Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “defeat”

defeat

verb [T] uk   /dɪˈfiːt/ us  
B1 to win against someone in a fight, war, or competition: Napoleon was defeated by the Duke of Wellington at the battle of Waterloo. If we can defeat the Italian team, we'll be through to the final. B2 to cause someone or something to fail: The proposal to change the rules was narrowly (= only just) defeated by 201 votes to 196. Our ambitions for this tournament have been defeated by the weather. I'm afraid anything that involves language learning has always defeated me (= I have been unable to do it).

defeat

noun [C or U] uk   /dɪˈfiːt/ us  
B1 the fact of losing against someone in a fight or competition, or when someone or something is made to fail: At the last General Election, they suffered a crushing/humiliating defeat. After their defeat in battle, the soldiers surrendered. She admitted/conceded defeat well before all the votes had been counted.
Compare
admit defeat to accept that you cannot do something: I thought I could mend the radio myself, but I've had to admit defeat.
(Definition of defeat from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of defeat?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “defeat” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

mutant

an organism that is different from others of its type because of a permanent change in its genes

Word of the Day

What’s that lovely smell?

by Kate Woodford​,
October 29, 2014
As adult humans, we can distinguish about 10,000 different smells. It’s no wonder, then, that we have so many words and expressions to describe them. This week we’re taking a look at those smell words – words that describe good smells and words that describe bad smells. Most smell words are either

Read More 

high-frequency trading noun

October 27, 2014
a type of stock market trading that uses very complex technology to trade extremely quickly, often making tiny profits which nevertheless add up to substantial sums Lewis’s book, Flash Boys, is driving a huge amount of attention toward the topic of high frequency trading, and it has rekindled some of

Read More