\ ˈlȯs How to pronounce loss (audio) \
plural losses

Definition of loss

1 : destruction, ruin … quitted all to save / A world from utter loss— John Milton habitat loss
2a(1) : the act or fact of being unable to keep or maintain something or someone blood loss hair loss loss of a toe from frostbite The accident was attributed to the drivers' loss of control. Success or failure in the playoffs can ride on one momentary loss of composure.— Ric Bucher Activists … pushed for reform that would have forced the state to compensate the property owner for the loss of his livelihood.— James Bovard The tax was blamed for the loss of jobs in the country's food manufacturing sector.— Helen Branswell The team overcame the loss of its best player … to a torn ACL in its 10th game …— Jeff Johnson
(2) : the partial or complete deterioration or absence of a physical capability or function a temporary loss of taste and smell severe memory loss loss of appetite loss of consciousness … one in about 350 babies is born deaf or hard of hearing in Minnesota each year. I was surprised to learn that this makes hearing loss the most common condition present at birth.— Ann Busche — see also loss of life
b : the harm or privation resulting from losing or being separated from someone or something Her sudden death was a great loss to the community. experienced a deep sense/feeling of loss
c : an instance of losing someone or something mourning the loss of a dear friend to cancer She lamented the loss of their friendship.
3 : a person or thing or an amount that is lost: such as
a losses plural : killed, wounded, or captured soldiers The regiment suffered terrible losses.
b : the power diminution of a circuit (see circuit entry 1 sense 4a) or circuit element corresponding to conversion of electrical energy into heat by resistance (see resistance entry 1 sense 4a)
4a : failure to gain, win, obtain, or utilize loss of income/revenue loss of a game the party's losses in the election Research hasn't revealed any permanent effects on the body resulting from sleep loss, but don't take that as an endorsement for skipping z's.— Brad Wetzler
b : an amount by which the cost of something exceeds its selling price profits and losses The business is operating at a loss. sold the stock at a loss
5 : decrease in amount, magnitude, value, or degree his recent weight loss a loss in altitude/temperature Efficiency losses led to lower profits. Shares of tech stocks pared losses as the Nasdaq rallied sharply off the lows of the day.— Rachel Fox
6 : the amount of an insured's financial detriment by death or damage that the insurer is liable for Insured losses arising from a string of tornadoes in Missouri earlier this year may reach more than $139 million …— Timothy Darragh
7 football : the distance the ball is moved away from the goal during a play There was a gain of five yards on first down, but a loss of three yards on second down.
at a loss
1 : uncertain as to how to proceed was at a loss to explain the discrepancy
2 : unable to produce what is needed at a loss for words
for a loss
: into a state of distress events had thrown him for a loss

Synonyms & Antonyms for loss



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Examples of loss in a Sentence

The storm caused widespread loss of electricity. The company's losses for the year were higher than expected. A careless error resulted in the loss of the game. The team suffered a 3–2 loss in the last game. The team has an equal number of wins and losses. the party's losses in the recent election See More
Recent Examples on the Web Sunday was a far cry from the last Game 7 at the Garden, the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals when the Green clanged their way to a loss to Cleveland with a 7-for-39 3-point performance. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 16 May 2022 The barbecue brand, which went public last August, reported a loss of $54.5 million, or $1.02 a share, for the quarter ended March 31, compared with a profit of $69 million in the same period a year earlier. Dean Seal, WSJ, 16 May 2022 In particular, Tucker Carlson, Fox News' most popular personality, has pushed false views that are more easily embraced by some white people who are concerned about a loss of their political and social power. David Bauder, ajc, 16 May 2022 Pittsburgh's 1-0 lead held up in the top of the 9th, giving the Reds a loss despite the fact that neither Greene nor Warren allowed a hit. Dave Clark, The Enquirer, 16 May 2022 In particular, Tucker Carlson, Fox News’ most popular personality, has pushed false views that are more easily embraced by some white people who are concerned about a loss of their political and social power. The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 May 2022 Arkansas fell one place to No. 5 in the USA Today Baseball Coaches Poll following a home series loss to Vanderbilt over the weekend. Matt Jones, Arkansas Online, 16 May 2022 The two-time defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning kept their three-peat hopes alive and the Toronto Maple Leafs suffered another Game 7 disappointment with a 2-1 home loss Saturday night. Mike Brehm, USA TODAY, 15 May 2022 The Milwaukee Bucks' season came to a close with a 109-81 loss to the Boston Celtics on Sunday in Game 7 of the second-round series at TD Garden. Ben Steele, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 15 May 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of loss

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for loss

Middle English los, probably back-formation from lost, past participle of losen to lose

Learn More About loss

Time Traveler for loss

Time Traveler

The first known use of loss was in the 13th century

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Statistics for loss

Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Loss.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/loss. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for loss


\ ˈlȯs How to pronounce loss (audio) \

Kids Definition of loss

1 : the act or fact of losing something a loss of courage
2 : harm or distress that comes from losing something or someone We all felt the loss when he left.
3 : something that is lost weight loss
4 : failure to win It was the team's first loss.
at a loss
: unsure of how to proceed



Legal Definition of loss

1 : physical, emotional, or especially economic harm or damage sustained: as
a : decrease in value, capital, or amount — compare gain
b : an amount by which the cost of something (as goods or services) exceeds the selling price — compare profit
c : something unintentionally destroyed or placed beyond recovery
d : the amount of an insured's financial detriment due to the occurrence of a stipulated event (as death, injury, destruction, or damage) in such a manner as to create liability in the insurer under the terms of the policy

Note: As a general rule, economic losses are deductible from adjusted gross income under section 165 of the Internal Revenue Code. There are, however, numerous exceptions and limitations.

actual loss
: the identifiable and calculable monetary detriment that is suffered or will be suffered as a result of an act or event
actual total loss
: a loss in marine insurance in which the property (as a vessel or cargo) cannot be repaired or recovered — compare constructive total loss in this entry
capital loss
: the amount by which the book value of a capital asset exceeds the amount realized from the sale or exchange of the asset
casualty loss
: loss of property as a result of a fire, storm, shipwreck, or other catastrophic event
consequential loss
: a loss that arises as an indirect result of an act or event

called also indirect loss

— compare direct loss in this entry
constructive total loss
: a loss in marine insurance in which the cost of repairing or recovering a ship or its cargo would be more than the ship or cargo is worth — compare actual total loss in this entry
direct loss
: a loss arising directly from an act or event — compare consequential loss in this entry
indirect loss
: consequential loss in this entry
net operating loss
: the amount by which the expenses of operating a business exceed the income derived from it — see also carryback, carryover
ordinary loss
: a loss from the sale or exchange of any asset that is not a capital asset
partial loss
: a loss arising from damage to property that does not render it a total loss
total loss
: a loss arising from damage to property that is so substantial as to make the property valueless to an insured
2 : the act or fact of suffering physical, emotional, or especially economic harm or detriment

More from Merriam-Webster on loss

Nglish: Translation of loss for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of loss for Arabic Speakers


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