Date: 1400-1500
Language: French
Origin: gagner, from Old French gaaignier 'to prepare the ground for growing crops, earn, gain'


1 verb
gain1 S2 W2

get something

[transitive] to obtain or achieve something you want or need
Radical left-wing parties gained control of local authorities.
After gaining independence in 1957, it was renamed 'Ghana'.
gain a degree/qualification etc
He gained a doctorate in Chemical Engineering.

get gradually

[intransitive and transitive] to gradually get more and more of a quality, feeling etc, especially a useful or valuable one:
She has gained a reputation as a good communicator.
Many of his ideas have gained popular support.
an opportunity to gain experience in a work environment
The youngsters gradually gain confidence in their abilities.
gain in
The sport has gained in popularity in recent years.


[intransitive and transitive] to get an advantage from a situation, opportunity, or event
gain (something) from (doing) something
There is much to be gained from seeking expert advice early.
an attempt to gain a competitive advantage over their rivals
Who really stands to gain (=is likely to get an advantage) from these tax cuts?
There's nothing to be gained (=it will not help you) by losing your temper.


[transitive] to increase in weight, speed, height, or value:
Carrie's gained a lot of weight recently.
The dollar has gained 8% against the yen.

gain access/entry/admittance etc (to something)

to manage to enter a place, building, or organization:
New ramps will help the disabled gain better access.
methods used by burglars to gain entry to houses

gain an understanding/insight/impression etc

to learn or find out about something
gain an understanding/insight/impression etc of
We are hoping to gain a better understanding of the underlying process.
This enabled me to gain an overall impression of the school.

gain ground

to make steady progress and become more popular, more successful etc:
The anti-smoking lobby has steadily gained ground in the last decade.

gain time

to deliberately do something to give yourself more time to think [≠ lose time]


[intransitive and transitive]TM if a clock or watch gains, or if it gains time, it goes too fast [≠ lose]


[transitive] literary to reach a place after a lot of effort or difficulty:
The swimmer finally gained the river bank.

➔ nothing ventured, nothing gained

at venture2 (3)

gain on somebody/something

phrasal verb
to gradually get closer to a person, car etc that you are chasing:
Quick - they're gaining on us!

gain, earn, get
Do not use gain to mean 'get money for work you do'. Use earn people earning less than £10,000 per year How much does he earn?Gain means to get something useful or necessary, whether or not you deserve it I have gained a lot of useful experience. Her problems seem to have gained her more support from the public. Use earn rather than gain to say that you get something because you deserve it Through hard work you will earn the respect of your colleagues.Get can be used as a less formal way of saying gain or earn I get $20 an hour. He has started to get a reputation for being awkward.

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