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

Harvey, Irma and Maria were each among the five costliest hurricanes on record and collectively inflicted $265 billion in damages. Laignee Barron, Time, "FEMA Says It Was Significantly Unprepared When Hurricane Maria Hit Puerto Rico," 13 July 2018 One costly medication that Joshua’s brother needed — Ativan at $24 per tablet — wasn’t covered. Austin Horn, San Antonio Express-News, "With ACA under attack, a family racked by illness wonders what will happen to their health coverage," 13 July 2018 Baltimore Police have suspended a detective who has been the subject of costly lawsuits after a Harford County judge issued an order barring him from carrying a gun when his children's mother leveled allegations of domestic violence and child abuse. Ian Duncan,, "Baltimore Police detective suspended after judge orders him to give up gun in domestic violence case," 13 July 2018 That means there’s a limited population who may be at risk, which also means there’s a limited group for whom the most costly protections should be necessary. Maryn Mckenna, WIRED, "The Strange and Curious Case of the Deadly Superbug Yeast," 13 July 2018 Officials wanted to do the inspection after sanitary sewers overseen by the village collapsed, requiring costly emergency repairs, Brown said. Phil Rockrohr,, "'High priority project' to repair sewer lines throughout Lake Zurich starting soon," 12 July 2018 With Verizon shutting down its costly app, the shortform content community looks to sports (and Jeffrey Katzenberg?). Natalie Jarvey, The Hollywood Reporter, "After Go90's Collapse, Who's Buying "Snackable" TV Now?," 12 July 2018 Students complained about predatory lending practices, costly degrees and trouble finding jobs. James Briggs, Indianapolis Star, "Top ITT executives agree to fines, ban from top corporate jobs in SEC settlement," 9 July 2018 Two of the top 10 costliest U.S. wildfires were local: the 2007 Witch fire and 2003 Cedar fire, according to the Property Claim Services., "How to negotiate insurance before disaster strikes," 8 July 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

14 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

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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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Comments on costly

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


one that holds something together

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