\ ˈkȯst How to pronounce cost (audio) \

Definition of cost

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the amount or equivalent paid or charged for something : price The average cost of a college education has gone up dramatically.
b : the outlay or expenditure (as of effort or sacrifice) made to achieve an object He achieved fame, but at the cost of losing several friends.
2 : loss or penalty incurred especially in gaining something the cost of lives during war
3 costs plural : expenses incurred in a judicial process especially : those given by the law or the court to the prevailing party against the losing party
at all costs
: regardless of the cost or consequences was determined to win at all costs
at cost
: for the price of production buys clothes at cost directly from the manufacturer


cost; costing

Definition of cost (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to require expenditure or payment The best goods cost more.
2 : to require effort, suffering, or loss

transitive verb

1 : to have a price of Each ticket costs 25 dollars.
2 : to cause to pay, suffer, or lose something Frequent absences cost him his job.
3 past costed\ ˈkä-​stəd How to pronounce costed (audio)\ : to estimate or set the cost of often used with out The project has yet to be costed out.

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Other Words from cost


costless \ ˈkȯst-​ləs How to pronounce costless (audio) \ adjective
costlessly adverb

Examples of cost in a Sentence


She attends college at a cost of $15,000 a year. The average cost of raising a family has increased dramatically. We offer services at a fraction of the cost of other companies. What's the difference in cost? They believe that everyone should have access to adequate medical care, regardless of cost. The cost of doing business in this area is high. We need better cost control. Winning the war, he believes, was worth the cost in lives. What are the costs and benefits of the new law?


The trip will cost you about $100 each way. The project will end up costing the government an estimated 3.5 billion dollars. It will cost you a lot of money, but it'll be worth it. His frequent absences ended up costing him his job. The error cost me a reprimand, but nothing more serious than that. a blunder that has cost her considerable embarrassment
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

AARP Driver Safety – Refreshing your driving skills may lower your auto insurance costs., "Vintage MarketPlace attracts visitors from afar: Olmsted Dates and Data," 6 July 2019 Lueck’s family and friends have launched a GoFundMe campaign to help defray some of her funeral costs. Laura Barcella,, "Body of Murdered University of Utah Student Mackenzie Lueck Has Been Found," 5 July 2019 Its financial assistance policy, unlike those of many of its peers around the country, all but ignores patients with any form of health insurance, no matter their out-of-pocket costs. Wendi C. Thomas, ProPublica, "Nonprofit Christian Hospital Suspends Debt Collection Lawsuits Amid Furor Over Suing Its Own Employees," 3 July 2019 Refusing to cut her natural locs cost Chastity Jones her job Back in 2010 in Mobile, Alabama, a black woman named Chastity Jones was offered a job as a customer service representative at a call center. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "California is about to ban discrimination against black workers with natural hairstyles," 3 July 2019 Once the machine is working efficiently, electricity will make up about one-third of its operating costs. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "This former playwright aims to turn solar and wind power into gasoline," 3 July 2019 Italy seems to be winning back investor confidence, bringing its borrowing costs down to levels last seen before two populist parties formed an unlikely coalition government last year. Giovanni Legorano, WSJ, "Italy Wins Back Debt Investors as Yields Fall Across Europe," 2 July 2019 The Arizona Republic has requested a copy of the report and its cost. Joshua Bowling, azcentral, "Your questions about Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, Nike and the Goodyear plant deal, answered," 2 July 2019 The next hurdle is to scale the technology and lower its cost. Akshat Rathi, Quartz, "A tiny tweak in California law is creating a strange thing: carbon-negative oil," 1 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The governor argues that his answer will cost ratepayers less than inaction. Taryn Luna,, "Wanting to ease utility wildfire costs, Newsom faces biggest test yet with lawmakers," 8 July 2019 The ticket includes magic shows, live music, storytelling and unlimited rides on streetcars; rides on Thomas’ friend Percy cost an additional $10. Web Behrens,, "15 things to do with the kids July 8-14," 7 July 2019 Royal Pig Pub will be opening at 10 a.m. with brunch options and bottomless drink specials lasting until 4 p.m. Bottomless mimosas, bellinis and Bloody Mary specials will be $14 and bottomless Grey Goose cocktails will cost $27.97. Catie Wegman,, "USA vs. Netherlands: Where to watch the Women’s World Cup finals in South Florida," 5 July 2019 Initially, the service is limited to Uber’s Platinum and Diamond members, the top tiers of its loyalty plan, and will cost an average of $200 to $225 one-way, or more depending on demand pricing. Barbara Peterson, WSJ, "Manhattan to JFK in 8 Minutes? Hail an Uber Copter," 5 July 2019 The 5-hour Astronaut Training Program is only offered on select days and costs $175/person. Fox News, "Fly off to Mars at Kennedy Space Center’s Astronaut Training Experience," 5 July 2019 According to Laurie Seale, vice president of the group, the CWD deer farm research was planned to run for three years and would cost $150,000 per year. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Gov. Evers vetoes proposal to use hunters' fees to fund CWD research at deer farm," 3 July 2019 Next month’s Lollapalooza Festival in Chicago will run for $340, with VIP tickets costing $2,200. Dan Kopf, Quartzy, "Economics explains why there are so many music festivals now," 2 July 2019 The total project cost is estimated at $375 million, including bond issue costs and reimbursement of architectural fees already incurred. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "This part of the Macomb County Jail is old and hot," 2 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cost.' 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 cost


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for cost

Verb and Noun

Middle English, from Anglo-French custer, couster, from Latin constare to stand firm, cost — more at constant

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Learn More about cost

Dictionary Entries near cost







Costa Brava

Statistics for cost

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cost

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

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More Definitions for cost



English Language Learners Definition of cost

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: the price of something : the amount of money that is needed to pay for or buy something
: an amount of money that must be spent regularly to pay for something (such as running a business or raising a family)
: something that is lost, damaged, or given up in order to achieve or get something



English Language Learners Definition of cost (Entry 2 of 2)

: to have (an amount of money) as a price
: to cause (someone) to pay an amount of money
: to cause (someone) to lose something


\ ˈkȯst How to pronounce cost (audio) \
cost; costing

Kids Definition of cost

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to have a price of He bought a ticket costing one dollar.
2 : to cause the payment, spending, or loss of Being lazy cost me my job.



Kids Definition of cost (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the amount paid or charged for something : price
2 : loss or penalty involved in gaining something Losing my friends was the cost of moving.



Legal Definition of cost

1 : the amount or equivalent paid or charged for something
2  plural : expenses incurred in litigation especially : those given by the law or the court to the prevailing party against the losing party

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More from Merriam-Webster on cost

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cost

Spanish Central: Translation of cost

Nglish: Translation of cost for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cost for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about cost

Comments on cost

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