1 [geyn]
verb (used with object)
to get (something desired), especially as a result of one's efforts: to gain possession of an object; to gain permission to enter a country.
to acquire as an increase or addition: to gain weight; to gain speed.
to obtain as a profit: He gained ten dollars by this deal.
to win; get in competition: to gain the prize.
to win (someone) to one's own side or point of view; persuade (sometimes followed by over ): to gain supporters.
(of a watch or clock) to run fast by (a specified amount): My watch gains six minutes a day.
to reach, especially by effort; get to; arrive at: to gain one's destination.
verb (used without object)
to improve; make progress; advance: to gain in health after an illness.
to get nearer, as in pursuit (usually followed by on or upon ): Our horse was gaining on the favorite at the far turn.
to draw away from or farther ahead of the other contestants in a race, one's pursuers, etc. (usually followed by on or upon ).
(of a watch or clock) to run fast.
profit or advantage.
an increase or advance.
gains, profits or winnings.
the act of gaining; acquisition.
a measure of the increase in signal amplitude produced by an amplifier, expressed as the ratio of output to input.
the effectiveness of a directional antenna as compared with a standard, nondirectional one.
the volume control of a radio, phonograph, amplifier, etc.
gain ground, to progress or advance, as in value, strength, or achievement: The company's new products are gaining ground in suburban areas.
gain time, to arrange a postponement or delay for a particular purpose, especially by roundabout means.

1425–75; late Middle English (noun) < Middle French, contraction of Old French gaaing, noun derivative of gaaignier to till, earn, win < Germanic; compare Old High German weidanōn to hunt, forage for food

gainable, adjective
ungainable, adjective

1. procure. Gain, attain, earn, win imply obtaining a reward or something advantageous. Gain carries the least suggestion of method or of effort expended. Attain emphasizes the reaching of a goal. Earn emphasizes the exertions and labor expended that deserve reward. Win emphasizes attainment in spite of competition or opposition. 7. attain. 13. addition, increment, acquisition.

1. lose. Unabridged


2 [geyn] Carpentry.
a notch, dado, or mortise cut into a piece of wood, as to receive another piece or to house a flap of a hinge.
tusk ( def 4 ).
a short rabbet, for receiving a flap of a butt hinge.
verb (used with object)
to make a gain or gains in.
to fasten or support by means of a gain.

1670–80; perhaps akin to obsolete gane, Old English (north) ganian to yawn, open Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To gain
World English Dictionary
gain1 (ɡeɪn)
1.  (tr) to acquire (something desirable); obtain
2.  (tr) to win in competition: to gain the victory
3.  to increase, improve, or advance: the car gained speed; the shares gained in value
4.  (tr) to earn (a wage, living, etc)
5.  (intr; usually foll by on or upon)
 a.  to get nearer (to) or catch up (on)
 b.  to get farther away (from)
6.  (tr) (esp of ships) to get to; reach: the steamer gained port
7.  (of a timepiece) to operate too fast, so as to indicate a time ahead of the true time or to run fast by a specified amount: this watch gains; it gains ten minutes a day
8.  gain ground to make progress or obtain an advantage
9.  gain time
 a.  to obtain extra time by a delay or postponement
 b.  (of a timepiece) to operate too fast
10.  something won, acquired, earned, etc; profit; advantage
11.  an increase in size, amount, etc
12.  the act of gaining; attainment; acquisition
13.  electronics Also called: amplification the ratio of the output signal of an amplifier to the input signal, usually measured in decibels
[C15: from Old French gaaignier, of Germanic origin; related to Old High German weidenen to forage, hunt]

gain2 (ɡeɪn)
1.  a notch, mortise, or groove, esp one cut to take the flap of a butt hinge
2.  (tr) to cut a gain or gains in
[C17: of obscure origin]

GAIN (ɡeɪn)
n acronym for
Guaranteed Annual Income

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

late 15c. (n.), 1520s (v.), from M.Fr. gain, from O.Fr. gaaigne, from gaaignier "to gain," also "cultivate land," from Frank. *waidanjan "hunt, forage," also "graze, pasture," from P.Gmc. *wartho "hunting ground" (cf. Ger. weide "pasture, pasturage," O.N. veiðr "hunting"), from PIE *wei "to strive
after." The original O.Fr. sense enfolded the notions of "profit from agriculture" and "booty, prey." Related: Gained; gaining.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

gain (gān)

  1. An increase in amount or degree.

  2. Progress; advancement.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idiom beginning with gain, also see ill-gotten gains; no pain, no gain; nothing ventured, nothing gained.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
They can improve milk yields, increase livestock weight gain, decrease parasite burden and reduce occurrence of bloat.
The opposition struggles to gain from disenchantment with the government.
Gain the heart of a fighter without losing your dignity.
They found that pounded meat and potatoes caused more weight gain than raw food.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature