Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1300-1400
Language: Anglo-French
Origin: defeter 'to destroy', from Medieval Latin disfacere, from Latin facere 'to do'

defeat

2 verb
     
defeat2 [transitive]
1 to win a victory over someone in a war, competition, game etc [= beat]:
They hoped to defeat the enemy at sea.
defeat somebody by something
We were defeated by 3 goals to 2.
2 if something defeats you, you cannot understand it and therefore cannot answer or deal with it [= beat]:
It was the last question on the paper that defeated me.
3 to make something fail
defeat the object/purpose (of the exercise)
Don't let your arms relax as that would defeat the object of the exercise.

Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.

Explore our topic dictionary