To vanquish is to be the complete and total winner, to overpower and overcome, whether in a contest, a race, or a war. It generally suggests a total trouncing, to the point of humiliation — or worse — for the loser.

Sometimes words for the same thing are effective in different ways because they offer different levels of meaning. For example, in a game, you can simply win, or you can vanquish your opponent. The former is enough, but the latter makes that defeat sound so much worse, like a total rout. Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once stated, "Against war it may be said that it makes the victor stupid and the vanquished revengeful."

Definitions of vanquish
  1. verb
    come out better in a competition, race, or conflict
    synonyms: beat, beat out, crush, shell, trounce
    beat, circumvent, outfox, outsmart, outwit, overreach
    beat through cleverness and wit
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    outpoint, outscore
    score more points than one's opponents
    walk over
    beat easily
    remove from a contest or race
    mop up, pip, rack up, whip, worst
    defeat thoroughly
    beat overwhelmingly
    get the best, have the best, overcome
    overcome, usually through no fault or weakness of the person that is overcome
    rout, spread-eagle, spreadeagle
    defeat disastrously
    get the jump
    be there first
    cheat, chicane, chouse, jockey, screw, shaft
    defeat someone through trickery or deceit
    exceed, outdo, outgo, outmatch, outperform, outstrip, surmount, surpass
    be or do something to a greater degree
    conquer, get over, master, overcome, subdue, surmount
    get on top of; deal with successfully
    best, outdo, outflank, scoop, trump
    get the better of
    to fight better than; get the better of
    overmaster, overpower, overwhelm
    overcome by superior force
    checkmate, mate
    place an opponent's king under an attack from which it cannot escape and thus ending the game
    immobilise, immobilize
    make defenseless
    excel or defeat in a game
    annihilate, bat, clobber, cream, drub, lick, thrash
    beat thoroughly and conclusively in a competition or fight
    beat, circumvent, outfox, outsmart, outwit, overreach
    beat through cleverness and wit
    grow faster than
    outcry, outshout
    shout louder than
    roar louder than
    sail faster or better than
    draw a gun faster, or best someone in a gunfight
    sell more than others
    be sold more often than other, similar products
    surpass in speed
    better, break
    surpass in excellence
    attract more attention and praise than others
    have a greater range than (another gun)
    be heavier than
    be braver than
    surpass someone in cruelty or evil
    outdo someone in trickery
    surpass or beat by a wide margin
    throw a steer by seizing the horns and twisting the neck, as in a rodeo
    outmaneuver, outmanoeuvre, outsmart
    defeat by more skillful maneuvering
    steamroll, steamroller
    overwhelm by using great force
    march longer distances and for a longer time than
    last longer than others
    type of:
    defeat, get the better of, overcome
    win a victory over
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