Language: Old English
Origin: winnan 'to work, fight'


1 verb
win1 S1 W1 past tense and past participle won, present participle winning


[intransitive and transitive] to be the best or most successful in a competition, game, election etc [≠ lose]
win a race/a game/an election etc
Who do you think will win the next election?
He won the Tour de France last year.
win a war/battle
the young pilots who won the Battle of Britain
Who's winning (=who is most successful at this point in the game)?
win at
I never win at cards.
win by 10 points/70 metres etc
We won by just one point.
He predicted the French would win hands down (=win very easily) in the play-offs.


[transitive] to get something as a prize for winning in a competition or game:
How does it feel to have won the gold medal?
She won £160 on the lottery.
win something for somebody
the man who helped win the Cup for Arsenal


[transitive] to get something that you want because of your efforts or abilities [= gain]
win somebody's approval/support/trust etc
The proposal has won the approval of the city council.
Kramer has certainly won the respect of his peers.
win somebody's heart (=make them love you or feel sympathy for you)
The company has won a contract to build a new power plant outside Houston.
win something from somebody
Davis hopes to win financial backing from a London investment firm.

make somebody win something

[transitive] if something, usually something that you do, wins you something, you win it or get it because of that thing
win somebody something
That performance won Hanks an Oscar.
That kind of behaviour won't win you any friends.

you win

spoken used to agree to what someone wants after you have tried to persuade them to do something else:
OK, you win - we'll go to the movies.

you can't win

spoken used to say that there is no satisfactory way of dealing with a particular situation:
You can't win, can you? You either work late and upset your family, or go home early and risk your job.

you can't win them all

also you win some, you lose some spoken used to show sympathy when someone has had a disappointing experience

win or lose

informal no matter whether you win or lose:
Win or lose, I love competitive sports.

win (something) hands down

informal to win a game or competition or defeat someone very easily:
If the election had been free and fair, the democratic candidate would have won hands down.

win the day

to finally be successful in a discussion or argument [= triumph]:
Common sense won the day, and the plans were dropped.

win somebody/something ↔ back

phrasal verb
to succeed in getting back something or someone that you had before:
How can I win back her trust?

win out

phrasal verb
to finally succeed or defeat other people or things
win out over
Often presentation wins out over content (=is treated as more important than content).

win somebody ↔ over

phrasal verb
to get someone's support or friendship by persuading them or being nice to them:
We'll be working hard over the next ten days to win over the undecided voters.

win through

phrasal verb
to finally succeed in spite of problems:
As in most of his films, it's the good guys who win through in the end.

Dictionary results for "win"
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.