Definition of win in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Be successful or victorious in (a contest or conflict)

    ‘the Mets have won four games in a row’
    no object ‘a determination to win’
    with complement ‘the Pirates won 2–1’
    • ‘I ended up tying for medallist and helping the team win the tournament by four shots.’
    • ‘Rarely do we see accounts of how housewives struggled at home while the men of valor fought the battles and won the wars.’
    • ‘After a very close battle the Athy team won the match and were thrilled with their victory.’
    • ‘It was the second time he has won a British championship race having being victorious last year in the Brecon Beacons.’
    • ‘York Groves could climb off the foot of Pennine League division four if they win their clash at Littleborough.’
    • ‘If successful in winning the race to stage the 2012 Olympics, she said the repercussions would be felt far outside London.’
    • ‘Most of the ties were sadly one-sided, England winning four matches by an average margin of 34 points.’
    • ‘Just over four years ago she won a transatlantic race, routing the competition.’
    • ‘The best of his five hopefuls is surely Lucky Story, who won four races last season.’
    • ‘And the President believes the best way to be successful in winning a war is to let the experts run the war.’
    • ‘The old football adage that offense wins games and defense wins championships still scores.’
    • ‘Named player of the championship, he was one of the victorious Army team that won the championship.’
    • ‘To the Welsh, success can only mean winning the championship.’
    • ‘The Irish team had a very successful outing in winning the tournament.’
    • ‘He won four races off the reel in the first half of last season and ran well on his reappearance on the Flat at Navan on Wednesday.’
    • ‘After winning their first playoff game, the Magic then had an epic battle with Lethbridge.’
    • ‘But they have yet to win successive matches in the Premiership this season.’
    • ‘London-based Wanderers' fans are celebrating a double survival success after winning their own battle to beat the drop.’
    • ‘After losing the first game, the Warriors responded by taking three straight games, winning the match.’
    • ‘They've won the world championships four times, and they are the reigning champs.’
    come first in, finish first in, be victorious in, triumph in, take first prize in, achieve success in, be successful in, prevail in
    come first, finish first, be the winner, be victorious, be the victor, carry the day, win the day, carry all before one, defeat the opposition, overcome the opposition, take the crown, take the honours, gain the palm, come out ahead, come out on top, succeed, triumph, prevail, achieve mastery
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  • 2Acquire or secure as a result of a contest, conflict, bet, or other endeavor.

    ‘there are hundreds of prizes to be won’
    with two objects ‘the sort of play that won them the World Cup’
    • ‘Yes, it's true, I've won first prize in the Writer Online Minuscule Fiction Contest.’
    • ‘This is said to be the first such endeavour in Kerala, in which passengers stand to win prizes.’
    • ‘Reproduced are paintings, which won the top prizes in a contest organised by a Malayalam daily.’
    • ‘Ben Wyvis, for instance, is unlikely to win any prizes in a contest against some of the more shapely Highland summits.’
    • ‘To add to the excitement, families can take part in a lucky draw contest with fabulous prizes to be won.’
    • ‘He has also won several prizes in novel and serial story writing contests held by teen and women's magazines.’
    • ‘Up to £30 could be won in prizes at the contest, which was held to replace Broughton Sports.’
    • ‘The entrant which gets the highest number of text votes will walk away with the trophy, while one of the voters will be picked at random to win a prize.’
    • ‘A collection of poems, Lapidarium, won the National Literary Prize for a debut book.’
    • ‘In 1999, he won a prize in the Better Photography contest in the amateur category.’
    • ‘Part of this involves a trivia contest that allows kids to win McDonald's prizes.’
    • ‘Last year, he won the second prize at a contest in Spain and the fourth spot at China.’
    • ‘There have been reports of Welsh students even going as far as entering wet t-shirt contests to win prize money so they can pay their rent.’
    • ‘And while Smith himself will not win any prizes for eloquence, his achievements speak loud and clear.’
    • ‘Competing in a contest with seventeen other girls she missed winning the overall prize by the narrowest of margins.’
    • ‘The pick of the lot will win a prize of £100 donated by Bedfordshire on Sunday.’
    • ‘Remember, the youth member who collects the most lids wins the prize.’
    • ‘It won the Booker Prize last year, but received no garlands from Pat.’
    • ‘He would probably have won a prize in a Beatles lookalike contest in 1965.’
    • ‘All you have to do to win this incredible prize is collect the coupons and fill in the answers to each evening's questions.’
    secure, gain, achieve, attain, earn, obtain, acquire, procure, get, collect, pick up, walk away with, walk off with, come away with, carry off
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    1. 2.1 Gain (a person's attention, support, or love), typically gradually or by effort.
      ‘you will find it difficult to win back their attention’
      • ‘Neither of those lofty attributes encompassed the desperate desire to win the support of tabloid newspapers.’
      • ‘And after a hard sell, the plan is winning the support of the international community.’
      • ‘As a result the two brothers went to Rome in 867 with the intention of winning the support of the Pope.’
      • ‘These proposals have won wide support from local government, business, and community groups.’
      • ‘There must be something else inside that fearsome figure, to have won such love and devotion.’
      • ‘The proposals have won the support of North Yorkshire Police and the county's fire and rescue service.’
      • ‘And the friendly tot is already winning the attention of everyone who knows him.’
      • ‘The plans have also won the support of the Association of North East Councils.’
      • ‘She also experienced reps regularly taking young doctors out for boozy meals in an effort to win their favour.’
      • ‘An assessment program that wins the support of American families must recognize effort and achievement.’
      • ‘However one British expert claimed previous efforts by him to win support for such work had fallen on deaf ears.’
      • ‘The proposals have won enthusiastic support from the government and the media.’
      • ‘The plans won some support from the unions, but there are concerns about cutting the inspection notice period.’
      • ‘When she had turned fifteen, she had given up trying to win her father's love and attention.’
      • ‘However, he will bring fresh thinking to the party's efforts to win support.’
      • ‘For this Olympics, Taiwan spared neither money nor effort to win international recognition.’
      • ‘But the company is now winning the attention of some of Australia's biggest corporate players.’
      • ‘Here, Millie's warm personality won the attention of staff and students alike.’
      • ‘The new king, he summed up, would have to win the love, confidence and support of the Nepalese people.’
      • ‘She prescribes sponge layer cakes or a tray of muffins to make the cook feel good and win the love and admiration of everyone around.’
      captivate, steal, gain
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2win someone over Gain the support or favor of someone by action or persuasion.
      ‘her sense of humor had won him over at once’
      • ‘But by the end, she's won them over as her greatest supporters.’
      • ‘When dealing with people who seem to have basic socialist principles but are dead-set against immigration, what arguments can convincingly win them over?’
      • ‘By doing so, the chain hopes to bring regulars back and win them over with exceptional service.’
      • ‘An air of pessimism has descended on the support and it will take a good start to win them over.’
      • ‘The soft-spoken artist, using his persuasive charm, won her over.’
      • ‘Many anarchists and syndicalists supported the revolution and he was keen to win them over.’
      • ‘The hardware store dramatics, however, won her over and I proudly brought my rolled up rug to school.’
      • ‘He suffered early houndings from the Rangers support, but won them over.’
      • ‘Therefore he wins her over with gentle persuasion.’
      • ‘However, his unsubtle, overtly physical techniques of persuasion fail to win them over.’
      • ‘His poised, persuasive presentation won them over.’
      • ‘By the time Scott finished reading the script, he was won over by its humour and by the chance to play someone he'd never played before.’
      • ‘By relying on a characteristically low-key form of moral persuasion, he believes he is slowly winning them over and that the foundations will eventually reflect his influence.’
      • ‘What is it about the island that won you over?’
      • ‘For the ones who are skeptical but convincing, one might think that publishing a series of papers, all with consistent data supporting your model, would eventually win them over.’
      • ‘Watch it with friends and let the subtle observational humour win you over until the smile washes over your face and you laugh in unison like lightly tickled hyenas.’
      • ‘It took weeks of persuasion for her to win them over.’
      • ‘Likewise, she had had to greet many young and eligible bachelors, all of whom did their best to impress her and win her over, asking for dances and favours from the princess.’
      • ‘The reenactments don't always work so smoothly, but the tales of enduring romance and the subjects' senses of humour will win you over, without a doubt.’
      • ‘It's a charmer, a movie that slowly wins you over with its subtle humour and its depiction of the great, stupid little moments that characterize the beginning of a relationship.’
      persuade, talk round, bring round, convince, induce, sway, prevail on
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    3. 2.3win outno object Manage to succeed or achieve something by effort.
      ‘talent won out over bureaucracy’
      • ‘The Stagecoach millionaire claims that the ‘power of public opinion’ has won through.’
      • ‘Entrants had to complete a simple physical test, a problem-solving command task, working as part of a team, a logic test and an interview in their efforts to win through to a national competition with ten places at stake.’
      • ‘Our readers seem to like it chilly, but this year Adriatic sunshine has won through, pipping perennial favourites Iceland, Finland and Norway.’
      • ‘North Carolina looked far from sharp last week, but talent eventually will win out.’
      • ‘They were all miserable efforts, but at least the least bad one won through in the end.’
      • ‘But it is determination and the will to succeed that will eventually win out.’
      • ‘The teams had won through from a series of county events.’
      • ‘His honesty and integrity won through in the end.’
      • ‘Down Minors have succeeded again in showing their stamina and determination in winning through in the quarter-finals of the All Ireland Minor Championship when they beat Galway in Cavan.’
      • ‘Pat won through to complete her course in Key Skills in IT.’
      • ‘But Thornton's determination has won through and for the past four seasons, he has topped 50 winners.’
      • ‘Her drive to succeed began to win out as her career developed further into both choreographing and producing.’
      • ‘What a shame it would be if racing ends in Ballybeggan Park - filthy lucre winning out over sportsmanship and pride in your home town achievements - sad if that happens to be the case.’
      • ‘But her determination has won through and while Grace will sadly never meet her father, Mrs Scott has the baby she longed for.’
      • ‘It was tough going out there but we won through with hard graft.’
      • ‘Even then, ethnic allegiances won through and they weren't eliminated.’
      • ‘Powerful water lances were used to loosen the hold and, with only minutes left, 32 members of the assembled emergency services won through and got him out.’
      • ‘There are several occasions when the intrepid adventurer looks destined to fail as a result of failing health or a lack of cash, but owing to his unnerving determination he always manages to win through.’
      • ‘We can operate on a level playing field, in which effort, struggle, and talent win out in the end.’
      • ‘If Celtic had won through in Europe their efforts on the domestic front may also have been spoken of more favourably.’
    4. 2.4archaic Manage to reach (a place) by effort.
      ‘many lived to win the great cave’
    5. 2.5 Obtain (ore) from a mine.
      • ‘Since excavations began at Loy Yang in 1982, the large numbers speak for themselves with 398 million m3 of coal (or 446 million tonnes of coal) being won.’


  • A successful result in a contest, conflict, bet, or other endeavor; a victory.

    ‘a win against Norway’
    • ‘After a couple of bad recent league results, a win was needed to move away from the bottom end of the table.’
    • ‘As a result of her win on Sunday she will also be competing in the National Athletic finals at Tullamore in July.’
    • ‘Vikings are now themselves shooting to the top of the soccer ladder as a result of the win.’
    • ‘His first crack over hurdles resulted in a wide-margin win at Uttoxeter.’
    • ‘This was a very disappointing result following their wins over Ballinrobe and Ballyhaunis.’
    • ‘The players might tell you they enjoy the occasion, and maybe they do, especially if it results in a win.’
    • ‘Bootham were only five points behind on aggregate as two of the frame wins were black ball results.’
    • ‘If you have one or two wild cards, making a full run is relatively easy and will usually result in a win.’
    • ‘The pairs enjoyed a mixed bag of results, with three wins and creditable performances in their close losses.’
    • ‘The recent results and contract wins have provided a boost to the share price, which has begun to steadily lift from recent lows.’
    • ‘However it did take place on Tuesday night and resulted in a win for the Poyntzpass team.’
    • ‘The women participated well, with strong play by all positions and as a result the win was Waterloo's.’
    • ‘The counties met in a challenge a fortnight ago, and it resulted in a convincing win for the Ulster side.’
    • ‘No other Taiwan player has achieved a Pro Tour victory and the win puts Chuan in the big ten of the sport.’
    • ‘The five-year-old's last two starts on an all-weather surface, both at Wolverhampton, have resulted in two pillar-to-post wins.’
    • ‘This test will likely be drawn, the only other result is an Indian win.’
    • ‘Yorkshire have advanced to the quarter finals as a result of resounding wins over Minor Counties opponents in the previous two rounds.’
    • ‘He played in one more Test to try to help them get a result and a series win.’
    • ‘The result was some nice wins against Labour but too many losses against the Tories.’
    • ‘Several short-term wins occurred as a result of the formation of the College Connection.’
    victory, triumph, conquest, success, game, set, and match
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  • win the day

    • Be victorious in battle, sport, or argument.

      • ‘But ultimately, ladies and gentleman, the president of the United States won the day.’
      • ‘But they have one argument which might just win the day.’
      • ‘We hope that by the time you hold this issue in your hands, common sense and a true commitment to homeland security will have won the day.’
      • ‘It would be an unforgivable tragedy for apathy to win the day and alter our sport for all time.’
      • ‘None of these arguments wins the day, but they're reasonable and fair-minded; the same can't be said for those who oppose the freedom to marry.’
      • ‘The 33-year-old Cuban's undoubted class may have won the day but the youngster has a great career ahead of him in his chosen sport.’
      • ‘Eventually, however, her persuasive powers won the day.’
      • ‘People-power has won the day in the battle to have Old Town's hated bus-priority traffic lights switched off.’
      • ‘It appeared that his line of argument was going to win the day, but at this point the Roman Inquisition demanded that he be sent to Rome to be tried by them.’
      • ‘Without going into too much research, it is clear that the reason that we were landed with this road is simply because vested interests won the day.’
  • win or lose

    • Whether one succeeds or fails.

      ‘win or lose, the important thing for him is to set a good example’
      • ‘Whether they fight may be more important than whether they win or lose in the end.’
      • ‘It's not how you play the game, it's whether you win or lose that counts.’
      • ‘It's not whether you win or lose, it's whether you wake up with a good story.’
      • ‘It is nice to win, but I find the last few years, it really doesn't matter whether we do or not and if it's a good game, you enjoy it whether you win or lose.’
      • ‘They know a fan truth that is as old as sport itself - it's not whether you win or lose, it's how much of a ruckus you create along the way.’
      • ‘He seems utterly absorbed with his personal statistics and appears not to care whether the Cubs win or lose.’
      • ‘Whether they win or lose, the action is electrifying, it's second to none and owners are right in the thick of it.’
      • ‘It matters to them whether they miss a spare, whether they win or lose a pot.’
      • ‘However, whether they win or lose, a corner has definitely been turned.’
      • ‘In the great game of life, whether you win or lose depends upon which voice is the loudest at the moment of decision.’
  • win (or earn) one's spurs

    • 1historical Gain a knighthood by an act of bravery.

      • ‘By 1794 the average age of French generals was 33, and most of Napoleon's marshals won their spurs during this period.’
      • ‘Aspiring knights will have to earn their spurs.’
      1. 1.1informal Gain one's first distinction or honors.
        • ‘Before taking over a year ago as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, he earned his spurs as governor of Utah.’
        • ‘He has earned his spurs after time spent in business and corporate banking at a number of locations.’
        • ‘Not that he hadn't already earned his spurs in the business.’
        • ‘This was, without question, the Shamrocks clubman's finest display since he first won his spurs with the squad.’
        • ‘James had cut his teeth and earned his spurs and like father, like son, he has not been slow to court the Chinese.’
        • ‘Both bowlers earned their spurs on tours of the Caribbean.’
        • ‘You've earned your spurs, you're in the union, you've got your license to practise…’
        • ‘Mr Scarlett has a strong following inside MI6 where he won his spurs on operations abroad, including as station chief in Moscow in the 1990s.’
        • ‘It was a way to earn their spurs as newscasters; to make household names out of their anchors and reporters; to inform their viewers; to serve the public interest.’
        • ‘But if you want to be an academic leader, a dean, a president, a provost, it's very important to win your spurs as a respected faculty member.’
  • you can't win them all (or win some, lose some)

    • informal Said to express consolation or resignation after failure in a contest.

      • ‘He added: ‘It's a win some, lose some situation.’’
      • ‘If he wins the euro referendum, it will be a huge boost to the new administration; if he loses, well, you can't win them all, and there will be four years to get over it.’
      • ‘We treat people with respect and dignity, but you can't win them all.’
      • ‘Oh well, I suppose that you can't win them all, and the fact that this movie exists is definitely proof of that.’
      • ‘Well, I guess you can't win them all, you know?’
      • ‘You expect to win some, lose some, but you don't expect to lose some, lose some and then lose some more.’
      • ‘You have to be on the edge and I guess you can't win them all.’
      • ‘It was a case of win some, lose some last weekend, as Sligo teams aimed for the play-offs in Division Three of the National Hurling League and Division Three of the Ladies Gaelic football National League.’
      • ‘That one came back to bite the Bucs, of course, when they had their historic breakdown in the fourth quarter last Monday, but like Smith said, you can't win them all.’
      • ‘I've probably had better performances in Grand Slam finals but you can't win them all.’
  • one can't win

    • informal Said when someone feels that no course of action open to them will bring success or please people.

      • ‘Some things about parenting you can't win - someone's got to be born first, and someone second, and whatever your place in the birth order, something comes with it.’
      • ‘In this kind of ethical dilemma you can't win; damned if you do, damned if you don't.’
      • ‘If it is because the group will treat you differently, then again you can't win because they've already gotten used to a particular way of being, and it is not really under your control to change them.’
      • ‘Second, you can't win with an irrational critic like Bowers.’
      • ‘We know how difficult it is, but you only make it harder for yourself if you go down with the attitude that you can't win.’


Old English winnan ‘strive, contend’ also ‘subdue and take possession of, acquire’, of Germanic origin.