(to) Defeat/(a) Defeat

When used as a verb we can say (or hear) that one team defeated another team; they beat another team. When a team loses a game they suffer a defeat – here it is used as a noun. So, in the recent Champions League tie between Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund, which City won 2-1, we could say any of the following (using defeat as a noun or a verb):

  • Manchester City defeated Dortmund 2-1.
  • Dortmund were defeated 2-1 by Manchester City.
  • Dortmund suffered a defeat against Manchester City.
  • Dortmund’s defeat to City was a tough one to take.
  • Manchester City’s defeat of Dortmund was an important one.

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More Examples

  • Example: Spain defeated Holland in the 2010 World Cup final.
  • Example: Tottenham inflicted a heavy defeat on Arsenal.
  • Example: Manchester United suffered a surprise defeat against Sunderland in the Premier League.

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  • Defeat “to” does not make sense ! It should always be defeat “by” or defeat “of”

    • Hmm…

      The ‘to’ in this post means to show this can be used as a verb – to defeat another team. The ‘a’ shows the same word can be used as a noun – They suffered a defeat last weekend.

    • Hi Chris,

      Yes, the ‘to’ here refers to the fact that ‘defeat’ can be used both as a noun and a verb (It might lead to confusion so I will update that entry in our glossary – a good excuse to add some more information there – thanks).

      I wonder are there times when ‘defeat‘ and ‘to‘ can actually be used? This headline was in the Argus newspaper about the recent Manchester United defeat of Brighton.

      ‘How Albion’s players rated in their defeat to Manchester United’ (The Argus, April 5, 2021)

      Thanks for the comment


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