\ 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 cost (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 cost (audio) \ adjective
costlessly adverb

Examples of cost in a Sentence

Noun 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? Verb 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 These individuals, usually Millennials, are more active in the market and aware of the availability of lower-cost products. Srikumar Ramanathan, Forbes, "Creating Wealth-Management Solutions For A Changed Market," 28 Apr. 2021 Uber plans to make the option available in the summer for UberX, the service’s low-cost option, and expand to thousands more cities in the U.S., Europe, Latin America, and India. Fortune, "Uber lets you book rides by the hour so you can run errands," 28 Apr. 2021 The increase for the math and science teachers is in addition to the 2% across-the-board cost-of-living pay raise lawmakers OK’d for education employees, including teachers and support workers in K-12 schools. al, "Alabama lawmakers hope ‘outside the box’ approach attracts new math and science teachers," 28 Apr. 2021 The city is also planning to improve existing crosswalks and create median islands by adding temporary bollards and planters to the center turn lane — a lower-cost alternative to building curbed, planted medians. Rebecca Lurye,, "Traffic calming projects headed for busy Hartford road where cyclist was killed last year. City will add bike lanes, medians, and narrow Wethersfield avenue to two lanes.," 28 Apr. 2021 The bank reported a cost-to-income ratio of 77% compared with 89% a year ago. Patricia Kowsmann, WSJ, "Deutsche Bank Avoids Archegos Meltdown, Reports Profit Surge," 28 Apr. 2021 Government and contractors should be freed up to purchase lower-cost imports. Brian Riedl, National Review, "Four Principles for a Conservative Infrastructure Alternative," 27 Apr. 2021 Instead, there are a couple of great options at Amazon for low-cost laundry baskets. Maren Estrada, BGR, "This viral grocery shopping hack from TikTok is brilliant – pull it off with one $22 Amazon purchase," 27 Apr. 2021 Booming economies in states like Texas, Nevada, Arizona and North Carolina have drawn Americans away from struggling small communities in high-cost, cold-weather states. New York Times, "U.S. Population Over Last Decade Grew at Slowest Rate Since 1930s," 26 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Effective immediately, each dose will cost Rs.300 per dose, down from Rs.400, the equivalent of a drop from $5.30 to $4 per dose, the SII said. Aditi Sangal, CNN, "India's Covid-19 crisis is a problem for the world," 29 Apr. 2021 The mopeds will cost $1 to unlock and 39 cents a minute to ride. Paul Berger, WSJ, "Lime to Launch Electric-Moped Share Service in New York City," 29 Apr. 2021 But in several states where Democrats currently hold a Senate seat, a sudden vacancy over the next 18 months could cost the party its majority before the 2022 election. Jennifer Haberkorn, Los Angeles Times, "Democrats struggle to get infrastructure plan off the ground," 29 Apr. 2021 The Committee for Responsible Federal Budget projects the one-year expansion will cost $110 billion. Leada Gore |, al, "$300 monthly child tax payments could become permanent; Do you qualify?," 28 Apr. 2021 The center would cost $6.2 million in the fiscal 2022 budget. Jacob Calvin Meyer,, "Howard County Rainbow Conference, celebrating LGBTQ community, preparing for virtual event in May | EDUCATION NOTEBOOK," 28 Apr. 2021 However, the heavy option plans do cost the company's shareholders in a number of ways. John S. Tobey, Forbes, "Tesla’s ‘Hidden’ Shareholder Risk: Executive Options, Pushed To The Limit," 28 Apr. 2021 Unused credits will cost travelers dearly this year — unless regulators step in to help. Washington Post, "Need more time to use an airline ticket credit? Here’s how to get it.," 28 Apr. 2021 Child care for just her younger son would cost more than $1,000 a month. Sarah Ewall-wice, CBS News, "Why Democrats are turning to child care as the next front in fixing the economy," 28 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for cost

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for cost

Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cost.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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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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