\ ˈkȯst \

Definition of cost 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the amount or equivalent paid or charged for something : price The average cost of a college education has gone up dramatically.

b : the outlay or expenditure (as of effort or sacrifice) made to achieve an object He achieved fame, but at the cost of losing several friends.

2 : loss or penalty incurred especially in gaining something the cost of lives during war

3 costs plural : expenses incurred in a judicial process especially : those given by the law or the court to the prevailing party against the losing party

at all costs

: regardless of the cost or consequences was determined to win at all costs

at cost

: for the price of production buys clothes at cost directly from the manufacturer


cost; costing

Definition of cost (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to require expenditure or payment The best goods cost more.

2 : to require effort, suffering, or loss

transitive verb

1 : to have a price of Each ticket costs 25 dollars.

2 : to cause to pay, suffer, or lose something Frequent absences cost him his job.

3 past costed\ˈkä-stəd \ : to estimate or set the cost of often used with out The project has yet to be costed out.

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Other words from cost


costless \ˈkȯst-ləs \ adjective
costlessly adverb

Synonyms for cost

Synonyms: Noun

ante, charge, damage, fee, figure, freight, price, price tag

Synonyms: Verb

bring, fetch, go (for), run, sell (for)

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Examples of cost in a Sentence


She attends college at a cost of $15,000 a year. The average cost of raising a family has increased dramatically. We offer services at a fraction of the cost of other companies. What's the difference in cost? They believe that everyone should have access to adequate medical care, regardless of cost. The cost of doing business in this area is high. We need better cost control. Winning the war, he believes, was worth the cost in lives. What are the costs and benefits of the new law?


The trip will cost you about $100 each way. The project will end up costing the government an estimated 3.5 billion dollars. It will cost you a lot of money, but it'll be worth it. His frequent absences ended up costing him his job. The error cost me a reprimand, but nothing more serious than that. a blunder that has cost her considerable embarrassment
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Ortega's government has ultimately wrested back control of this campus - as well as other rebellious cities across Nicaragua - but the cost to his government could be steep. Joshua Partlow,, "Inside the church where Nicaraguan paramilitaries laid siege on university students," 14 July 2018 In 2011, while Massachusetts struggled out of the recession, the state spent $752,000 to study cost savings for the State Police. Todd Wallack,, "For some State Police, it’s a posting in paradise," 14 July 2018 But the number of employees hired without pensions has increased to more than 4,000 since then, more than doubling the city’s potential cost. David Garrick,, "If state Supreme Court rules against San Diego on pensions, it could could cost city millions," 14 July 2018 The European newcomer's vehicle, codenamed PF0, will go into production in 2020 and cost between $2 and $2.5 million. Jack Stewart, WIRED, "Pininfarina's Back With a $2 Million Electric Hypercar," 14 July 2018 The damage surpassed $306 billion, far beyond the previous U.S. annual record cost of $214 billion. Jason Pohl, azcentral, "Fires, floods, hurricanes: Disaster experts weigh ‘new normal’," 14 July 2018 Banks generally set aside money to account for these costs. Adam Shell, USA TODAY, "Credit card holders at JPMorgan rush to cash in their rewards points," 13 July 2018 That price was close to 50 percent off what a new Apple device costs. Doreen Christensen,, "Dear Doreen's Deals: Locked-up carts at Aldi keep prices low; what's tax-free for back to school," 13 July 2018 By keeping the cost down to participants, several families were able to purchase bikes, some with special equipment, Mumby said. The Aegis, "Harford concludes another successful iCan Bike Camp," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That said, as the capsule only carries six people and each flight will cost an estimated $10 million, the company will take notable losses with each flight early on. Chris Morris, Fortune, "Jeff Bezos May Charge $200,000 or More to Fly You to Outer Space," 13 July 2018 The report notes that rising oil prices have cost American families, on average, $300 a year more in gasoline. New York Times, "Fed Plays Down Trade Woes and Suggests Rosy Economic Outlook," 13 July 2018 Our index uses a nugget of economic wisdom called purchasing-power parity: currencies should adjust until goods cost the same everywhere. The Economist, "Investors are gorging on American assets," 12 July 2018 One customer service class, taken online, cost $50, Hurst said. Gal Tziperman Lotan, The Aegis, "About 20 Harford firefighters lose rank by failing to meet deadline for certifications," 11 July 2018 Revenue from premiums has long failed to cover the program’s costs. Daniel Cusick, Scientific American, "As Hurricane Season Ramps Up, Flood Insurance Program Set to Expire," 11 July 2018 Amazon Student is free for the first six months and costs $60 per year after that. Lindsey Murray, Good Housekeeping, "How to Know if Amazon Prime Is Truly Worth It for You and Your Family," 10 July 2018 Reaching voters at their doors requires vast organizational scale, and advertising in the state’s many media markets can cost around $1 million a week. Andrew Rice, Daily Intelligencer, "Can a Democrat Ever Win in Texas?," 10 July 2018 The Olympic Village constructed in Baldwin Hills was about community, but also cost: Most athletes just couldn’t foot the bill for hotels. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Will LA’s ‘no-build’ Olympics spur Southern California’s next building boom?," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cost.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cost


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for cost


see cost entry 2


Middle English, from Anglo-French custer, couster, from Latin constare to stand firm, cost — more at constant

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Dictionary Entries near cost







Costa Brava

Statistics for cost

Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cost

The first known use of cost was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for cost



English Language Learners Definition of cost

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the price of something : the amount of money that is needed to pay for or buy something

: an amount of money that must be spent regularly to pay for something (such as running a business or raising a family)

: something that is lost, damaged, or given up in order to achieve or get something



English Language Learners Definition of cost (Entry 2 of 2)

: to have (an amount of money) as a price

: to cause (someone) to pay an amount of money

: to cause (someone) to lose something


\ ˈkȯst \
cost; costing

Kids Definition of cost

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to have a price of He bought a ticket costing one dollar.

2 : to cause the payment, spending, or loss of Being lazy cost me my job.



Kids Definition of cost (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the amount paid or charged for something : price

2 : loss or penalty involved in gaining something Losing my friends was the cost of moving.



Legal Definition of cost 

1 : the amount or equivalent paid or charged for something

2  plural : expenses incurred in litigation especially : those given by the law or the court to the prevailing party against the losing party

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More from Merriam-Webster on cost

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cost

Spanish Central: Translation of cost

Nglish: Translation of cost for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cost for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about cost

Comments on cost

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a magnificent or impressive array

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