: involving or causing some loss of data
Lossy compression is a way of getting even smaller squeezed files than lossless. This technology strips out data it has been programmed to regard as either unnecessary or redundant.Ron Goldberg
The loss was literal: MP3 is what's called a "lossy" data-compression form of audio encoding; some audio information is demonstrably lost in the process.Virginia Heffernan
: causing attenuation or dissipation of electrical energy
a lossy transmission line
a lossy dielectric

Examples of lossy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Things like cropping, flipping or rotating, adding a filter, changing the brightness, color, or contrast, or using a lossy compression algorithm won’t remove a watermark from an image—or at least, not so much that SynthID can’t still detect it. Harry Guinness, Popular Science, 30 Aug. 2023 The fact that Xerox photocopiers use a lossy compression format instead of a lossless one isn’t, in itself, a problem. Ted Chiang, The New Yorker, 9 Feb. 2023 While the lossless Huffman algorithm is a part of the JPEG process, overall the standard is lossy. Quanta Magazine, 31 May 2023 Death is a lossy process, but something always remains. Paul Ford, WIRED, 15 June 2023 Even Netflix uses a lossy approach, downgrading video quality whenever the company detects that a user is watching on a low-resolution device. Quanta Magazine, 31 May 2023 Xerox photocopiers use a lossy compression format known as JBIG2, designed for use with black-and-white images. Ted Chiang, The New Yorker, 9 Feb. 2023 It was heavily backed by musician Neil Young, who hates the quality of lossy MP3 files that dominated music before streaming services like Spotify took hold. PCMAG, 20 Sep. 2022 Users will also have to option to switch from lossless to a lossy 24-bit 96kHz setting. Mark Sparrow, Forbes, 1 Sep. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'lossy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1948, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of lossy was in 1948

Dictionary Entries Near lossy

Cite this Entry

“Lossy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lossy. Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

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