\ 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 cost (audio) \ : to estimate or set the cost of often used with out The project has yet to be costed out.

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from cost


costless \ ˈkȯst-​ləs How to pronounce cost (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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The city’s construction also came at a heavy cost, both in the billions reportedly spent on construction, and the communities allegedly displaced from their homes so the military could build its own. Washington Post, "Myanmar’s military built a new capital as a haven for power. Other countries have tried that, too.," 6 Feb. 2021 His office said that will require significant contributions of officers from other cities and counties, which will come at a cost. Steve Karnowski, Star Tribune, "Minnesota governor deploys Guard for Chauvin trial security," 5 Feb. 2021 Cancellation would come at a huge cost for Japan, which has spent more than $12 billion preparing for the Summer Games. New York Times, "Tokyo Olympics Playbook: Testing? Yes. Quarantines? No. Fans? Maybe.," 3 Feb. 2021 Three other projects would together add 9 miles of trails along Leon Creek to connect with existing trails, parks and the Salado greenway at a cost of $28 million. Scott Huddleston, San Antonio Express-News, "Major greenway trails linkage underway," 1 Feb. 2021 With Oubre clanging 3-point tries at an epic rate, the deal that brought him to the Warriors at a cost of more than $70 million for this season was like the Native Americans’ side of the sale of Manhattan. Scott Ostler,, "Kelly Oubre Jr. coming on strong, winning over Warriors and fans," 27 Jan. 2021 This reduced the rattle in my voice, but at a cost. Carolyn Wells, Longreads, "How Vocal Injury Can Change You," 27 Jan. 2021 Such facilities are typically powered by carbon-emitting fossil fuels; efforts have been made (especially in the Middle East, Asia and Africa) to use solar panels instead, but that also comes at a cost and does not address the toxic discharge. Prachi Patel, Scientific American, "Sunlight Powers Portable, Inexpensive Systems to Produce Drinking Water," 26 Jan. 2021 Some properties provide this as a complimentary service, others at a cost. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, "Spring Break 2021: This Might Actually Happen," 26 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Customers will be responsible for any amount over $10 per trip and will not receive credit for trips that cost less than $10. David Wickert, ajc, "MARTA will suspend rail service between three stations for track replacement," 12 Feb. 2021 The amendment passed 96 to 4, though the government has yet to allocate money to the new programs, which would cost tens of billions to fund fully. New York Times, "The Biden Team Wants to Transform the Economy. Really.," 11 Feb. 2021 The removal, which would normally cost $12,500, was performed by Dr. Michael Obeng free of charge. Haley Victory Smith, Washington Examiner, "Woman finally gets Gorilla Glue out of hair after four-hour surgery," 11 Feb. 2021 The proposal is modeled after the truce that Kansas and Missouri officials signed in 2019, ending a long-running economic border war that had cost hundreds of millions of dollars while creating few jobs. Globe Staff,, "Unlikely duo back bill to curb ‘corporate welfare’," 10 Feb. 2021 Middleton first wore the tweed jacket, which originally cost £360, to an event at Evelina London Children's Hospital in February 2017. Eliza Huber,, "Kate Middleton’s Repeat Outfit Proves That This Classic Never Goes Out Of Style," 6 Feb. 2021 The fact that any progress at all is being made at the Shipyard is surprising, given the three years of acrimony, scandal and lawsuits over the cleanup of the property, which has cost the federal government more than $1 billion. J.k. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, "After years of delay, concern about toxic cleanup, S.F.'s big Shipyard development gets moving again," 2 Feb. 2021 That’s what happened to this show, a program that apparently cost too much money, but has an incredibly loyal following to this day. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, "The 100 Best TV Shows on Netflix Right Now," 1 Feb. 2021 This is the type of loss that can cost a team a legitimate chance to win a Big Ten championship. Jeff Potrykus, USA TODAY, "Penn State hits key shots in the second half, upends No. 13 Wisconsin, 81-71," 31 Jan. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cost

Time Traveler for cost

Time Traveler

The first known use of cost was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for cost

Last Updated

18 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cost.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cost



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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on cost

What made you want to look up cost? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!