1590s, "an undoing, ruin," from defeat (v.). From c. 1600 as "act of overcoming in a military contest;" by 1690s of other contests and struggles.
late 14c., defeten, diffaiten, "overcome (with sorrow or anger)," from Anglo-French defeter, from Old French desfait, past participle of desfaire "to undo," from Vulgar Latin *diffacere "undo, destroy," from Latin dis- "un-, not" (see dis-) + facere "to do, perform," from PIE root *dhe- "to set, put."
From early 15c. as "bring ruination, cause destruction" (now obsolete in this sense); from late 15c. as "frustrate, prevent the success of." Sense of "deprive of something expected, desired or striven for" is from 1530s. Meaning "overcome in a contest of any kind" is from 1560s. Related: Defeated; defeating. Compare defect, deficient.
*dhē-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to set, put."
It forms all or part of: abdomen; abscond; affair; affect (v.1) "make a mental impression on;" affect (v.2) "make a pretense of;" affection; amplify; anathema; antithesis; apothecary; artifact; artifice; beatific; benefice; beneficence; beneficial; benefit; bibliothec; bodega; boutique; certify; chafe; chauffeur; comfit; condiment; confection; confetti; counterfeit; deed; deem; deface; defeasance; defeat; defect; deficient; difficulty; dignify; discomfit; do (v.); doom; -dom; duma; edifice; edify; efface; effect; efficacious; efficient; epithet; facade; face; facet; facial; -facient; facile; facilitate; facsimile; fact; faction (n.1) "political party;" -faction; factitious; factitive; factor; factory; factotum; faculty; fashion; feasible; feat; feature; feckless; fetish; -fic; fordo; forfeit; -fy; gratify; hacienda; hypothecate; hypothesis; incondite; indeed; infect; justify; malefactor; malfeasance; manufacture; metathesis; misfeasance; modify; mollify; multifarious; notify; nullify; office; officinal; omnifarious; orifice; parenthesis; perfect; petrify; pluperfect; pontifex; prefect; prima facie; proficient; profit; prosthesis; prothesis; purdah; putrefy; qualify; rarefy; recondite; rectify; refectory; sacrifice; salmagundi; samadhi; satisfy; sconce; suffice; sufficient; surface; surfeit; synthesis; tay; ticking (n.); theco-; thematic; theme; thesis; verify.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit dadhati "puts, places;" Avestan dadaiti "he puts;" Old Persian ada "he made;" Hittite dai- "to place;" Greek tithenai "to put, set, place;" Latin facere "to make, do; perform; bring about;" Lithuanian dėti "to put;" Polish dziać się "to be happening;" Russian delat' "to do;" Old High German tuon, German tun, Old English don "to do."
"drive (a body of troops) into disordered flight by defeat," c. 1600, from rout (n.). Hence "defeat or repulse thoroughly." Related: Routed; routing.
"to checkmate," c. 1300, from Old French mater "to checkmate, defeat, overcome," from mat "checkmated" (see checkmate (v.)).
mid-14c., "defeat in battle, overthrow," from Old French desconfiture "rout, defeat" (12c.; Modern French déconfiture), from desconfire (see discomfit). Sense of "frustration, disappointment" is from late 14c. Confused since 15c. with discomforture "discouragement, distress."