the act of a person or thing that wins.
Usually winnings. something that is won, especially money.
  1. any opening by which coal is being or has been extracted.
  2. a bed of coal ready for mining.


that wins; successful or victorious, as in a contest: the winning team.
charming; engaging; pleasing: a winning child; a winning smile.

Origin of winning

1250–1300; Middle English (noun); see win1, -ing1, -ing2
Related formswin·ning·ly, adverbwin·ning·ness, nounun·win·ning, adjective

Synonyms for winning

5. captivating, attractive, winsome.

Antonyms for winning

1, 4. losing. 5. repulsive.



verb (used without object), won, win·ning.

to finish first in a race, contest, or the like.
to succeed by striving or effort: He applied for a scholarship and won.
to gain the victory; overcome an adversary: The home team won.
Slang. to be successful or competent and be acknowledged for it: My sister wins at getting the biggest bargains.Compare fail(def 9).

verb (used with object), won, win·ning.

to succeed in reaching (a place, condition, etc.), especially by great effort: They won the shore through a violent storm.
to get by effort, as through labor, competition, or conquest: He won his post after years of striving.
to gain (a prize, fame, etc.).
to be successful in (a game, battle, etc.).
to make (one's way), as by effort or ability.
to attain or reach (a point, goal, etc.).
to gain (favor, love, consent, etc.), as by qualities or influence.
to gain the favor, regard, or adherence of.
to gain the consent or support of; persuade (often followed by over): The speech won them over to our side.
to persuade to marry; gain in marriage.
British Mining.
  1. to obtain (ore, coal, etc.).
  2. to prepare (a vein, bed, mine, etc.) for working, by means of shafts or the like.


a victory, as in a game or horse race.
the position of the competitor who comes in first in a horse race, harness race, etc.Compare place(def 27b), show(def 27).
  1. a success, or something good: She was having a bad week, so she really needed a win.Compare fail(def 14a).
  2. the state or quality of being successful or good: There was so much win in last night’s episode!Compare fail(def 14b).


  1. successful or competent.Compare fail(def 19b).
  2. very good or of high quality; awesome: To hear him play, now that was win!Compare fail(def 19c).


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

Verb Phrases

win out, to win or succeed, especially over great odds; triumph: His finer nature finally won out.

Origin of win

before 900; Middle English winnen (v.), Old English winnan to work, fight, bear; cognate with German gewinnen, Old Norse vinna, Gothic winnan
Related formswin·na·ble, adjective

Synonyms for win

6. obtain, secure, acquire, achieve, reach, procure. See gain1. 13. convince.



verb (used with object), winned, win·ning. Scot. and North England.

to dry (hay, wood, etc.) by exposure to air and sun.

Origin of win

First recorded in 1550–60; perhaps variant of winnow Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for winning

Contemporary Examples of winning

Historical Examples of winning

British Dictionary definitions for winning



(of a person, character, etc) charming, engaging, or attractivewinning ways; a winning smile
gaining victorythe winning stroke


  1. a shaft or seam of coal
  2. the extraction of coal or ore from the ground
(plural) money, prizes, or valuables won, esp in gambling
Derived Formswinningly, adverbwinningness, noun



verb wins, winning or won

(intr) to achieve first place in a competition
(tr) to gain or receive (a prize, first place, etc) in a competition
(tr) to succeed in or gain (something) with an effortwe won recognition
win one's spurs
  1. to achieve recognition in some field of endeavour
  2. historyto be knighted
to gain victory or triumph in (a battle, argument, etc)
(tr) to earn or procure (a living, etc) by work
(tr) to take possession of, esp violently; capturethe Germans never won Leningrad
(when intr, foll by out, through, etc) to reach with difficulty (a desired condition or position) or become free, loose, etc, with effortthe boat won the shore; the boat won through to the shore
(tr) to turn someone into (a supporter, enemy, etc)you have just won an ally
(tr) to gain (the sympathy, loyalty, etc) of someone
(tr) to obtain (a woman, etc) in marriage
  1. to extract (ore, coal, etc) from a mine
  2. to extract (metal or other minerals) from ore
  3. to discover and make (a mineral deposit) accessible for mining
you can't win informal an expression of resignation after an unsuccessful attempt to overcome difficulties


informal a success, victory, or triumph
profit; winnings
the act or fact of reaching the finishing line or post first
See also win out
Derived Formswinnable, adjective

Word Origin for win

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



verb wins, winning, won or winned (tr) Irish, Scot and Northern English dialect

to dry (grain, hay, peat, etc) by exposure to sun and air
a less common word for winnow

Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for winning



fusion of Old English winnan "struggle for, work at, strive, fight," and gewinnan "to gain or succeed by struggling, to win," both from Proto-Germanic *wenwanan (cf. Old Saxon winnan, Old Norse vinna, Old Frisian winna, Dutch winnen "to gain, win," Danish vinde "to win," Old High German winnan "to strive, struggle, fight," German gewinnen "to gain, win," Gothic gawinnen "to suffer, toil"). Perhaps related to wish, or from PIE *van- "overcome, conquer." Related: Won; winning.

Sense of "to be victorious" is recorded from c.1300. Breadwinner preserves the sense of "toil" in Old English winnan. Phrase you can't win them all (1954) first attested in Raymond Chandler. Winningest is attested by 1804.



Old English winn "labor, strife, conflict," from the source of win (v.). Modern sense of "a victory in a game or contest" is first attested 1862, from the verb.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with winning


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.