lose

verb

lost ˈlȯst How to pronounce lose (audio) ; losing ˈlü-ziŋ How to pronounce lose (audio)

transitive verb

1
a
: 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
4
a
: 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
5
a
: 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
8
a
: 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: to make (oneself) withdrawn from immediate reality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
9
a
: 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
losable adjective
losableness noun
Phrases
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

Example Sentences

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 That's because Utah and Oregon will start their game 2½ hours later, and someone has to lose. USA TODAY, 18 Nov. 2022 And in an Imperial County supervisor’s race, incumbent Ray Castillo — a big supporter of solar development on agricultural land — looks likely to lose to farmer John Hawk, who has called for no more solar on farmland. Sammy Rothstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 17 Nov. 2022 Hardline conservatives such as Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, Josh Hawley, Mike Lee, and Lindsey Graham were among those who voted for Scott, surely knowing he was destined to lose. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 17 Nov. 2022 Vance is projected to win his race; Masters is projected to lose. Max Zahn, ABC News, 17 Nov. 2022 According to defense attorneys following the case, Ms. Holmes is almost certain to lose her argument that home confinement and community service are ample punishment. Heather Somerville And Sara Ashley O’brien, WSJ, 17 Nov. 2022 More than half a million people are projected to lose their jobs. Julia Horowitz, CNN, 17 Nov. 2022 Right, although nuclear weapons have never been used by a power who was about to lose a war. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 17 Nov. 2022 Four best friends vow to lose their virginity by prom night. Stacey Grant, Seventeen, 16 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Cite this Entry

“Lose.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lose. Accessed 2 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

lose

verb

lost ˈlȯst How to pronounce lose (audio) ; losing ˈlü-ziŋ How to pronounce lose (audio)
1
: ruin entry 2 sense 1, destroy
the ship was lost on the reef
2
: to be unable to find or have at hand : mislay
lose a billfold
3
: to become deprived of especially accidentally or by death
lose his eyesight
lost her son by drowning
4
a
: to fail to use to advantage : waste
no time to lose
b
: to fail to win, gain, or obtain
lose a contest
c
: to fail to catch with the senses or the mind
lost part of what was said
5
: to cause the loss of
one careless statement lost her the election
6
: to fail to keep, sustain, or maintain
lost his balance
7
a
: to miss or cause to miss one's way or bearings
lost herself in the woods
b
: to make oneself completely absorbed by one specific thing
lost himself in the music
8
: to leave behind by going faster or farther
lost their pursuers
9
: to free oneself from : get rid of
dieting to lose some weight
lose ground
: to fail to advance or improve
lose it
1
: to lose touch with reality
also : to go crazy
2
: to be filled with strong emotion : lose one's composure
so angry I almost lost it
lose one's heart
: to fall in love
loser noun

Medical Definition

lost ˈlȯst How to pronounce lose (audio) ; losing
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
2
a
: 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

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