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

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Other Words from cost


costless \ ˈkȯst-​ləs How to pronounce costless (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 The initial cost to the city for the first year is about $30,000, with the goal to create a consistent look between city departments and the public., "'The 'Field is Open': Fairfield adopts new slogan," 13 Apr. 2020 After the first five years, the total cost for all three buildings would be about $1.6 million. Thomas Jewell, cleveland, "Going green, again: Cleveland Heights introduces solar power agreement for three city buildings," 13 Apr. 2020 Two Democratic Party committee members in Oklahoma offered to help offset the cost for some of its members by hosting fundraisers for delegates. Jack Turman, Lacrai Mitchell, CBS News, "A traditional summertime convention amid coronavirus? Both parties wrestle cost and image issues," 11 Apr. 2020 See More of the MC20 MC20 mules appear to take cues from the Alfa Romeo 4C, which makes sense, as this Maserati could help amortize FCA's development costs for that Alfa's carbon-fiber tub. Colin Beresford, Car and Driver, "2021 Maserati MC20 to Be Powered by All-Italian Twin-Turbo V-6," 10 Apr. 2020 But unlike more traditional food stamp programs, WIC money may only be spent on a narrow list of foods intended to provide the most nutrition at the lowest cost for taxpayers. Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY, "Going shopping for your coronavirus quarantine? Leave some food for low-income moms," 9 Apr. 2020 In addition to the furloughs, Marquette announced other measures to reduce costs Wednesday, including suspending university travel, merit raises and nonessential hiring for varying time frames. Devi Shastri, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Marquette will furlough 250 employees as it estimates a $15 million shortfall so far from coronavirus," 8 Apr. 2020 Additionally, the federal stimulus plan includes funds that are meant to offset hospital costs for caring for the uninsured who get COVID-19. Rachel Leingang, azcentral, "Lost your health insurance after losing your job? Here are your options," 6 Apr. 2020 Vice President Mike Pence also announced Thursday that the White House was considering direct payments to hospitals to cover COVID-19 treatment costs for the uninsured. Time, "White House Moves Toward Promoting Face Masks to Fight Coronavirus," 3 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb And the prices of washable, reusable masks on Amazon vary widely and regularly cost more than $4 per mask. Justin Phillips,, "Restaurants reopening after shutdown face challenges over masks, money," 26 May 2020 The shuttle was meant to drastically lower the cost of access to space by having a reusable orbiter, but instead NASA’s costs ballooned—each flight cost more than $1 billion. Daniel Oberhaus, Wired, "What It’s Like to Be First to Fly a Brand New Spacecraft," 25 May 2020 McRae said, noting that hand sanitizer was costing as much as $45 a gallon as of May 18. Thomas Jewell, cleveland, "Cleveland Heights officials wade into decision to close pool, cancel summer programs due to COVID," 25 May 2020 The tungsten in question weighs 35 pounds and costs $1,877 from the supplier. Fox News, "Brad Keselowski wins rain-delayed Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte," 25 May 2020 In recent years, healthcare payers have pushed for more treatment of patients at home by ambulance paramedics, as such services cost less than emergency room visits. David Hogberg, Washington Examiner, "Ambulance services getting crushed by getting roped into virus response," 25 May 2020 Top Gear estimates the Cullinan model will end up costing 30,000 pounds ($36,500) or more, depending on options. Sebastian Blanco, Car and Driver, "Rolls-Royce Offers 1:8-Scale Cullinan Model That Basically Shrinks the Real Deal," 25 May 2020 Donald Trump has acknowledged his push to reopen the U.S. economy before the coronavirus outbreak abates may cost more American lives. Mario Parker,, "Trump’s Push to Reopen From Virus Repels Some Republican Supporters," 24 May 2020 Prime square footage in the capital costs three times as much as space in other southern cities and seven to nine times as much as elsewhere in Britain. The Economist, "Peak capital London may have gone into a covid-accelerated decline," 23 May 2020

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

16 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cost.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for cost


How to pronounce cost (audio)

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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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

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