gain

\ \ [15] Gain is Germanic in origin, although English acquired it via Old French. Its distant ancestor is the Germanic noun *waithā. The etymological meaning of this was ‘hunting ground’ (it came ultimately from a prehistoric Indo-European base *wei-, which also produced Lithuanian vytipursue, hunt’ and Sanskrit veti, vayatiseeks, follows’), but gradually this extended via ‘place where food or fodder is sought’ to ‘grazing place’ (its modern German and Dutch descendant weide means ‘pasture’).
\ \ From it was formed a verb *waithanjanhunt’ and ‘graze, pasture’, which Vulgar Latin took over as *gwadanjāre. This preserved the semantic dichotomy that had grown up in Germanic: the agricultural sense developed to ‘cultivate land’, and it appears that the ‘hunting’ sense gave rise metaphorically to ‘win, earn’.
\ \ Both passed into Old French gaaigner, but evidently by the time English acquired the word, the former meaning had all but died out (although it is interesting to note that it was introduced into English as a pseudo-archaism in the 17th and 18th centuries: ‘Of old to gain land was as much as to till and manure it’, Termes de la ley 1708).

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • gain — gain …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • gain — [ gɛ̃ ] n. m. • XIIe; de gagner 1 ♦ Littér. Action de gagner. Le gain d une bataille. ⇒ succès, victoire. Le gain d un procès. Cour. Avoir, obtenir gain de cause. Absolt Chances égales de gain et de perte. 2 ♦ Ce qu on gagne; profit, bénéfice… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • gain — n 1: an increase in value, capital, or amount compare loss capital gain: a gain realized on the sale or exchange of a capital asset (as a stock or real estate) ca·su·al·ty gain: a gain realized by an insured because property insurance benefits… …   Law dictionary

  • gain — GAIN. s. m. Profit, lucre. Grand gain. petit gain. gain mediocre. gain sordide, illicite, deshonneste. travailler pour le gain. faire à moitié de gain. entrer avec quelqu un à moitié de gain & de perte. à perte & à gain. apporter grand gain.… …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • Gain — Gain, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Gained} (g[=a]nd); p. pr. & vb. n. {Gaining}.] [From gain, n. but. prob. influenced by F. gagner to earn, gain, OF. gaaignier to cultivate, OHG. weidin[=o]n, weidinen to pasture, hunt, fr. weida pasturage, G. weide,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Gain — (g[=a]n), n. [OE. gain, gein, ga[yogh]hen, gain, advantage, Icel. gagn; akin to Sw. gagn, Dan. gavn, cf. Goth. gageigan to gain. The word was prob. influenced by F. gain gain, OF. gaain. Cf. {Gain}, v. t.] 1. That which is gained, obtained, or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • gain — gain1 [gān] n. [ME < OFr gaaigne < gaaignier: see GAIN1 the vt.] 1. an increase; addition; specif., a) [often pl.] an increase in wealth, earnings, etc.; profit; winnings b) an increase in advantage; advantage; improvement 2. the act of… …   English World dictionary

  • Gain — Gain, v. i. To have or receive advantage or profit; to acquire gain; to grow rich; to advance in interest, health, or happiness; to make progress; as, the sick man gains daily. [1913 Webster] Thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbors by… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Gain — ist das englische Wort für Verstärkung (Physik), wird in der Technik verwendet die Eingangsverstärkung, etwa bei einem Mischpult oder Gitarrenverstärker der Gain (Mawddach), Quellfluss des Mawddach in Wales eine Namensvariante der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • gain — ► VERB 1) obtain or secure. 2) reach or arrive at. 3) (gain on) come closer to (a person or thing pursued). 4) increase the amount or rate of (weight, speed, etc.). 5) increase in value. 6) (gain in) improve o …   English terms dictionary

  • Gain — Gain, a. [OE. gein, gain, good, near, quick; cf. Icel. gegn ready, serviceable, and gegn, adv., against, opposite. Cf. {Ahain}.] Convenient; suitable; direct; near; handy; dexterous; easy; profitable; cheap; respectable. [Obs. or Prov. Eng.]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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