Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

defeat - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [transitive] defeat pronunciation in American English /dɪˈfit/
Word Forms
present tense
present participledefeating
past tensedefeated
past participledefeated
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    to win against someone in a game, fight, or election

    The Yankees defeated the Red Sox 2–1.

  2. 2
    if something defeats you, it is so difficult that you are unable to do it

    new locks that will defeat most thieves

  3. 3
    to prevent something from happening or being successful

    The proposal was defeated by 16 votes to 5.


sea lion

in an online conversation, repeatedly asking a person questions which suggest that you are interested in what they are talking about, but are actually intended to annoy them

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


an electric skateboard

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play