On the one hand, you lose "to" your rival. On the other hand, a defeat is done or comes "from" them (there are some search results for the latter but mainly from second-rate publications). I think you can do both but 'to' is better. Am I right?

I am talking about sentences in this form:

"[subject] suffered a defeat to/from [object]"

For example:

Liverpool suffered a defeat to Tottingham.
The Labor Party suffered a defeat from the Conservative Party.

  • to/from are opposite directions. That said, "defeat to" makes no sense. – Lambie Nov 20 '19 at 20:48
  • Sometimes, 'to' and 'from' mean the same thing (for example, 'the store is kitty-corner from/to the hospital'). There are millions (google.ru/…) of search results for "defeat to", including from the Telegraph (telegraph.co.uk/football/2019/11/10/…) – Sergey Zolotarev Nov 20 '19 at 20:55
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    No, to and from never mean the same thing, if associated with defeat. You need to post a full sentence and not just ask a question that does not address even a phrase: either a prepositional phrase with to or a function word use of to. – Lambie Nov 20 '19 at 20:57
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    @SergeyZolotarev - If you want better or quicker answers, try writing better questions. Questions about English can be very difficult to answer when there is not sufficient context. – J.R. Nov 20 '19 at 22:38
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    @SergeyZolotarev If the users here say they need a context or an example to answer your question, then they really need them. I don't understand why you keep saying what people need or don't need to answer your questions. If someone is trying to help you, you don't say "It's getting ridiculous. I would've if you had needed one!" Please, let the users decide what they need to provide an answer or to understand your question. – AIQ Nov 20 '19 at 22:53

It's always from.

In X to Y, X is the originator, and Y is the destination or recipient.

If you defeated to X, you'd have won the battle, and shouldn't be suffering.

Even in the reverse cause you should use of and not to, though.

Liverpool enjoyed a defeat to Tottingham (clumsy)

Liverpool enjoyed a defeat of Tottingham (better)

Don't do this unless you want to sound really literary.

Liverpool suffered Tottingham to a defeat.

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    Lawrence, wouldn't one say: to lead x to defeat? As in the opposite: to lead x to victory? Where the verb lead would be the antecedent? :) – Lambie Nov 21 '19 at 16:13
  • I'm sorry Lawrence but: "If you defeated to X" is really poor grammar. 'Defeated': having been beaten in a battle or other contest to the past. 'To' indicates a goal or a direction of movement, as well as a place of arrival. The two are juxtaposed. "Liverpool [ironically] enjoyed a defeat AT Tottenham [Hotspur] possibly. More correctly: "Liverpool suffered a defeat at Tottenham." No such team as 'Tottingham' – NeilB Nov 21 '19 at 18:47
  • Why is it different from 'lose to'? – Sergey Zolotarev Nov 24 '19 at 14:29

I don't think either TO or FROM are correct in this case, i.e. to infer direction 'to the other person' or 'from the other person'.

You suffer a defeat "at the hands of" someone else, that is, because of the actions of the other person.

You could use To in the form of a clause containing to + infinitive as the subject of a sentence:

"To suffer a defeat [at the hands of another...] is rarely a good thing.

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    Yes, one can suffer defeat at the hands of x. And one cannot decide on any use of to or from per se because the noun defeat does not "take" to or from. The use of to or from would be predicated full phrasing. – Lambie Nov 21 '19 at 16:17

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