\ 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 An issue that needs to be addressed by any proposal is the exorbitant cost of medical training. WSJ, "The Cost of Training Physicians Is Too High," 2 Feb. 2020 This year, the average cost for a 30-second Super Bowl spot was a record-high $5.6 million, Forbes reports. Megan Mccluskey, Time, "These Are the Best Super Bowl 2020 Commercials," 2 Feb. 2020 Another factor is the potential cost the trial would present to the state. Dakin Andone, CNN, "Fotis Dulos is dead. But his attorney still wants to prove his innocence," 1 Feb. 2020 The cost of setting up a new supply chain, even one that would eventually save money or energy, was just not worth it anymore. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Floating Nuclear Power Plants Sounded Screwy in 1969. Today? Not So Much," 31 Jan. 2020 The reasons why are obvious — the cost of living is so laughable here that a day care slot will set you back, on an annual basis, the GDP of a small country. Caille Millner,, "Why would anyone bring a baby into the world that is SF?," 31 Jan. 2020 The cost of living in Manhattan is 148 percent higher than the average cost for major U.S. cities in 2019. Fox News, "Which states have the largest homeless populations?," 30 Jan. 2020 Another problem, Biedrzycki said, is that many in government do not feel that investing in global health security is cost-effective. Mark Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Could the coronavirus scare have been avoided? One leading health authority thinks so.," 28 Jan. 2020 The cost for obtaining a 200-page record was as high as $542, even though a flat rate of $6.50 was proposed for digital records. Harlan M. Krumholz, STAT, "An ‘Epic’ pushback as U.S. prepares for new era of empowering patient health data," 27 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Snapchat also faced a backlash to a controversial redesign of its photo-sharing app in late 2017, which cost it millions of users. Kaya Yurieff, CNN, "Snap's stock plunges 12% as its turnaround hits a speed bump," 4 Feb. 2020 Currently, such tax breaks -- which cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue each year -- often occur after supporters provide testimony or data from industry lobbyists or other parties that would benefit. James Salzer, ajc, "Georgia Senate panel backs truth in tax breaks bill," 3 Feb. 2020 The university built a new student union, Tinkham-Veale, which cost upwards of $50 million. Emily Bamforth, cleveland, "Case Western Reserve University President Barbara Snyder to leave university for new national role," 3 Feb. 2020 The developments came on the eve of the completion of the 81-site facility, which cost a half-billion dollars to build and is designed to usher ecology into the era of big data. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "‘People need to see big patterns.’ U.S. ecological observatory’s new science chief looks ahead," 31 Jan. 2020 This app and sensor come on Atomic’s Hawx Ultra 130 and Redster CS 130 boots, which each cost $1,000. Louis Mazzante, Popular Mechanics, "The Most Exciting New Winter Gear and Apparel from Outdoor Retailer 2020," 31 Jan. 2020 Most of the recent sales of the dog masks, which can cost up to $50, were shipped to customers in the U.S., according to Holmes. Coral Murphy, USA TODAY, "Pet owners seek face masks for dogs amid coronavirus outbreak," 31 Jan. 2020 But the winner of the raffle will be faced with their own challenge of what to do with the massive jet, which costs about $4,000 per week in maintenance alone. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "Mexican president to raffle off presidential jet," 29 Jan. 2020 The legislation was motivated by last year’s closing of Toys R Us, which cost 2,000 employees their jobs in New Jersey., "Steward and union reach agreement on new contract," 22 Jan. 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

6 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cost.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Feb. 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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