Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia.

admit defeat

To yield to the opposition or accept that one is wrong in some pursuit. Well, I ran a good campaign, but it is time I admitted defeat in this election.
See also: admit, defeat

snatch defeat from the jaws of victory

To fail, lose, or be defeated despite the appearance that one would be victorious, especially due to a mistake, error, or poor judgment. (An ironic reversal of the more common "snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.") We were ahead by nearly 20 points with less than half the quarter remaining—how on earth did we manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory like that? The candidate has led in the polls right up to election day, but with that unfortunate remark last night, he may well have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
See also: defeat, jaw, of, snatch, victory

go down in defeat

 and go down to defeat
Fig. to submit to defeat; to be defeated. The team went down in defeat again. She fears going down in defeat.
See also: defeat, down

snatch victory from the jaws of defeat

Cliché to win at the last moment. At the last moment, the team snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a last-second full-court basket.
See also: defeat, jaw, of, snatch, victory
References in classic literature ?
A defeat of the army had suggested itself to him as a means of escape from the consequences of his fall.
He said, as if in excuse for this hope, that previously the army had encountered great defeats and in a few months had shaken off all blood and tradition of them, emerging as bright and valiant as a new one; thrusting out of sight the memory of disaster, and appearing with the valor and confidence of unconquered legions.
Yet its defeat did not put an end to the hard times.
These two defeats had been very disastrous to organized labor.
Many scores of Regulus's comrades had found their way back to Brussels, and all agreeing that they had run away--filled the whole town with an idea of the defeat of the allies.
But success or defeat was a minor matter to them, who had only thought for the safety of those they loved.
Britain's team was able to defeat its French counterpart with three victories.
Muscat: Bahrain overcame a battling Oman to defeat the hosts 10-4 via penalties on the second day of the Asian Beach Handball Championships at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex on Saturday.
JOHN Carver equalled an unwanted record after Newcastle United's defeat to Tottenham - the interim boss has now been in charge for six straight league defeats, matching a run under former manager Alan Pardew.
Truly, the team that loses has the right to be mad but it must definitely work on itself and reexamine the tactics with which it goes from a defeat to a bigger defeat.
Summary: A defiant Jose Mourinho has brushed off Real Madrid's crushing 5-0 defeat at the hands of arch-rivals Barcelona.
Other round three results across the top boards saw Khalaf Bukhalaf draw with Rajeev Ramchandran, Anthony Pelayo draw with Joey Cabaya, Ali Sulaiti defeat Greg Baliong, Mansoor Bukhalaf defeat Hashim Ghuloom, Mohammed Abduljabbar defeat Melad Ahmad, Lou Filsalda defeat Noel Abasolo, Rethish P defeat Rene Costales, and Dado Cagampan defeat Hameed Abdulla.
Veerendra Kumar, who represents Kozhikode in the outgoing House, yesterday minced no words when he said "the arrogance of the CPM" had led to the defeat.
Like this one: "The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.
And it may take a Republican defeat to bring about a complete change in the GOP leadership in Washington.