cost·​ly | \ ˈkȯs(t)-lē \
costlier; costliest

Definition of costly

1a : commanding a high price especially because of intrinsic worth costly gems
b : rich, splendid
2 : made or done at heavy expense or sacrifice a costly mistake

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Other Words from costly

costliness noun

Examples of costly in a Sentence

We use less costly materials in our products. It was too costly to fix her car after the accident, so she decided to buy a new car instead. They won the game, but their best player was injured, so it was a costly victory. The decision to wait could be a costly mistake.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The strong economy offered little support to would-be buyers because mortgage rates climbed for much of last year, making purchases costlier. Josh Boak, The Seattle Times, "Analysis: Falling home sales not helping middle-class buyers," 23 Jan. 2019 My initial goal was to get a sense of how unpredictable and costly ER billing is across the country. Sarah Kliff, Vox, "I read 1,182 emergency room bills this year. Here’s what I learned.," 18 Dec. 2018 However, when President Trump took office, the Auto Alliance (which represents BMW Group, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Toyota, and others) began complaining that the rules were onerous and extremely costly. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Challenge to EPA’s fuel economy rollback can move ahead, court says," 24 Nov. 2018 But Boothby insists that resources don’t have to be costly or exotic. Hillary Brown, House Beautiful, "Chauncey Boothby Is the Mary Poppins of the Design World," 1 Nov. 2018 Repeated, and recently increased, flooding may require extensive and costly flood mitigation efforts. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Rethinking the modern house museum," 12 Oct. 2018 There’s also a plethora of free or costly browser extensions and computer programs of varying strength that will block you from accessing certain websites. Carrie Battan, Harper's BAZAAR, "Escaping the Seduction of Your Smartphone," 26 July 2018 The former charges could prove costly since he's labeled as an ex-felon. Michael Saponara, Billboard, "Mozzy Arrested for Gun Possession in Las Vegas: Report," 9 July 2018 The amount requested is also in line with the more costly ballot-marking systems. Ben Nadler, The Seattle Times, "Georgia official seeks to replace criticized voting machines," 23 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'costly.' 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 costly

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for costly

Last Updated

18 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for costly

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

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More Definitions for costly



English Language Learners Definition of costly

: having a high price : costing a lot
: causing people to lose something or to suffer


cost·​ly | \ ˈkȯst-lē \
costlier; costliest

Kids Definition of costly

1 : having a high price or value : expensive
2 : causing loss or suffering a costly mistake

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More from Merriam-Webster on costly

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with costly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for costly

Spanish Central: Translation of costly

Nglish: Translation of costly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of costly for Arabic Speakers

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