cost·​ly | \ ˈkȯs(t)-lē How to pronounce costly (audio) \
costlier; costliest

Definition of costly

1a : commanding a high price especially because of intrinsic worth costly gems
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 Manually clearing a criminal record is a cumbersome, costly process that often requires the need to hire an attorney. CNN, "Americans with criminal records will be left out of the recovery if we don't fix these policies," 9 Oct. 2020 But the Brazilian government lacks the fiscal space to maintain the costly program. David Biller And Tatiana Pollastri, Star Tribune, "Brazil's poor squeezed by less virus aid, surging food costs," 9 Oct. 2020 But those same starters (and also the relievers) made costly mistakes in the playoffs, often leaving pitches up in the strike zone. Ron Kroichick,, "A’s Frankie Montas falls in line — another starting pitcher struggles against Astros," 8 Oct. 2020 The statewide average room and board of $12,085 in 2018-19 made Ohio more costly than 37 other states, according to the federal data. Rich Exner, cleveland, "See just how much a minimum wage job increasingly falls short of paying for college these days: That’s Rich!," 8 Oct. 2020 Rivera's lunge toward a pipe dream of winning the NFC East could prove costly — to Haskins’ development and to Washington’s need to build for the long-term. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "Opinion: In pursuit of 'short-term glory,' Ron Rivera falls into familiar trap for Washington by benching Dwayne Haskins," 8 Oct. 2020 Ray Shepherd, a former House aide who had gone on to work as a lobbyist for Peabody, repeatedly intervened with officials to develop a rescue package that would include the repeal of the costly air-quality requirements. Eric Lipton, New York Times, "“We are back. The coal industry is back,”," 6 Oct. 2020 And there was his costly fumble against the Packers. Rod Walker,, "Walker: First quarter of Saints' season didn't go quite as planned, but ended on high note," 6 Oct. 2020 The Irving Police Department has joined a national initiative that trains officers to intervene when necessary to prevent their colleagues from causing harm or making costly mistakes. Sarah Bahari, Dallas News, "Irving police will be trained to intervene if they see misconduct by fellow officers," 6 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for costly

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for costly

Last Updated

15 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Costly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for costly


How to pronounce costly (audio)

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 How to pronounce costly (audio) \
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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Comments on costly

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