\ 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 And Gilead has drawn widespread criticism from HIV/AIDS advocacy groups for its steep pricing of Truvada, which, using list pricing, has an annual cost of $21,388 per patient in the United States. Jon Cohen, Science | AAAS, "Untangling the Trump administration’s lawsuit over an HIV prevention drug," 8 Nov. 2019 According to an email from Wolfe, that cost was typically $1,500. Robert Anglen, azcentral, "Babies and mothers were treated like transactions in Paul Petersen's adoption scheme," 7 Nov. 2019 But behind the scenes, according to an independent survey of 2,400 Qantas pilots and cabin crew, there are significant costs for these female pilots. Natasha Frost, Quartz at Work, "Qantas’ search for female pilots has led to more workplace harassment," 4 Nov. 2019 For most people in Ascension Parish, however, the pollution and attendant cancer risk of living in the river corridor is an acceptable cost for achieving a certain lifestyle. Joan Meiners, ProPublica, "Even Louisiana’s Wealthier Neighborhoods Can’t Escape Toxic Air in “Cancer Alley”," 3 Nov. 2019 Still, many — including Neighborhood Works — wonder whether the cost will be too high, given the heightened code work now being called for. Tad Vezner, Twin Cities, "St. Paul man’s catch-22 case reveals impact of ‘accelerated foreclosure’ in Frogtown and other low-income neighborhoods," 2 Nov. 2019 There's no extra cost to choose a particular seat in your section, and a new 3D seat map is available during booking so passengers can get a virtual tour of the aircraft and its features. Kellie Hwang, Indianapolis Star, "A United flight from Indianapolis to Chicago just got a lot cushier with new plane," 1 Nov. 2019 Legal fees alone are a major cost adding to the overall expense on water projects. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Allowing sports betting for such a small return is a mistake; Reduce waste in trash pickup (," 30 Oct. 2019 With a solid cellular plan, the study should have been cost effective. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Text Messages Sent by Roaming Eagles Bankrupt Scientific Study," 29 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb For starters, go to the Rincon Surf School, near Sandy Beach, and sign up for a lesson, which costs $95 per person for a 3-hour group lesson. Iris Van Rynbach,, "Rincon, Puerto Rico, an ideal destination for a family vacation," 10 Nov. 2019 But there are also a lot of gadgets that cost a lot of money and do nothing. Wired, "12 Boozy Gift Ideas for the Amateur Bartender in Your Life," 10 Nov. 2019 So, much like the New York Times, I, too, question why there need to be an additional 500 more officers patrolling the subways — which would cost the Metropolitan Transportation Authority more than $50 million a year. Michael Arceneaux, Essence, "Does The NYPD Have Nothing Better To Do Than Point Guns At Black Kids Over $2.75?," 8 Nov. 2019 The 4-mill safety levy, which costs a $100,000 homeowner $140 annually, will raise $1.2 million a year. John Benson, cleveland, "Olmsted Falls residents approve levy renewals; Olmsted Township voters pass safety-forces levy," 8 Nov. 2019 In the movie, which cost just under $100 million and is out Nov. 15, Matt Damon portrays Carroll Shelby, the engineering legend who built Miles' iconic car, the Ford GT40. Jon Alain Guzik, The Hollywood Reporter, "How 'Ford v Ferrari' Team Filmed an Epic Race: "It's Almost Like a Gunfight"," 8 Nov. 2019 Under a plan that would cost up to $20 million to design and build, those seven stop lights would disappear and five roundabouts would take their place. Susannah Bryan,, "Young Circle could become world’s only giant two-way traffic circle," 6 Nov. 2019 The shoes, which cost roughly $250, are now being used by recreational marathoners, according to the Wall Street Journal. Fox News, "Record breaking Nike sneaker sparks competitive advantage debate ahead of New York City Marathon," 3 Nov. 2019 Some might also be tempted to go off the grid, installing solar panels and batteries, like a Tesla Powerwall, which cost up to $20,000. Rachel Swan,, "Everyone is buying generators to get through PG&E outages. Here’s what you need to know," 1 Nov. 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

13 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Cost.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 November 2019.

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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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