\ 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 Energy Transfer and Shell ultimately signed a March 2019 deal to split costs and responsibilities for the project. Sergio Chapa, Houston Chronicle, "Shell drops out of Energy Transfer's Lake Charles LNG project," 30 Mar. 2020 Greater congressional review of monetary policy decisions would result in greater sensitivity to the social costs of job losses. Christopher W. Shaw, Harper's Magazine, "The Money Question," 30 Mar. 2020 Evaluate your borrowing options Interest rates have dropped so low that all sorts of lending options could make sense, from refinancing your mortgage or seeking a lower-cost credit card. Russ Wiles, azcentral, "Follow these steps to keep your personal finances in check during the coronavirus pandemic," 29 Mar. 2020 The bill, among other things, was intended to cover wildfire costs and Medicaid expenses after cuts made to the program last year weren't realized as anticipated. Becky Bohrer, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska lawmakers, eager to go home amid virus concerns, aim to wrap up budget debate," 28 Mar. 2020 As a concession, the players’ union has agreed to limit the June draft to as few as five rounds, a huge cost-cutting measure for owners. John Shea,, "Five ways Giants will be affected by MLB’s new deal, from draft to free agents," 27 Mar. 2020 However, a timeline, cost and funding for the plan has yet to be determined. Jane Margolies, New York Times, "Living Near Train Tracks," 27 Mar. 2020 How social distancing, coronavirus is changing how local TV is produced The cost of the kit is $35. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "Your salon closed. And your roots are showing. Now what? Introducing 'curbside color'," 25 Mar. 2020 And the high cost of living (the median price for a single family home is $795K) combined with disproportionately low wages has forced many Native Hawaiians to move away. Doug Herman, Smithsonian Magazine, "Shutting Down Hawai‘i: A Historical Perspective on Epidemics in the Islands," 25 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb My friend is a doomsayer of another sort, worried that a public-health scare, one informed by a lot of panic and a good deal of unreliable modeling, is going to cost millions of decent people their livelihoods. Michael Brendan Dougherty, National Review, "We Need the Skeptics," 26 Mar. 2020 The recent focus on containing the spread of the COVID-19 disease could be key to both limiting the ultimate costs both to the economy and to human lives – including the risk of hospital systems becoming overwhelmed with patients. Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor, "As jobless numbers spike, a question rises: When can economy reopen?," 26 Mar. 2020 Meanwhile, resources such as steel and aluminum are far from running out, and generally cost the same or less. National Geographic, "THE BEST OF NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX," 25 Mar. 2020 After that, subscriptions cost $4.99 per month with ads or $7.99 without ads. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "What Is Quibi? Here's Everything You Need to Know About the Streaming App," 19 Mar. 2020 That session cost him $160 for a half-hour visit, one in a costly series of consultations with medical specialists. Brendan Fitzgerald, Longreads, "“I miss my body when it was ferocious” The Transfiguration of Paul Curreri," 14 Mar. 2020 The outbreak is expected to cost the airline industry alone nearly $30 billion. Catherine Thorbecke, ABC News, "Canceled flights, quarantined cruises and $30B losses: How coronavirus has upended the travel industry," 28 Feb. 2020 The Climate Change Centre Austria estimates climate change could cost Austrian tourism €300m ($327m) a year. Sam Haddad, 1843, "A mega resort on the horizon, a glacier on the brink," 26 Feb. 2020 The in-clinic procedure can cost up to $1,500 without any insurance coverage. Jennifer Gerson Uffalussy, Glamour, "How Much is an Abortion? Costs, Insurance, and More," 23 Feb. 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

2 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cost.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Apr. 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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