- 1Win a victory over (someone) in a battle or other contest; overcome or beat: Arab armies defeated the Byzantine garrisonMore example sentences
- The rebels were defeated at the battle of Sedgemoor.
- In 1715, Jacobite rebels were defeated at the battle of Preston.
- The Egyptian army was defeated at the battle of Tell el-Kebir.
- 1.1Prevent (someone) from achieving an aim: she was defeated by the last steep hillMore example sentences
- I could let the discomfort and frustration defeat me, as they sometimes had, or I could accept them as a necessary part of getting better.
- If this education stopped with us, the ultimate aim of HIV / AIDS prevention would be defeated.
- Matthew Hoy of Hoystory writes to tell me that the Democrats actually filibustered Lee to prevent the Republicans from defeating his nomination.
- 1.2Prevent (an aim) from being achieved: don’t cheat by allowing your body to droop—this defeats the object of the exerciseMore example sentences
- The closure of a further service facility in rural areas will completely defeat this aim.
- I, of course, prefer giving the constitution's limits effect over a restraint that defeat the constitution's aim.
- Thirdly, it is the accused himself who, by drinking after the event, defeats the aim of the legislature by doing something which makes the scientific test potentially unreliable.
- 1.3Reject or block (a motion or proposal): the amendment was defeatedMore example sentences
- The counter proposal was defeated by 6 votes to 2.
- When it was initially proposed early in 2001, the motion was defeated by the combined votes of the Fianna Fail and Fine Gael councillors.
- It was a clever stratagem for defeating the tax proposals without incurring the popular odium for doing so.
- 1.4Be impossible for (someone) to understand: this line of reasoning defeats me, I must confessMore example sentences
- Every time you think you have a handle on it, you are simply defeated by the impossible vastness of even the smallest aspects of space.
- For reasons that defeat us, The Road Goes On Forever has been out of print for 20 years.
- While some may see this as an instance of human narcissism defeating scientific understanding, we would do better to see it as a reason for tempering the narcissism of science.
- 1.5 Law Render null and void; annul.More example sentences
- Before the Act, of course, a finding of contributory negligence defeated the claim altogether.
- In each case the insured defendant failed to defeat the claim and in each his liability to the plaintiff exceeded the limit of the indemnity provided.
- The Plaintiff maintains that those transfers were intended to defeat the Plaintiff.
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- An instance of defeating or being defeated: the defeat of the Armada in 1588 she had still not quite admitted defeatMore example sentences
- They have made no progress between their landslide defeat in the 1997 election and their second defeat in 2001.
- The two election defeats were put down to an inability to convince the electorate that they could be trusted with the nation's finances.
- It's not helped by an Opposition that has failed to respect its time-honoured tradition of turning on and devouring itself after successive election defeats.
late Middle English (in the sense 'undo, destroy, annul'): from Old French desfait 'undone', past participle of desfaire, from medieval Latin disfacere 'undo'.