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Definition gain

Etymology 1

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



  1. (obsolete) Against.

Etymology 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 gayn, gayne (“fitly, quickly”), from the adjective.


gain (comparative more gain, superlative most gain)

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

gain (comparative more gain, superlative most gain)

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

Etymology 3

From Middle English gayn, 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 ???????? (gageigan, “to gain, profit”), Old Norse gegn (“ready”), Swedish dialectal gen (“useful, noteful”), Latin cum (“with”); see gain-, again, against. Compare also Middle English gaynen, geinen (“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.


gain (countable and uncountable, plural gains)

  1. The act of gaining; acquisition.
  2. What is gained.
  3. (electronics) The factor by which a signal is multiplied.

gain (third-person singular simple present gains, present participle gaining, simple past and past participle gained)

  1. (transitive) To acquire possession of.
  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.
  3. (transitive, dated) To come off winner or victor in; to be successful in; to obtain by competition.
  4. (transitive) To increase.
  5. (intransitive) To be more likely to catch or overtake an individual.
  6. (transitive) To reach.
  7. To draw into any interest or party; to win to one's side; to conciliate.
  8. (intransitive) To put on weight.
  9. (of a clock or watch) To run fast.

Etymology 4

Compare Welsh gan (“a mortise”).


gain (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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