defeat definition, meaning - what is defeat in the British English Dictionary & Thesaurus - Cambridge Dictionaries Online

Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “defeat”

See all translations


verb [T] uk   us   /dɪˈfiːt/
B1 to win against someone in a fight, war, or competition: Napoleon was defeated by the Duke of Wellington at the battle of Waterloo. They defeated the Italian team and reached the final. B2 to cause someone or something to fail: The proposal to change the rules was narrowly defeated (= by a very small number) 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).
More examples


noun [C or U] uk   us   /dɪˈfiːt/
B1 the fact of losing against someone in a fight or competition, or when someone or something is made to fail: In the last 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.
admit defeat to accept that you cannot do something: I thought I could fix the radio myself, but I had to admit defeat.
More examples
(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

cost/charge the earth

to cost, charge, etc. a lot of money

Word of the Day

The language of elections

by Liz Walter,
April 22, 2015
On May 7th, citizens of the UK will be going to the polls (having an election) to decide who will form the next government. This kind of election is known as a general election. The country is divided into 650 areas, called constituencies. Each constituency elects a member of parliament (MP) to

Read More 

dumbwalking noun

April 20, 2015
walking slowly, without paying attention to the world around you because you are consulting a smartphone He told me dumbwalking probably wouldn’t be a long-term problem.

Read More