Definitions

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

  • noun A notch or mortise cut into a board to receive another part.
  • transitive verb To cut out a gain in.
  • transitive verb To join by or fit into a gain.
  • intransitive verb To come into possession or use of; acquire.
  • intransitive verb To attain in competition or struggle; win.
  • intransitive verb To obtain through effort or merit; achieve.
  • intransitive verb To secure as profit or reward; earn.
  • intransitive verb To manage to achieve an increase of.
  • intransitive verb To increase by (a specific amount).
  • intransitive verb To come to; reach.
  • intransitive verb To become fast by (a specified amount of time). Used of a timepiece.
  • intransitive verb To increase; grow.
  • intransitive verb To become better; improve.
  • intransitive verb To obtain a profit or advantage; benefit.
  • intransitive verb To move closer to a person or thing that is moving ahead; close a gap.
  • intransitive verb To put on weight.
  • intransitive verb To operate or run fast. Used of a timepiece.
  • noun Something gained or acquired.
  • noun Progress; advancement.
  • noun The act of acquiring; attainment.
  • noun An increase in amount or degree.
  • noun Electronics An increase in signal power, voltage, or current by an amplifier, expressed as the ratio of output to input.
  • noun The reflectivity of a projection screen, usually expressed relative to the reflectivity of a standard surface of magnesium carbonate.
  • idiom (gain ground) To progress, advance, or increase.
  • idiom (gain time) To run too fast. Used of a timepiece.
  • idiom (gain time) To delay or prolong something until a desired event occurs.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Straightly; quickly; by the nearest way.
  • Suitably; conveniently; dexterously; moderately.
  • Tolerably; fairly: as, gain quiet (pretty quiet).
  • Against.
  • To mortise.
  • Straight; direct; hence, near; short: as, the gainest way.
  • Suitable; convenient; ready.
  • In provincial English use: Easy; tolerable.
  • Handy; dexterous.
  • Honest; respectable.
  • Moderate; cheap.
  • noun A mortise.
  • noun In building, a beveled shoulder upon a binding-joist, intended to strengthen a tenon.
  • noun In carpentry, a groove in which is slid a shelf or any piece similarly fitted.
  • noun 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.
  • noun That which is acquired or comes as a benefit; profit; advantage: opposed to loss.
  • noun The act of gaining; acquisition; accession; addition: as, a clear gain of so much.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • 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.

Etymologies

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

[Origin unknown.]

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

[From Middle English gayne, booty (from Old French gaigne, gain, gain, from gaaignier, to gain, of Germanic origin; see weiə- in Indo-European roots) and Middle English gein, advantage (from Old Norse gegn, ready, and from Old French gain, gain).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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").

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%.

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  • _____________ 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, Part 3 of 4

  • 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!

  • 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.

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  • 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

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