\ 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 Mycle Schneider, an independent analyst, questioned the efficacy of the ambitious project as the cost of producing nuclear power has grown 26% over the past decade. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "First nuclear reactor in Arab nation cleared to begin operation," 17 Feb. 2020 The cost of the class starts at $69.95 per person with registration required. John Benson, cleveland, "North Olmsted’s Tails from the City to host animal CPR and first aid class," 17 Feb. 2020 In December, the Dean of Students office granted Moone a medical waiver for her tuition and fees, but that still left her with the cost of room and board. Devi Shastri, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "This former UWM student says she is a lifelong resident. How'd she end up being charged out-of-state tuition?," 17 Feb. 2020 Obtaining a permit from IDEM is free; the cost often comes, as was the case in this situation, with mitigating the problem. Chris Sikich, Indianapolis Star, "Lawmaker wants to deregulate wetlands. Her family once was cited for bulldozing them.," 17 Feb. 2020 But that percentage can still add substantially to the cost of camp. Nerd Wallet, oregonlive, "Beware hidden costs of charging summer camp to your credit card," 15 Feb. 2020 Tax preparers often aren’t upfront with customers about the cost, and there are no good statistics on what people actually pay for help. Paul Kiel, ProPublica, "How Much Did It Cost to File Your Taxes?," 14 Feb. 2020 The challenge for the developer is to make the pricey rental units seem worth the cost. Steve Brown, Dallas News, "Dallas apartment market soars with more than a dozen high-rises," 14 Feb. 2020 Moreover, the rate at which prescription drug spending rose also outpaced the increased cost of other medical services, such as doctor visits and hospital admissions, during those five years. Ed Silverman, STAT, "Pharmalittle: Generic shortages loom as coronavirus worsens; Connecticut lawmakers look to cap insulin costs," 14 Feb. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb For starters, the once invite-only event is now opening up to the public, with tickets to Proenza Schouler, Christian Siriano, Monse, and others costing as much as $1,750 per seat. Eliza Huber,, "It’s Gray, Gloomy, & Gross Out — Here’s The NYFW Street Style Antidote To All That," 12 Feb. 2020 The price of insulin has tripled, and even critical supplies like insulin pumps cost too much for many. Lizzie Presser And Maya Miller, ProPublica, "Help Us Understand How the Cost of Diabetes Care Is Threatening Lives," 11 Feb. 2020 The price of insulin has tripled, and even critical supplies like insulin pumps cost too much for many. Connor Sheets |, al, "Help us understand how the cost of diabetes care is threatening lives," 11 Feb. 2020 Generally, that means a manicure should cost at least $15. Taylore Glynn, Marie Claire, "The Ultimate Guide to Gorgeous Nails," 10 Feb. 2020 The single dose of Zolgensma can end up costing half as much as this chronic course of SMA therapy. Sally C. Pipes, Fortune, "How this gene therapy drug earned it’s $2.1 million price tag," 8 Feb. 2020 Three different backstrap options are included for a custom fit (a feature usually reserved for pistols costing twice as much), and the fore and aft slide serrations already make chambering a round while a red dot is mounted on the gun a breeze. Joseph Albanese, Field & Stream, "Best Cheap Guns of SHOT Show 2020," 7 Feb. 2020 And this year's batch — with a 30-second spot costing as much as $5.6 million — is sure to deliver. NBC News, "Key GOP senator a 'no' on witnesses, coronavirus sparks travel warnings, and this year's Super Bowl ads: The Morning Rundown," 31 Jan. 2020 The New Jersey case is just one of thousands that may eventually cost the company as much as $10 billion, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. Jef Feeley,, "J&J CEO relied on internal experts for claim baby powder is safe," 27 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

20 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cost.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 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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