\ 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 low-cost airliner already provides service from Huntsville to Orlando. al, "Frontier Airlines suspending flights from Mobile’s downtown airport," 6 Jan. 2020 Eastern is a proven winner and his teammates feed off his win-at-all-costs mentality. Akeem Glaspie, Indianapolis Star, "Nojel Eastern's winning plays are contagious for Purdue basketball," 3 Jan. 2020 The company is also expected to release a new low-cost phone in the first half of the year. Fortune, "Apple Shares Top $300 Amid Optimism About Holiday Sales," 2 Jan. 2020 Special Pals, 3830 Greenhouse Road, Houston The no kill shelter has dogs and cats for adoption, and a low-cost clinic with spaying and neutering services, vaccines and microchipping. Chevall Pryce, Houston Chronicle, "Northwest Houston nonprofits welcome year-round help," 2 Jan. 2020 According to Saving Mothers 75 percent of maternal deaths worldwide could be prevented with low-cost intervention. Halley Bondy, NBC News, "'Extremely alarming': New report addresses maternal mortality in the U.S.," 2 Jan. 2020 The mission of the organization is to provide free and low-cost supplies to educators. Elizabeth Montgomery, azcentral, "Know of a classroom short on school supplies? This Tempe nonprofit provides them year-round," 1 Jan. 2020 One of the highest-cost orders on Besa Mafia had been placed by a user with the alias agentisai. Brian Merchant, Harper's magazine, "Click Here to Kill," 31 Dec. 2019 As a response to the foreclosure crisis, in 2009 state lawmakers created low-income legal aid pilot programs in several high-cost counties. Matt Levin,, "A California housing crisis mystery: Rents are way up, but eviction filings are way down," 30 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Since then, Tesla has rolled out an optional upgrade that costs $2000 and promises a further 0.5-second improvement in zero-to-60-mph performance. David Beard, Car and Driver, "Tesla Model 3 Firmware Update Delivers Every Bit of Promised 5 Percent Power Increase," 6 Jan. 2020 The Seahawks lost three of their final four games, including a 26-21 decision to the 49ers in Seattle in Week 17 that cost them the NFC West title. Rob Maaddi,, "Russell Wilson leads Seattle’s win in Philly," 5 Jan. 2020 These plans are all designed to include more options than ever before, including some starch-heavy pantry staples that once cost dieters countless points in previous years. Zee Krstic, Good Housekeeping, "How to Choose Which of Weight Watchers' New Plans Is the Best One for You," 4 Jan. 2020 The dog required round-the-clock medical care that cost thousands of dollars. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Before and after: Houston dog rescued on the brink of death gets a new life," 3 Jan. 2020 Leonard, on the other hand, fought back from a concussion that cost him three games and frustrated him deeply to turn in another ball-disrupting season few linebackers ever produce. Joel A. Erickson, Indianapolis Star, "Quenton Nelson named first team All-Pro, Darius Leonard second team," 3 Jan. 2020 He was involved in and ordered attacks that cost American lives and wounded many other soldiers. Grace Segers, CBS News, "Democratic presidential candidates react to Soleimani strike," 3 Jan. 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are repeating one of President Obama’s worst mistakes, one that arguably cost Democrats the 2010 midterms. Bobby Jindal, WSJ, "How the GOP Can Win on Health Care," 2 Jan. 2020 The roomy Palisade can carry up to eight people in comfort, and offers a long list of safety and convenience features that would cost thousands more in competitors like the Toyota Highlander. Mark Phelan,, "Free Press Utility of the Year: Kia Telluride’s value and style overwhelm competition," 29 Dec. 2019

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

9 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cost.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 January 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

Comments on cost

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good-natured easy friendliness

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