Etymology: Middle English gayne, from Anglo-French gaigne, gain, from gaaigner to till, earn, gain, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German weidanōn to hunt for food, Old English wāth pursuit, hunt
Date: 14th century
1. resources or advantage acquired or increased ; profit <made substantial gains last year> 2. the act or process of gaining 3. a. an increase in amount, magnitude, or degree <a gain in efficiency> b. the increase (as of voltage or signal intensity) caused by an amplifier; especially the ratio of output over input c. the signal-gathering ability of an antenna II. verb Date: 14th century transitive verb 1. a. to acquire or get possession of usually by industry, merit, or craft <gain an advantage> <he stood to gain a fortune> b. to win in competition or conflict <the troops gained enemy territory> c. (1) to arrive at ; reach, attain <gained the river that night> (2) traverse, cover <gained 10 yards on the play> d. to get by a natural development or process <gain strength> e. to establish a specific relationship with <gain a friend> 2. a. to make an increase of (a specified amount) <gained three percent in the past month> b. to increase in (a particular quality) <gain momentum> 3. to win to one's side ; persuade <gain adherents to a cause> 4. to cause to be obtained or given ; attract <gain attention> 5. of a timepiece to run fast by the amount of <the clock gains a minute a day> intransitive verb 1. to get advantage ; profit <hoped to gain by the deal> 2. a. increase <the day was gaining in warmth> b. to increase in weight c. to improve in health or ability 3. of a timepiece to run fast 4. to get closer to something pursued — usually used with on or upon • gainer noun
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.