\ 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.

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun When the city’s .5-percent income tax increase was passed last year, $200,000 of the new money derived from the increase was earmarked for annual sidewalk repairs, meaning there would be no cost to residents. cleveland, "Mayfield Heights Council committee recommends streets scheduled for 2021 resurfacing," 2 Apr. 2021 The surge may have been the cost of an earlier RSV-free season, says Dr. Richard Malley, an infectious diseases physician at Boston Children’s Hospital. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Should We Keep Wearing Masks Even After the Pandemic Ends?," 2 Apr. 2021 But there is a cost to starting from scratch at the beginning of the season, namely the ups and downs a team must endure to discover its identity. Dylan Hernández Columnist, Los Angeles Times, "Column: USC had a nice NCAA tournament run, but can Andy Enfield sustain it?," 30 Mar. 2021 Refining is the second-largest cost, making up a quarter of the retail price for gasoline. Nicolas Loris, Star Tribune, "Rising gas prices: Not Biden's fault, at least not yet," 28 Mar. 2021 There is no cost to participate, according to a news release. Pine Bluff Commercial, Arkansas Online, "Calendar 3-27-21," 27 Mar. 2021 On the other hand, Salt Lake City Council staffer Ben Luedtke worried that if a ballot was long, or required an extra page, there would be an additional cost. Marina Mcnairy, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Salt Lake City Council discusses whether to participate in ranked choice voting pilot program," 27 Mar. 2021 There is no cost for youth who have been diagnosed with autism or other developmental disabilities. Post-tribune Staff,, "Community news," 26 Mar. 2021 The advantage here is a lower cost to print through this ink type. Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored, "The best printer of 2021," 25 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Low-wattage models typically go for $130, while midrange blenders generally cost between $170 and $225. Jennifer Blair,, "The best Bamix blender," 5 Apr. 2021 That plan will be paid for by tax increases on wealthy households and could cost more than $1 trillion. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, "Infrastructure draws hint of GOP support," 5 Apr. 2021 Manfred knows well that moving the All-Star Game might cost the MLB viewers and customers at ballparks. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Politics and sports are forever intertwined; MLB pulling All-Star Game latest example," 4 Apr. 2021 That family was fined $220,000, while the fire cost the state $8.2 million. Chris Smith, BGR, "Gender reveal stunt ends with fatal plane crash into the sea," 4 Apr. 2021 That plan will be paid for by tax increases on wealthy households and could cost more than $1 trillion. oregonlive, "Republicans say Biden must slash infrastructure plan for bipartisan support," 4 Apr. 2021 That plan will be paid for by tax increases on wealthy households and could cost more than $1 trillion., "Republicans say they may support a much smaller infrastructure plan as Democrats continue to push for it," 4 Apr. 2021 The custom colors ranged from Nogaro Blue Pearl and Violet Touch Metallic to Viper Green Metallic and Copper Orange Metallic and cost $2,500. Morgan Korn, ABC News, "Silver or White? No way. More drivers are demanding customization," 3 Apr. 2021 Generally speaking, the primary advantage to leaving your savings invested in your former employer's plan is cost. Michael J. Francis, Star Tribune, "Like saving, retirement spending also requires a plan," 3 Apr. 2021

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

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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Statistics for cost

Last Updated

7 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cost.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Apr. 2021.

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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 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

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Comments on cost

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