lose

verb
\ ˈlüz How to pronounce lose (audio) \
lost\ ˈlȯst How to pronounce lose (audio) \; losing\ ˈlü-​ziŋ How to pronounce lose (audio) \

Essential Meaning of lose

1 : to be unable to find (something or someone) She's always losing her gloves. Don't lose your keys. See More ExamplesHold my hand: I don't want to lose you. The police lost him in the crowd. [=the police were no longer able to find/see him after he went into the crowd] The airline lost my luggage. [=my luggage did not arrive at the airport I flew into] He lost the fly ball in the sun. [=he was unable to see the fly ball because he was looking toward the sun] The letter was lost in the mail. [=it was sent but never delivered to the person it was addressed to]Hide
2 : to fail to win (a game, contest, etc.) lose a battle/game She lost her bid for reelection. [=she failed to win the election; she was not reelected] See More ExamplesWe lost the game by a score of 4-2. He lost his title in the rematch. She lost the lawsuit. The team lost three games but won the next four. The team lost in the finals. an athlete known for losing with grace That horse always loses. He hates to lose when money is involved. How could she play that well and still lose?Hide
3 : to fail to keep or hold (something wanted or valued) lose an advantage The country lost its independence 50 years ago. See More ExamplesThe mayor is losing power/influence/support. He is in danger of losing control of the company. She lost control of the car and skidded off the road. I was so angry that I lost control (of myself, of my temper) and yelled at them. She didn't lose her job but she lost access to all confidential company materials. The senator lost votes when he angered some of his supporters. The religious community was losing its younger members. He hasn't lost his sense of humor. They had lost all hope of winning the title. I don't want anything to eat. I've lost my appetite. [=I no longer feel hungry] She began to lose confidence in herself. [=to feel less confident] Try not to lose patience with the children. The accident victim was rapidly losing blood. I'm sorry I'm late. I lost track of the time. [=I failed to stay aware of the time; I did not realize that so much time had passed] She lost her balance [=failed to keep her weight spread equally] and fell.Hide

Full Definition of lose

transitive verb

1a : to bring to destruction used chiefly in passive construction the ship was lost on the reef
b : damn if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul — Matthew 16:26 (King James Version)
2 : to miss from one's possession or from a customary or supposed place lost his glove
3 : to suffer deprivation of : part with especially in an unforeseen or accidental manner lost his leg in an auto accident
4a : to suffer loss through the death or removal of or final separation from (a person) lost a son in the war
b : to fail to keep control of or allegiance (see allegiance sense 2) of lose votes lost his temper
5a : to fail to use : let slip by : waste no time to lose
b(1) : to fail to win, gain, or obtain lose a prize lose a contest
(2) : to undergo defeat in lost every battle
c : to fail to catch with the senses or the mind lost what she said
6 : to cause the loss of
7 : to fail to keep, sustain, or maintain lost my balance
8a : to cause to miss one's way or bearings lost himself in the maze of streets
b : to make (oneself) withdrawn from immediate reality lost herself in daydreaming
9a : to wander or go astray from lost his way
b : to draw away from : outstrip lost his pursuers
10 : to fail to keep in sight or in mind lost the thief in the crowded street
11 : to free oneself from : get rid of dieting to lose weight
12 slang : regurgitate, vomit often used in such phrases as lose one's lunch

intransitive verb

1 : to undergo deprivation of something of value investors lost heavily
2 : to undergo defeat lose with good grace
3 of a timepiece : to run slow
lose ground
: to suffer loss or disadvantage : fail to advance or improve
lose it
1 : to fail to maintain a hold on reality also : to go crazy
2 : to become overwhelmed with strong emotion : lose one's composure so angry I almost lost it
lose one's heart
: to fall in love

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from lose

losable \ ˈlü-​zə-​bəl How to pronounce lose (audio) \ adjective
losableness noun

Synonyms for lose

Synonyms

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of lose in a Sentence

She's always losing her gloves. Hold my hand: I don't want to lose you. We lost the game by a score of 4–2. He lost his title in the rematch. The team lost three games but won the next four. The team lost in the finals. an athlete known for losing with grace He hates to lose when money is involved. How could she play that well and still lose? The country lost its independence 50 years ago.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web It's estimated that roughly 8.9 million Americans will lose all or some of these benefits. Ken Sweet, ajc, 7 Sep. 2021 If the Bears lose, no matter who is at quarterback, Nagy could be in for a bumpy ride. Dan Wiederer, chicagotribune.com, 7 Sep. 2021 DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart clog up Derrick Henry's running lanes, and Jonathan Taylor breaks lose for his second 100-yard game of the season. Jim Ayello, The Indianapolis Star, 7 Sep. 2021 Another 3 million people will lose just the $300 federal weekly bonus on Monday, the Century Foundation says. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, 7 Sep. 2021 But Nielsen’s hold is loosening as streaming gains steam and traditional broadcast and cable TV lose viewers. Alexandra Bruell, WSJ, 7 Sep. 2021 Angering farmers could see Modi lose a significant chunk of votes at the next general election in 2024. Rhea Mogul And Swati Gupta, CNN, 6 Sep. 2021 But the biggest obstacle facing theatrical family films, experts say, may be that the adults who fuel their success will simply lose interest after this extended streaming period. Washington Post, 5 Sep. 2021 Dudenhoeffer said in a report earlier this year that this would lose the global industry the production of 5.2 million vehicles in 2021. Neil Winton, Forbes, 5 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lose.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of lose

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for lose

Middle English, from Old English losian to perish, lose, from los destruction; akin to Old English lēosan to lose; akin to Old Norse losa to loosen, Latin luere to atone for, Greek lyein to loosen, dissolve, destroy

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About lose

Time Traveler for lose

Time Traveler

The first known use of lose was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for lose

Last Updated

10 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lose.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lose. Accessed 21 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for lose

lose

verb
\ ˈlüz How to pronounce lose (audio) \
lost\ ˈlȯst \; losing\ ˈlü-​ziŋ \

Kids Definition of lose

1 : to be unable to find or have at hand I lost my keys.
2 : to become deprived of She lost her job.
3 : to become deprived of by death She lost her grandfather.
4 : to fail to use : waste There's no time to lose.
5 : to fail to win They lost the game.
6 : to fail to keep She lost her balance. He lost control.

Other Words from lose

loser noun

lose

transitive verb
\ ˈlüz How to pronounce lose (audio) \
lost\ ˈlȯst How to pronounce lose (audio) \; losing

Medical Definition of lose

1 : to become deprived of or lacking in lose consciousness lost her sense of smell also : to part with in an unforeseen or accidental manner lose a leg in an auto crash
2a : to suffer deprivation through the death or removal of or final separation from (a person) lost a son in the war
b : to fail to keep (a patient) from dying have lost many fewer pneumonia cases since penicillin came into use
3 : to fail to keep, sustain, or maintain lose one's balance
4 : to free oneself from : get rid of dieting to lose weight

More from Merriam-Webster on lose

Nglish: Translation of lose for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lose for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!