Definition of gain in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɡeɪn/


[with object]
1Obtain or secure (something wanted or desirable): we gained entry to the car in five seconds [with two objects]: their blend of acoustic pop gained them several chart hits
More example sentences
  • Therefore, valuable knowledge on vertebrate evolution would be gained by obtaining a complete coelacanth genome sequence.
  • Entry was gained by the back door of the premises.
  • Entry was gained by forcing the window at the rear of the premises.
obtain, get, acquire, come by, procure, secure, attain, achieve, earn, win, capture, clinch, pick up, carry off, reap, gather;
receive, be given, be awarded, come away with
informal land, net, bag, pot, scoop, wangle, swing, score, nab, collar, cop, hook, get one's hands on, get one's mitts on, get hold of, walk away with, walk off with
1.1 [no object] Benefit: managers would gain from greater openness
More example sentences
  • Economic development has played a key role in improving the environment for many millions of people, although many more could gain from its benefits in the future.
  • A fine line that should be trod wisely in order to create a future where everyone can gain from the benefits of using this technology.
  • Patients in this group stand to gain from the benefit of lower early thrombosis rates with myelosuppressive medications.
profit, make money, reap financial reward, reap benefits, benefit;
do well out of, make capital out of
informal make a killing, milk, cash in on
1.2 archaic Win over to one’s interest or views: to gratify the queen, and gain the court
2Reach or arrive at (a destination): we gained the ridge
More example sentences
  • Many people found it difficult to justify the near 88,000 Allied men lost for every one mile gained in the advance.
reach, arrive at, get to, come to, get as far as, make, make it to, attain, set foot on;
end up at, land up at, fetch up at
informal hit, wind up at
2.1 [no object] (gain on) Come closer to (a person or thing pursued): a huge bear was gaining on him with every stride
More example sentences
  • ‘I was gaining on the lead Corvette before I was obliged to execute the drive through penalty’ Chris said.
  • Within a second, he had gained on me enough to only have to take a step closer to kiss me.
  • It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other.
3Increase the amount or rate of (something, typically weight or speed): she had gained weight since her wedding
More example sentences
  • Bureaucratic inertia propelling toxic waste disposal in Nevada is monumental and increasingly unwavering, gaining speed since 1982.
  • Boys and girls did not significantly differ in the perception that their mothers encouraged them to gain weight and increase muscle tone.
  • So the area that has had the fat suctioned out of it is less likely to gain weight or increase in fat because there are fewer fat cells in the area.
increase in, put on, add on, build up;
acquire more of something
3.1 [no object] Increase in value: shares gained for the third day in a row
More example sentences
  • The LuSE all share index gained from 1,190.47 points in the previous week to 1,230.10, translating in a rise of 3.32 percentage points.
  • The Irish Technology Share Index gained just 0.8 per cent to 5207.02.
  • Shares in Smart Telecom gained 1.3% on the London market yesterday, valuing the company at €50m.
earn, bring in, make, get, get paid, pocket, clear, gross, net, realize
informal rake in, haul in, bag
3.2 [no object] (gain in) Improve or advance in (some respect): canoeing is gaining in popularity
More example sentences
  • The performances are improving and gaining in confidence.
  • The location has been gaining in popularity - so much so that parks officials want to stop renting it out unless the event holds some prestige value for the city.
  • This facility, Mary tells us is gaining in popularity.
3.3(Of a clock or watch) become fast by (a specific amount of time): this atomic clock will neither gain nor lose a second in the next 1 million years
More example sentences
  • It also depends on the constancy of its rate; meaning, that a watch gains or loses the exact same amount of time each day.
  • The new clocks would not gain or lose one second in a thousand years.


[mass noun]
1An increase in wealth or resources: the pursuit of personal gain [count noun]: shares showed gains of up to 21 per cent
More example sentences
  • More observed an England in which wealth and personal gain had come to mean more than Christian devotion or charity.
  • Ruthless pursuit of personal gain is venerated.
  • Technically, water remains a public resource, but water license holders can now sell the rights to a public resource for personal gain.
profit, earnings, income, advantage, benefit, reward, emolument, yield, return, winnings, receipts, proceeds, dividend, interest, percentage, takings
informal pickings, cut, take, rake-off, divvy, whack, slice of the cake
British informal bunce
1.1A thing that is achieved or acquired: the potential gain from rail privatization would be a more commercial railway
More example sentences
  • It is unclear whether screening for diabetes would, in itself, achieve an appreciable health gain.
  • The potential gain to the wider public from the results of individual studies must be considered.
  • Instead they are trying to saw off the limb onto which the president has climbed in order to achieve short-term political gain.
2The factor by which power or voltage is increased in an amplifier or other electronic device, usually expressed as a logarithm: an amplifier of high gain
More example sentences
  • A number of factors determine the gain of a laser amplifier, including input signal strength.
  • The higher antenna gain allows low-power amplifiers to be used with efficient modulation and coding.
  • The auxiliary amplifier is provided within the circuit to increase the gain of the cascode amplifier and has an associated output.


gain time

Obtain extra time to achieve something by deliberate delaying tactics: the government was using the negotiations to gain time
More example sentences
  • One use for negotiations, of course, would be to gain time to launder your money, burn the files, destroy the evidence etc…
  • The objective is to gain time for markets to recover, if the trustees believe that they will, instead of immediately making irrevocable changes to the fund.
  • Realistically, our mission was to delay their advance and gain time by fighting fiercely, imaginatively, courageously-even to the last man.
play for time, stall, procrastinate, delay, use delaying tactics, temporize, hold back, hang back, hang fire, dally, drag one's feet, use dilatory tactics
informal put something on the back burner



Example sentences
  • Power is not my power… It is only gainable as a part of the larger whole.
  • The eternal soul known as the atma is not gainable merely by hearing about it.
  • Appreciate existence and gain any knowledge gainable.


Pronunciation: /ˈɡeɪnə/
Example sentences
  • On the Nasdaq, losers beat gainers 2 to 1 as 447 million shares changed hands.
  • ‘At the end of the day, pensioners are overall going to be gainers,’ he said.
  • Forget the nay-sayers, the ones who talk about profit margins, and the real gainers from this rural sourcing.


Late 15th century (as a noun, originally in the sense 'booty'): from Old French gaigne (noun), gaignier (verb), of Germanic origin.

  • This comes from the French gaignier ‘gain’ and was at first used to mean ‘booty’. The origin is Germanic. The phrase gain ground was originally military, used when land was taken from an enemy. No gain without pain dates from the 1990s. See also uncouth

Words that rhyme with gain

abstain, appertain, arcane, arraign, ascertain, attain, Bahrain, bane, blain, brain, Braine, Cain, Caine, campaign, cane, cinquain, chain, champagne, champaign, Champlain, Charmaine, chicane, chow mein, cocaine, Coleraine, Coltrane, complain, constrain, contain, crane, Dane, deign, demesne, demi-mondaine, detain, disdain, domain, domaine, drain, Duane, Dwane, Elaine, entertain, entrain, explain, fain, fane, feign, Germaine, germane, grain, humane, Hussein, inane, Jain, Jane, Jermaine, Kane, La Fontaine, lain, lane, legerdemain, Lorraine, main, Maine, maintain, mane, mise en scène, Montaigne, moraine, mundane, obtain, ordain, Paine, pane, pertain, plain, plane, Port-of-Spain, profane, rain, Raine, refrain, reign, rein, retain, romaine, sane, Seine, Shane, Sinn Fein, skein, slain, Spain, Spillane, sprain, stain, strain, sustain, swain, terrain, thane, train, twain, Ujjain, Ukraine, underlain, urbane, vain, vane, vein, Verlaine, vicereine, wain, wane, Wayne

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: gain

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