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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.
If she returns to her lost shape (and it cannot be but that she will) her misfortune will have been good fortune, and my defeat a most happy triumph.
We have fully concentrated forces of nearly seventy thousand men with which to attack and defeat the enemy should he cross the Lech.
The nervous irritation aroused by the appearance of Mack, the news of his defeat, and the thought of what lay before the Russian army found vent in anger at Zherkov's untimely jest.
I am sorry to record the fact that Jim was not only ashamed of his defeat but for a moment lost control of his temper.
2) Oenomaus, king of Pisa in Elis, warned by an oracle that he should be killed by his son-in-law, offered his daughter Hippodamia to the man who could defeat him in a chariot race, on condition that the defeated suitors should be slain by him.
He sought to drown his sorrow for the defeat in floods of beer.
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.
It was Lucille he wanted, the woman who had shown him how sweet even defeat might be, who had made these three years of his life so happy that they seemed to have passed in one delightful dream.
Their journey to London simply ended in their becoming the victims of another defeat.
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.
If certain convincing defeats from the same team are experienced, then it is logical for the defeated one to reexamine his tactics and not constantly look for the blame in the balls, judges, audience, Dimitar Grumar comments for Dnevnik in context to the eight-year defeats of the opposition.
Hart has not played Crespi since those defeats, and Hart broke the Loyola series losing streak with a 26-7 victory in 1999.
Education advocates say the funding defeats are not a signal that voters aren't in favor of school spending, just that they are cautious about how money is raised.