Student or Learner
In the three-person Republican Senate primary this year, Mr. Akin also was not favored, yet he won in part because Ms. McCaskill and her supporters spent nearly $2 million on advertisements highlighting his conservatism. This was part of the McCaskill campís strategy to help Mr. Akin win the race, as it thought he would be the easiest candidate to beat in the general election.
Yes, "defeat" is a verb and it means to win.
Gillnetter's point was that the original sentence was not about a past tense "to be defeated" but a future event "to defeat."
Searching through OneLook one by one, the fifth dict tells me:
Akin to defeat (his contender in an easiest way)? Seems not likely.Defeat is the opposite of victory. When you lose, you suffer defeat. When you win, you defeat your enemy.
This is a word that's all about losing. In World War II, America and the Allies defeated the Axis powers: we beat them. In basketball, Michael Jordan usually defeated his opponents. Any loss can be called a defeat. When you're disappointed or think that nothing is going right, you feel defeated. If you're determined to win, you could say, "I won't accept defeat!" Some people are so stubborn that even though they've obviously been defeated, they won't admit defeat.
Maybe you're just not asking your question in a way that makes sense to us.
"Defeat" is a transitive verb. She wants to defeat her opponent. She may have faced any one of three opponents. Of the three, she thought Akin would be defeated most easily. He would be the easiest one to defeat.
The problem with your win/lose sentences in post #4 is that you are trying to use an intransitive verb as a substitute for a transitive verb in that sentence and it doesn't work.
Of the candidates, he would be the most likely to lose against her. - He is the "doer" of lose.
He would be the candidate most easily beaten/defeated. - He is the "recipient" of the action of being defeated.
I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.