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

Entrepreneurs will shy away from investing in new platform services because the legal risk would appear too costly. Tarleton Gillespie, WIRED, "How Social Networks Set the Limits of What We Can Say Online," 26 June 2018 But there were attempts to delay the Thursday vote until late August, including arguments that requiring additional reporting would be too much burden on council members or too costly. Josh Baugh, San Antonio Express-News, "Council invites in sunshine after some argument against it," 21 June 2018 One possibility is that colonizing the galaxy is simply too costly. Seth Shostak /, NBC News, "If space aliens are out there, why haven't we found them?," 11 June 2018 While supporters of the effort insist that much of the water in the reservoir can be captured in other reservoirs, including the giant Don Pedro Reservoir downstream, city officials have said such a proposal is too costly. Kurtis Alexander,, "The battle over Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in judges’ hands," 30 May 2018 The Los Angeles Times reported last month that Netflix considered buying the Landmark Theatres chain, but ultimately rejected the idea as too costly. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Data Sheet—Forget On Demand Movies. It's Time for On Demand Movie Theaters," 29 May 2018 Calls herself a fan of high-speed rail concept but says general obligation bonds are too costly. San Francisco Chronicle, "Where candidates for governor stand on California’s biggest issues," 17 May 2018 The Real Estate & Building Industry Coalition, along with affordable housing developers, said the new rules could be too costly. Steve Harrison, charlotteobserver, "A record number of pedestrians are being killed. The city took action this week. | Charlotte Observer," 25 Apr. 2018 The race was one of the most high-profile, costly and contentious in the U.S. this cycle. Arian Campo-flores, WSJ, "Democrat Andrew Gillum Concedes Florida Governor’s Race to Republican Ron DeSantis," 17 Nov. 2018

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

9 Dec 2018

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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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