Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To come into possession or use of; acquire: gained a small fortune in real estate; gained vital information about the enemy's plans.
  • transitive v. To attain in competition or struggle; win: gained a decisive victory; gained control of the company.
  • transitive v. To obtain through effort or merit; achieve: gain recognition; gain a hearing for the proposal.
  • transitive v. To secure as profit or reward; earn: gain a living; gain extra credits in school.
  • transitive v. To manage to achieve an increase of: a movement that gained strength; gained wisdom with age.
  • transitive v. To increase by (a specific amount): gained 15 pounds; the market gained 30 points.
  • transitive v. To come to; reach: gained the top of the mountain. See Synonyms at reach.
  • transitive v. To become fast by (a specified amount of time). Used of a timepiece: My watch gains four minutes a day.
  • intransitive v. To increase; grow: gained in experience and maturity; a painting that gained in value.
  • intransitive v. To become better; improve: gaining in health.
  • intransitive v. To obtain a profit or advantage; benefit: stood to gain politically by his opponent's blunder.
  • intransitive v. To close a gap; get closer: The runners in the back gained steadily on the leader.
  • intransitive v. To increase a lead.
  • intransitive v. To put on weight: I began to gain when I went off my diet.
  • intransitive v. To operate or run fast. Used of a timepiece.
  • n. Something gained or acquired: territorial gains.
  • n. Progress; advancement: The country made economic gains under the new government.
  • n. The act of acquiring; attainment.
  • n. An increase in amount or degree: a gain in operating income.
  • n. Electronics An increase in signal power, voltage, or current by an amplifier, expressed as the ratio of output to input. Also called amplification.
  • idiom gain ground To progress, advance, or increase: Stock prices gained ground yesterday.
  • idiom gain time To run too fast. Used of a timepiece.
  • idiom gain time To delay or prolong something until a desired event occurs.
  • n. A notch or mortise cut into a board to receive another part.
  • transitive v. To cut out a gain in.
  • transitive v. To join by or fit into a gain.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Straight, direct; near; short.
  • adj. Suitable; convenient; ready.
  • adj. Easy; tolerable; handy, dexterous.
  • adj. Honest; respectable; moderate; cheap.
  • adv. Straightly; quickly; by the nearest way or means.
  • adv. Suitably; conveniently; dexterously; moderately.
  • adv. Tolerably; fairly.
  • n. The act of gaining.
  • n. What one gains, as a return on investment or dividend.
  • n. The factor by which a signal is multiplied.
  • v. To acquire possession of what one did not have before.
  • v. To increase.
  • v. To be more likely to catch or overtake an individual.
  • v. To reach.
  • v. To put on weight.
  • v. To run fast.
  • prep. Against.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Convenient; suitable; direct; near; handy; dexterous; easy; profitable; cheap; respectable.
  • n. A square or beveled notch cut out of a girder, binding joist, or other timber which supports a floor beam, so as to receive the end of the floor beam.
  • n. That which is gained, obtained, or acquired, as increase, profit, advantage, or benefit; -- opposed to loss.
  • n. The obtaining or amassing of profit or valuable possessions; acquisition; accumulation.
  • intransitive v. To have or receive advantage or profit; to acquire gain; to grow rich; to advance in interest, health, or happiness; to make progress.
  • transitive v. To get, as profit or advantage; to obtain or acquire by effort or labor.
  • transitive v. To come off winner or victor in; to be successful in; to obtain by competition
  • transitive v. To draw into any interest or party; to win to one's side; to conciliate.
  • transitive v. To reach; to attain to; to arrive at
  • transitive v. To get, incur, or receive, as loss, harm, or damage.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To obtain by effort or striving; succeed in acquiring or procuring; attain to; get: as, to gain favor or power; to gain a livelihood by hard work; to gain time for study.
  • Specifically — To obtain as material profit or advantage; get possession of in return for effort or outlay: as, to gain a fortune by manufactures or by speculation.
  • To obtain by competition; acquire by success or superiority; win from another or others: as, to gain a prize, a victory, or a battle; to gain a cause in law.
  • To obtain the friendship or interest of; win over; conciliate.
  • To reach by effort; get to; arrive at: as, to gain a good harbor, or the mountain-top.
  • To bring or undergo an accession of; cause the acquisition of; make an increase in any respect to the amount of: as, his misfortune gained him much sympathy; the clock gains five minutes in a day; he has gained ten pounds in weight.
  • To avail; be of use to.
  • To profit; make gain; get advantage; benefit.
  • To make progress; advance; increase; improve; grow: as, to gain in strength, happiness, health, endurance, etc.; the patient gains daily.
  • To accrue; be added.
  • To advance nearer, as in a race; gain ground on; lessen the distance that separates: as, the horse gains on his competitor.
  • To prevail against or have the advantage over.
  • To obtain influence with; advance in the affections or good graces of.
  • Straight; direct; hence, near; short: as, the gainest way.
  • Suitable; convenient; ready.
  • In provincial English use: Easy; tolerable.
  • Handy; dexterous.
  • Honest; respectable.
  • Moderate; cheap.
  • Straightly; quickly; by the nearest way.
  • Suitably; conveniently; dexterously; moderately.
  • Tolerably; fairly: as, gain quiet (pretty quiet).
  • Against.
  • To mortise.
  • n. That which is acquired or comes as a benefit; profit; advantage: opposed to loss.
  • n. The act of gaining; acquisition; accession; addition: as, a clear gain of so much.
  • n. Increment of amount or degree; access; increase; used absolutely, comparative excess or overplus in rate, as of movement: as, a gradual gain in speed or in weight; a gain in extent of view or range of thought.
  • n. A mortise.
  • n. In building, a beveled shoulder upon a binding-joist, intended to strengthen a tenon.
  • n. In carpentry, a groove in which is slid a shelf or any piece similarly fitted.
  • n. In coal-mining, a transverse channel or cutting made in the sides of an underground roadway for the insertion of a dam or close permanent stopping, in order to prevent gas from escaping, or air from entering.
  • n. A spear or javelin.
  • n. A prefix of Anglo-Saxon origin, meaning ‘again, back,’ or ‘against,’ formerly in common use, but now obsolete except in a few words, as gainsay.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. derive a benefit from
  • v. increase or develop
  • n. the amount of increase in signal power or voltage or current expressed as the ratio of output to input
  • v. obtain advantages, such as points, etc.
  • n. the amount by which the revenue of a business exceeds its cost of operating
  • n. a quantity that is added
  • v. reach a destination, either real or abstract
  • v. rise in rate or price
  • v. increase (one's body weight)
  • v. earn on some commercial or business transaction; earn as salary or wages
  • v. win something through one's efforts
  • v. obtain
  • n. the advantageous quality of being beneficial

Etymologies

From Middle English gayne, booty (from Old French gaigne, gain, gain, from gaaignier, to gain, of Germanic origin) and Middle English gein, advantage (from Old Norse gegn, ready, and from Old French gain, gain).
Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From English dialectal gen, gin, short for again, agen ("against"); also Middle English gayn, gein, ȝæn ("against"), from Old English gēan, geġn ("against"). More at against. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English gayn, gein, geyn ("straight, direct, short, fit, good"), from Old Norse gegn ("straight, direct, short, ready, serviceable, kindly"), from gegn ("opposite, against", adv) (whence gagna ("to go against, meet, suit, be meet")); see below at gain. Adverb from Middle English gayne ("fitly, quickly"), from the adjective. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English gain, gein ("profit, advantage"), from Old Norse gagn ("benefit, advantage, use"), from Proto-Germanic *gagnan, *gaganan (“gain, profit", literally "return”), from Proto-Germanic *gagana (“back, against, in return”), a reduplication of Proto-Germanic *ga- (“with, together”), from Proto-Indo-European *kom (“next to, at, with, along”). Cognate with Icelandic gagn ("gain, advantage, use"), Swedish gagn ("benefit, profit"), Danish gavn ("gain, profit, success"), Gothic 𐌲𐌰𐌲𐌴𐌹𐌲𐌰𐌽 (gageigan, "to gain, profit"), Old Norse gegn ("ready"), Swedish dialectal gen ("useful, noteful"), Latin cum ("with"); see gain-, again, against. Compare also Middle English gainen ("to be of use, profit, avail"), Icelandic and Swedish gagna ("to avail, help"), Danish gavne ("to benefit"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The company reported a 13% gain in 2009 revenue to $981 million and adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization of $311 million for the year, which represented a 10 gain%.

    Multichannel News: Cable Operators

  • _____________ Class: ______________ Revision notes on Chemical Bonding Atoms lose or gain electrons to achieve a stable octet structure. (8 valence electrons)  Metal atoms  give away electrons positive ions (cations)  Non-metals gain electrons  negative ions (anions).

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  • Whatever is the master's gain is the slave's loss, a loss wrested from him by the master, for the express purpose of making it _his own gain_; this is the master's constant employment -- forcing the slave to toil -- violently wringing from him all he has and all he gets, and using it as his own; -- like the vile bird that never builds its nest from materials of its own gathering, but either drives other birds from theirs and takes possession of them, or tears them in pieces to get the means of constructing their own.

    The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus

  • Our proposition is, that the finite is to be vested in a wager, in which there is an equal chance of gain and loss, and _infinitude to gain_.”

    Pascal

  • _She will not have what she can gain_, _and will never gain what she desires_, and she will speak to no one but her betters, on account of her mother's telling her, 'that a young woman cannot do a worse thing, than be humble in her love.'"

    The Sleeping Bard or, Visions of the World, Death, and Hell

  • In coming years, as virtual, extraterrestrial, and other senses of the word gain global ground, English-users will likely take safari on new adventures in meaning.

    The English Is Coming!

  • Only later did the term gain its modern usage descriptive of the provincials of the Appalachian region.

    Chip Collis: The Billary Hillbillies

  • Then, the phrase had struck Vincent as doting and naive, but sometime during his stay in Toulio, as his grasp of the Chinese language deepened, and as he learned—or was forced to learn—from his mistakes, he had felt the title gain merit and accuracy.

    Heaven Lake

  • And I think that's helped us, I don't want to use the word gain share, but keep volumes up, and we've seen some of the competitive environment be impacted by their own needs for either cash flow, or raising funds and we take in, use our strength in the marketplace.

  • Short term gain, maybe, but they're eroding their own foundations and the foreclosed homes will soon come crashing down.

    Jeff Wald: Why I'm Starting the No Bullshit Party and Running for President

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