\ˈlȯst \

Definition of lost 

1 : not made use of, won, or claimed a lost opportunity

2a : no longer possessed a lost reputation

b : no longer known a lost tunnel

3 : ruined or destroyed physically or morally : desperate a lost soul

4a : taken away or beyond reach or attainment : denied regions lost to the faith

b : insensible, hardened lost to shame

5a : unable to find the way

b : no longer visible lost in the crowd

c : lacking assurance or self-confidence : helpless lost without his glasses

6 : rapt, absorbed lost in reverie

7 : not appreciated or understood : wasted their jokes were lost on me

8 : obscured or overlooked during a process or activity lost in translation

9 : hopelessly unattainable : futile a lost cause

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Other Words from lost

lostness \ ˈlȯs(t)-​nəs \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for lost


gone, mislaid, misplaced, missing


owned, possessed, retained

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Examples of lost in a Sentence

He was looking for his lost keys. Many have tried to find the ruins of the lost city. We took a wrong turn and got lost. Hold my hand. I don't want you to get lost. He has been trying to recapture his lost youth. The original music is lost to us forever.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Yet many are far from making up all the lost ground. Patricia Cohen, BostonGlobe.com, "Paychecks lag as profits soar, and prices erode wage gains," 14 July 2018 Yet many are far from making up all the lost ground. Patricia Cohen, New York Times, "Paychecks Lag as Profits Soar, and Prices Erode Wage Gains," 13 July 2018 The big showcase destination, the lost city of Atlantis, has been converted to a casino, where winged beasts and dark lords sit dead-eyed in front of flashing slot machines. Barbara Vandenburgh, azcentral, "Monsters go on vacation in 'Hotel Transylvania 3'," 12 July 2018 Back in the ’70s, a lost dog wandered into our yard. Kevin Fisher-paulson, SFChronicle.com, "Dog dish: a tell-all by Bandit the Pekingese," 10 July 2018 July 4 and 5 were about as hectic as expected for the shelter, which receives a dramatic influx of pets (75 percent dogs, 25 percent cats, Haynes estimated) that run away or otherwise become lost as a result of the holiday's festivities. Jordan Cutler-tietjen, sacbee, "Fireworks on Fourth strain Sacramento animal shelters already overcapacity," 5 July 2018 But the tangled orbits of those lost worlds meant they were doomed to collide, producing fragments that also collided, producing still more fragments in a cataclysmic cascade that's been going on for more than 4 billion years. Sarah Kaplan, chicagotribune.com, "Many asteroids might be remnants of 5 destroyed worlds, scientists say," 3 July 2018 Noxon has expanded the novel and amps up the connection between Wind Gap and the lost world of the Confederacy, with Amma putting on a play with her classmates about John C. Calhoun. Vogue, "Is Sharp Objects the Next Big Little Lies?," 3 July 2018 Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Hill told the Times that the team had lost members due to attrition and that investigations are just one way the team helps the department provide oversight. Maegan Vazquez, CNN, "NYT: For-profit college fraud investigations scaled back under Betsy DeVos," 13 May 2018

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

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First Known Use of lost

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lost

past participle of lose

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Statistics for lost

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lost

The first known use of lost was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for lost



English Language Learners Definition of lost

: unable to be found

: not knowing where you are or how to get to where you want to go : unable to find your way

: no longer held, owned, or possessed



Kids Definition of lost

1 : unable to find the way a lost puppy

2 : unable to be found lost luggage

3 : not used, won, or claimed a lost opportunity

4 : no longer possessed or known a lost art long lost cousins

5 : fully occupied lost in thought

6 : not capable of succeeding a lost cause



Legal Definition of lost 

1 : not made use of, won, or claimed lost opportunity costs

2 : unintentionally gone out of or missing from one's possession or control

3 : ruined or destroyed physically also : in an unknown physical condition or location a lost ship

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Comments on lost

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


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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