verb (used with object)
- to overcome in a contest, election, battle, etc.; prevail over; vanquish: They defeated the enemy. She defeated her brother at tennis.
- to frustrate; thwart.
- to eliminate or deprive of something expected: The early returns defeated his hopes of election.
- Law. to annul.
- the act of overcoming in a contest: an overwhelming defeat of all opposition.
- an instance of defeat; setback: He considered his defeat a personal affront.
- an overthrow or overturning; vanquishment: the defeat of a government.
- a bringing to naught; frustration: the defeat of all his hopes and dreams.
- the act or event of being bested; losing: Defeat is not something she abides easily.
- Archaic. undoing; destruction; ruin.
- to overcome in a contest or competition; win a victory over
- to thwart or frustratethis accident has defeated all his hopes of winning
- law to render null and void; annul
- the act of defeating or state of being defeated
- an instance of defeat
- overthrow or destruction
- law an annulment
1590s, from defeat (v.).
late 14c., from Anglo-French defeter, from Old French desfait, past participle of desfaire “to undo,” from Vulgar Latin *diffacere “undo, destroy,” from Latin dis- “un-, not” (see dis-) + facere “to do, perform” (see factitious). Original sense was of “bring ruination, cause destruction.” Military sense of “conquer” is c.1600. Related: Defeated; defeating.