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I recently heard a news report about a football match, which spoke of "Arsenal's defeat of Chelsea by three goals to nil".

Can the word "defeat" be used in this way? (BTW Arsenal won the match 3-0) - it strikes me as odd/incorrect, because if they just said "Arsenal's defeat", I would take it to mean Arsenal lost. By sticking "of Chelsea" on the end, does it turn it around?

Surely they should have said, "Arsenal's victory over Chelsea"

  • It says Arsanal's defeat of Chelsea, not Arsenal's defeat by Chelsea. I think the preposition 'of' makes it clear who is defeated and who is the winner. – Arun Sep 26 '16 at 12:36
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The American Heritage Dictionary gives two definitions of defeat as a noun. Note the example given in definition (a):

a. The act of defeating an opponent: the home team's defeat of their rivals.

b. The state of being defeated; failure to win: the home team's defeat by their rivals.

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I agree, "Arsenal's victory over Chelsea" seems the right way to go. I haven't heard of the verb Defeat being used in this way.

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