\ ˈkȯst How to pronounce cost (audio) \

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 How to pronounce cost (audio) \ : to estimate or set the cost of often used with out The project has yet to be costed out.

Other Words from cost


costless \ ˈkȯst-​ləs How to pronounce cost (audio) \ adjective
costlessly adverb

Examples of cost in a Sentence

Noun 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? Verb 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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The cost is often embedded in municipal taxes so residents mistakenly think trash is picked up for free. Jan Ellen Spiegel, Hartford Courant, 22 May 2022 The group splits the $16 monthly cost between members. Linda Mcintosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 21 May 2022 But protecting ourselves, and more specifically our children, who are too young to be vaccinated, has come at great personal cost. Katie Gutierrez, Time, 21 May 2022 Remember that the interest rate adds extra cost to the loan over time. cleveland, 21 May 2022 The construction industry currently faces supply chain disruptions, unprecedented materials-cost inflation, declining investment in structures, and a skilled-labor shortage of 650,000 people in 2022. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, 21 May 2022 Open Story is a Target-exclusive luggage brand that offers top-performing hardside suitcases and a lower cost than its competitors. Lexie Sachs, Good Housekeeping, 20 May 2022 Only 17 Korean films with a production cost of more than 3 billion won ($2.3 million) were released last year. Soomee Park, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 May 2022 But supporters of the project argued the community benefits that developers agreed to outweigh the public cost. J.d. Capelouto, ajc, 20 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The commemorative 32-ounce Indy 500 milk bottles come filled with beer and cost $12 each. Cheryl V. Jackson, The Indianapolis Star, 23 May 2022 Specifically, the four-story, above-ground portion commonly referred to as the Global Center cost $317 per square feet to build, Appelbaum said. cleveland, 22 May 2022 For Manu Prakash, ‘cost conscious engineers’ grounded with an understanding of context of a health care delivery system have a key role to design solutions that can be delivered at scale. Madhukar Pai, Forbes, 22 May 2022 Judge’s 15th home run cost Cueto a chance at the win. Jerry Beach, Hartford Courant, 22 May 2022 Tatum’s six-turnover third quarter in Game 1 cost Boston, and in Game 3, Brown was the culprit, with five of them. Globe Staff,, 21 May 2022 Arch construction took about 6 months and cost about $10,000. Fox News, 21 May 2022 The city does not yet have an estimate for how much the ruptured pipe and reconstruction work will cost. Zayna Syed, The Arizona Republic, 21 May 2022 The squeeze cost an extra C$400 ($311) in feed per animal over winter, said Jacob Bueckert, chair of the Alberta Cattle Feeders. Megan Durisin, Jen Skerritt, Michael Hirtzer, Anchorage Daily News, 21 May 2022 See More

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.

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

Verb and Noun

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

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Time Traveler for cost

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

25 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cost.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for cost


\ ˈkȯst How to pronounce cost (audio) \
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

More from Merriam-Webster on cost

Nglish: Translation of cost for Spanish Speakers

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


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