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
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 For years, the conventional wisdom has been that an invasion of Taiwan would be too costly for China. Washington Post, 11 Oct. 2021 But that proved to be too costly for Google to maintain. Lauren Goode, Wired, 7 Oct. 2021 Most Democrats, Republicans, and independents who were polled said TCI gas price hikes are too costly. Patrick Gleason, Forbes, 1 Oct. 2021 Leaders in these states argue that expansion is too costly, ignoring the reimbursements the federal government provides for expanding Medicaid. Stacey Abrams For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, 22 Sep. 2021 On Wednesday, two state legislators said that the failed effort to remove Newsom was too costly and needlessly confusing. Los Angeles Times, 16 Sep. 2021 Laying six points doesn't appear to be too costly for the Steelers, who cleared that hurdle against a Bills team that is much more potent offensively. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 14 Sep. 2021 Williams, the Democratic legislator, predicted Abrams would counter that message with a call for a more aggressive coronavirus strategy and a promise to expand Medicaid, an issue that Republicans have long opposed as too costly in the long run. al, 22 Aug. 2021 If hiring a social media manager is too costly at the moment for your small business, consider managing the accounts yourself. Celeste Polanco, Essence, 19 Aug. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near costly

cost ledger



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Statistics for costly

Last Updated

16 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Costly.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for costly



English Language Learners Definition of costly

: having a high price : costing a lot : expensive
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on costly

Nglish: Translation of costly for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of costly for Arabic Speakers


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