eli5: What does decisive victory mean?



Trying to summarize an action scene in a web series I ~~plan on~~ want to make, but Im not exactly sure if “decisive victory” will fit. I tried looking it u, but the definition left me with more questions than answers.

Thanks in advance

In: Other

It means that the victory was definitive without doubt, that the winning side definitely won and it wasn’t close.

It means that one side absolutely crushed the other side. As in the enemies didn’t stand a chance and it was completely one sided.

Other users are maybe misinformed here. It is not “a really good victory uwu”.

A decisive victory is a victory that changes the current state of the conflict.

If the conflict is simple, like arm wrestling best of 3, a decisive victory is the second win for a competitor.

If the conflict is more complex, like “taking a beachhead” or “routing a flank” or “defeating cancer”, the decisive victory may not be so clear-cut or easy to recognize. It may depend on external factors, such as generals deciding that they’ve thrown too many resources at a problem, or a mysterious benefactor donating hospital beds.

A decisive victory is one where a decision is made with regard to the conflict. A conflict can have many decisive victories. It can have no, or only one decisive victory. The decisive victory could happen early, and be small, but have snowballing effects.

The context and scope of the conflict must also be taken into account. A decisive victory at an arm wrestling tournament may win you a match, but it does not necessarily win you the tournament.

Using LotR for example, a decisive victory could have been the wraiths getting the ring from the start. Everything else could have happened the same but within the scale of the larger conflict, the war was already won at that point.

In addition to the immediate answer of ‘overwhelming, clear victory’, it often is decisive in that it ‘decides’ the issue. More so in ancient times when one crushing defeat meant the war was over.

A decisive victory is the event that makes someone say whether one side won or lost.

It depends on the scope and context of the event and conflict being looked at.

Imagkne you’re a soldier trying to take a hill with your squad. To you, a decisive victory is making it out alive. To your squad leader, it’s taking the hill. To the general, it’s taking the hill at acceptable losses.

Your squad might take the hill (a decisive victory in the sense that the hill is yours), but it took too long or cost an airstrike or you lost too many troops — so in the context of the larger battle, it didn’t change the equation much.

Or your squad might take the hill and cause a snowball effect that results in the conflict resolving — like maybe the hill was the perfect landing zone for more troops, or a great spot to snipe the enemy general, or whatever. In that case, taking the hill is a decisive victory for the squad, and for the larger conflict, even if the larger conflict is still going.

A decisive victory is one that an external observer could look at and say, “this victory is the one that decides the winner”. But it only decides the winner for a certain scope or context — a thousand small decisive victories could be meaningless on a larger scale.