opportunity cost


Definition of opportunity cost

: the added cost of using resources (as for production or speculative investment) that is the difference between the actual value resulting from such use and that of an alternative (such as another use of the same resources or an investment of equal risk but greater return)

Examples of opportunity cost in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Closely related to the timing problem is the opportunity cost. Bonnie Kristian, The Week, 2 June 2021 Budget impact analyses lay bare the individuals or groups who lose out; in other words, those who bear the opportunity cost of spending resources in one area, say, Covid-19, rather than another. Joshua Cohen, Forbes, 5 Nov. 2021 The lack of balance comes with an opportunity cost. Cleve Gibbon, Forbes, 7 Dec. 2021 The question at hand, though, is whether it should be taught at the expense of timeless knowledge — i.e., theories of opportunity cost, trade-offs, and supply and demand. Brian Albrecht, National Review, 4 Oct. 2021 The end result of this messy state of affairs is that benefits and cost present values discounted at the 3% rate ignore opportunity cost. James Broughel, Forbes, 27 Sep. 2021 Evidence that the opportunity cost of the screening program (operational and overhead) is economically balanced in relation to expenditure on medical care as a whole (value for money). Yair Paska, Forbes, 13 Oct. 2021 To them, ignoring opportunity cost—as the 3 percenters do—is a much worse sin. James Broughel, Forbes, 27 Sep. 2021 Taking Africa online is a calling larger than its opportunity cost. Daniel Akinmade Emejulu, Quartz, 5 Oct. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'opportunity cost.' 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 opportunity cost

1894, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for opportunity cost

Time Traveler

The first known use of opportunity cost was in 1894

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Dictionary Entries Near opportunity cost


opportunity cost

opportunity school

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Statistics for opportunity cost

Last Updated

3 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Opportunity cost.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opportunity%20cost. Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for opportunity cost

opportunity cost

op·​por·​tu·​ni·​ty cost

Legal Definition of opportunity cost

: the cost of making an investment that is the difference between the return on one investment and the return on an alternative

More from Merriam-Webster on opportunity cost

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about opportunity cost


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