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

As talks continued into the night with no end to the United Auto Workers strike against General Motors, the union walkout could prove costly. CBS News, "UAW strike could cost GM up to $100 million per day," 17 Sep. 2019 The Woodlands Township Board of Directors has been engaged in a costly and lengthy study process since January 2018 exploring all aspects of possibly incorporating into a city. Jeff Forward, Houston Chronicle, "Election 2019: Woodlands Township candidate news and notes," 13 Sep. 2019 Such modeling could reduce the need for costly and time-consuming drilling, says James Hein, a marine geologist and geochemist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Santa Cruz, California, who consulted for the Tropic expedition. Warren Cornwall, Science | AAAS, "Mountains hidden in the deep sea are biological hot spots. Will mining ruin them?," 12 Sep. 2019 Previously, many assumed zero-click or one-click attack chains that worked against the latest version of iOS were so costly and rare that they were used sparingly. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "A glut of iOS 0-days pushes their price below cost of those for Android," 3 Sep. 2019 Schroepfer said a key to making these headsets less costly and more compact is the tracking system behind the Quest headset. Rachel Metz, CNN, "Facebook exec says the future of VR will be cheaper and increasingly wireless," 22 Aug. 2019 There's a leak in the well, making for costly and complicated repairs. Jesus Jimenez, Dallas News, "'Inside it gets bad': Dallas ISD campus with broken AC more like a middle school sauna," 22 Aug. 2019 But the company faces thousands of similar lawsuits, and resolving them will likely be costly and time consuming. Charley Grant, WSJ, "It’s Not Too Late for Bayer to Heal," 22 June 2019 Still, uncertainty remains over how the U.S. and China will resolve their costly trade dispute and how a slowing global economy will affect corporate profits as companies begin to report results for the first quarter next month. Elaine Kurtenbach, The Seattle Times, "Asian shares mixed following rebound on Wall Street," 26 Mar. 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

14 Oct 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 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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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

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).


a topic to which one constantly reverts

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