\ˈlüz \
lost\ˈlȯst \; losing\ˈlü-​ziŋ \

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 orallegiance (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b : to make (oneself) withdrawn from immediate reality lost herself in daydreaming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 \ adjective
losableness noun

Synonyms for lose


mislay, misplace

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

After losing a 1980 campaign for the Republican nomination, he was chosen as a running mate by Ronald Reagan, and served as his vice president. Alessandra Codinha, Vogue, "President George H. W. Bush Has Died At Age 94," 1 Dec. 2018 In July, Twitter also made moves to remove potentially inauthentic activity, resulting in some celebs losing thousands to millions of followers. Hanna Howard, Teen Vogue, "Instagram Announces Steps Against Inauthentic Engagement on the App," 19 Nov. 2018 The late Stephen Hawking thought the itty-bitty objects would rapidly lose mass and evaporate, but perhaps leftover particles would persist. Adam Hadhazy, Discover Magazine, "Scientists Hunt for A Seeming Paradox: A Magnet With Only One Pole," 13 Nov. 2018 First things first: there is no right or wrong age to lose your virginity. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "This Is the Average Age Teens Are Losing Their Virginity," 29 Oct. 2018 The soldier who loses his foot was the man Kevin emailed at the end of last week’s episode. Emma Dibdin, Country Living, "'This Is Us' Fans Learned So Much About Jack in Tonight's 'Vietnam' Episode," 16 Oct. 2018 Alas, just five years later, almost all this work was lost when fire gutted Baronscourt. Robert O'byrne, ELLE Decor, "Tour a Legendary Manor in Northern Ireland," 12 Oct. 2018 The two lost touch over the years, married other people, and had children. Alexis Jones, Woman's Day, "This Couple Is Giving Breast Cancer Survivors a Place to Call Paradise," 28 Sep. 2018 Breakfast is a confusing experience, as everyday items lose their identities. Devin Powell, Discover Magazine, "Shape Shifters," 28 Sep. 2018

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

Statistics for lose

Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lose

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for lose



English Language Learners Definition of lose

: to be unable to find (something or someone)

: to fail to win (a game, contest, etc.)

: to fail to keep or hold (something wanted or valued)


\ˈlüz \
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
\ˈlüz \
lost\ˈlȯst \; 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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on lose

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lose

Spanish Central: Translation of lose

Nglish: Translation of lose for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lose for Arabic Speakers

Comments on lose

What made you want to look up lose? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make faulty or ineffective

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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