

  • win·na·ble, adjective

Other definitions for win (2 of 2)

[ win ]

verb (used with object),winned, win·ning.Scot. and North England.
  1. to dry (hay, wood, etc.) by exposure to air and sun.

Origin of win

First recorded in 1550–60; etymology uncertain; perhaps variant of winnow Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use win in a sentence

  • The correct English preterite, won, is still in use, but against it are arrayed wan and winned.

    The American Language | Henry L. Mencken

British Dictionary definitions for win (1 of 2)


/ (wɪn) /

verbwins, winning or won
  1. (intr) to achieve first place in a competition

  2. (tr) to gain or receive (a prize, first place, etc) in a competition

  1. (tr) to succeed in or gain (something) with an effort: we won recognition

  2. win one's spurs

    • to achieve recognition in some field of endeavour

    • history to be knighted

  3. to gain victory or triumph in (a battle, argument, etc)

  4. (tr) to earn or procure (a living, etc) by work

  5. (tr) to take possession of, esp violently; capture: the Germans never won Leningrad

  6. (when intr, foll by out, through, etc) to reach with difficulty (a desired condition or position) or become free, loose, etc, with effort: the boat won the shore; the boat won through to the shore

  7. (tr) to turn someone into (a supporter, enemy, etc): you have just won an ally

  8. (tr) to gain (the sympathy, loyalty, etc) of someone

  9. (tr) to obtain (a woman, etc) in marriage

  10. (tr)

    • to extract (ore, coal, etc) from a mine

    • to extract (metal or other minerals) from ore

    • to discover and make (a mineral deposit) accessible for mining

  11. you can't win informal an expression of resignation after an unsuccessful attempt to overcome difficulties

  1. informal a success, victory, or triumph

  2. profit; winnings

  1. the act or fact of reaching the finishing line or post first

Origin of win

Old English winnan; related to Old Norse vinna, German gewinnen

Derived forms of win

  • winnable, adjective

British Dictionary definitions for win (2 of 2)


/ (wɪn) /

verbwins, winning, won or winned (tr) Irish, Scot and Northern English dialect
  1. to dry (grain, hay, peat, etc) by exposure to sun and air

  2. a less common word for winnow

Origin of win

Old English, perhaps a variant of winnow

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with win


In addition to the idioms beginning with win

  • win by a nose
  • wind down
  • wind up
  • wine and dine
  • wing it
  • win hands down
  • winning streak
  • win one's spurs
  • win on points
  • win out
  • win over
  • win some, lose some
  • win through

also see:

  • (win) hands down
  • no-win situation
  • slow but sure (steady wins the race)
  • you can't win
  • you can't win 'em all

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.