from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To do better than (another) in a competition or battle; win victory over; beat.
  • transitive verb To prevent the success of; thwart.
  • transitive verb To frustrate the enforcement of (a motion, for example).
  • transitive verb To make (an estate, for example) void; annul.
  • transitive verb To dishearten or dispirit.
  • transitive verb To be beyond the comprehension of; mystify.
  • noun The act of defeating an opponent.
  • noun The state of being defeated; failure to win.
  • noun A coming to naught; frustration.
  • noun The act of overcoming or frustrating the enforcement of.
  • noun Law The act of making null and void.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To undo; do away with; deprive of vigor, prosperity, health, life, or value; ruin; destroy.
  • [In the last extract there is perhaps an allusion to defeature, 2.]
  • Specifically In law, to annul; render null and void: as, to defeat a title to an estate. See defeasance, 3.
  • To deprive of something expected, desired, or striven for, by some antagonistic action or influence: applied to persons.
  • To frustrate; prevent the success of; make of no effect; thwart: applied to things.
  • To overcome in a contest of any kind, as a battle, fight, game, debate, competition, or election; vanquish; conquer; overthrow; rout; beat: as, to defeat an army; to defeat an opposing candidate; to defeat one's opponent at chess.
  • Synonyms Beat, Overpower, Overwhelm, Defeat, Discomfit, Rout, Overthrow, conquer. Beat is a general, somewhat indefinite, but vigorous word, covering the others. Overpower and overwhelm are the least discreditable to the one that loses in the struggle; overpower is least permanent in its effects. To overpower is to overcome by superiority of strength or numbers, but the disadvantage may be changed by the arrival of reinforcements. To overwhelm is to bear down utterly, to sweep clear away by superior strength. Defeat is to overcome or get the better of in some kind of contest, and implies less discredit, but generally greater disaster, to the defeated party than beat: as, that army is considered beaten which withdraws from the field. Defeat implies a serious disadvantage, because it applies more often to large numbers engaged. Discomfit has fallen into comparative disuse, except in its secondary sense of foiling, etc.; in that it expresses a comparatively complete and mortifying defeat. Rout is to defeat and drive off the field in confusion. Overthrow is the most decisive and final of these words; it naturally applies only to great persons, concerns, armies, etc. See conquer.
  • noun An undoing; ruin; destruction.
  • noun In law, the act of annulling, or of rendering null and void; annulment: as, the defeat of a title.
  • noun The act of depriving a person of something expected, desired, or striven for, by some antagonistic action or influence.
  • noun The act or result of overcoming in a contest, viewed with reference to the person overcome; overthrow; vanquishment; rout: as, to inflict a severe defeat upon the enemy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb obsolete To undo; to disfigure; to destroy.
  • transitive verb To render null and void, as a title; to frustrate, as hope; to deprive, as of an estate.
  • transitive verb To overcome or vanquish, as an army; to check, disperse, or ruin by victory; to overthrow.
  • transitive verb To resist with success.
  • noun obsolete An undoing or annulling; destruction.
  • noun Frustration by rendering null and void, or by prevention of success.
  • noun An overthrow, as of an army in battle; loss of a battle; repulse suffered; discomfiture; -- opposed to victory.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb To overcome in battle or contest.
  • verb To nullify; to reduce, to nothing, the strength of.
  • noun The act of defeating or being defeated.

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

  • verb thwart the passage of
  • verb win a victory over
  • noun the feeling that accompanies an experience of being thwarted in attaining your goals
  • noun an unsuccessful ending to a struggle or contest


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

[Middle English defeten, from defet, disfigured, from Old French desfait, past participle of desfaire, to destroy, from Medieval Latin disfacere, to destroy, mutilate, undo : Latin dis-, dis- + Latin facere, to do; see dhē- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

from Old French desfait, from the verb desfaire Latin des + faciō (to unmake).


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word defeat.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • derrotar

    September 17, 2013