• Gain


    • IPA: /É¡eɪn/
    • Rhymes: -eɪn

    Origin 1

    From dialectal English gen, gin, short for again, agen ("against"); also Middle English gayn, gein, ȝæn ("against"), from Old English gēan, geġn ("against"). More at against.

    Full definition of gain


    1. (obsolete) Against.

    Derived terms

    Origin 2

    From Middle English gayn, gein, geyn ("straight, direct, short, fit, good"), from Old Norse gegn ("straight, direct, short, ready, serviceable, kindly"), from gegn ("opposite, against", adverb.) (whence gagna ("to go against, meet, suit, be meet")); see below at gain. Adverb from Middle English gayne ("fitly, quickly"), from the adjective.



    1. (obsolete) Straight, direct; near; short.the gainest way
    2. (obsolete) Suitable; convenient; ready.
    3. (dialectal) Easy; tolerable; handy, dexterous.
    4. (dialectal) Honest; respectable; moderate; cheap.

    Derived terms



    1. (obsolete) Straightly; quickly; by the nearest way or means.
    2. (dialectal) Suitably; conveniently; dexterously; moderately.
    3. (dialectal) Tolerably; fairly.gain quiet (= fairly/pretty quiet)

    Origin 3

    From Middle English gain, gein ("profit, advantage"), from Old Norse gagn ("benefit, advantage, use"), from Proto-Germanic *gagną, *gaganą ("gain, profit", literally "return"), from Proto-Germanic *gagana ("back, against, in return"), a reduplication of Proto-Germanic *ga- ("with, together"), from Proto-Indo-European *kom ("next to, at, with, along"). Cognate with Icelandic gagn ("gain, advantage, use"), Swedish gagn ("benefit, profit"), Danish gavn ("gain, profit, success"), Gothic 𐌲𐌰𐌲𐌴𐌹𐌲𐌰𐌽 (gageigan, "to gain, profit"), Old Norse gegn ("ready"), Swedish dialectal gen ("useful, noteful"), Latin cum ("with"); see gain-, again, against. Compare also Middle English gainen ("to be of use, profit, avail"), Icelandic and Swedish gagna ("to avail, help"), Danish gavne ("to benefit").

    The Middle English word was reinforced by Middle French gain ("gain, profit, advancement, cultivation"), from Old French gaaing, gaaigne, gaigne, a noun derivative of gaaignier ("to till, earn, win"), from Frankish *waidanjan ("to pasture, graze, hunt for food"), ultimately from Proto-Germanic *waiþiz, *waiþī, *waiþō, *waiþijō ("pasture, field, hunting ground"); compare Old High German weidōn, weidanōn ("to hunt, forage for food") (Modern German Weide ("pasture")), Old Norse veiða ("to catch, hunt"), Old English wǣþan ("to hunt, chase, pursue"). Related to wathe, wide.



    (plural gains)
    1. The act of gaining.
      • Tennysonthe lust of gain
    2. What one gains, as a return on investment or dividend.No pain, no gain.
      • ShakespeareEveryone shall share in the gains.
    3. (electronics) The factor by which a signal is multiplied.



    1. (transitive) To acquire possession of what one did not have before.Looks like you've gained a new friend.
      • Bible, Matthew xvi. 26What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
      • Alexander PopeFor fame with toil we gain, but lose with ease.
    2. (intransitive) To have or receive advantage or profit; to acquire gain; to grow rich; to advance in interest, health, or happiness; to make progress.The sick man gains daily.
      • Bible, Ezekiel xxii. 12Thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbours by extortion.
    3. (transitive, dated) To come off winner or victor in; to be successful in; to obtain by competition.to gain a battle; to gain a case at law
    4. (transitive) To increase.
    5. (intransitive) To be more likely to catch or overtake an individual.I'm gaining (on you).gain ground
    6. (transitive) To reach.to gain the top of a mountain
      • 1907, Jack London, The Iron Heel:Ernest laughed harshly and savagely when he had gained the street.
    7. To draw into any interest or party; to win to one's side; to conciliate.
      • Bible, Matthew xviii. 15If he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
      • Drydento gratify the queen, and gain the court
    8. (intransitive) To put on weight.I've been gaining.
    9. (of a clock or watch) To run fast.

    Origin 4

    Compare Welsh gan ("a mortise").



    (plural gains)
    1. (architecture) A square or bevelled notch cut out of a girder, binding joist, or other timber which supports a floor beam, so as to receive the end of the floor beam.
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