- detriment, disadvantage, or deprivation from failure to keep, have, or get: to bear the loss of a robbery.
- something that is lost: The painting was the greatest loss from the robbery.
- an amount or number lost: The loss of life increased each day.
- the state of being deprived of or of being without something that one has had: the loss of old friends.
- death, or the fact of being dead: to mourn the loss of a grandparent.
- the accidental or inadvertent losing of something dropped, misplaced, stolen, etc.: to discover the loss of a document.
- a losing by defeat; failure to win: the loss of a bet.
- failure to make good use of something, as time; waste.
- failure to preserve or maintain: loss of engine speed at high altitudes.
- destruction or ruin: the loss of a ship by fire.
- a thing or a number of related things that are lost or destroyed to some extent: Most buildings in the burned district were a total loss.
- Insurance. occurrence of an event, as death or damage of property, for which the insurer makes indemnity under the terms of a policy.
- Electricity. a measure of the power lost in a system, as by conversion to heat, expressed as a relation between power input and power output, as the ratio of or difference between the two quantities.
- at a loss,
- at less than cost; at a financial loss.
- in a state of bewilderment or uncertainty; puzzled; perplexed: We are completely at a loss for an answer to the problem.
Origin of loss
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- the act or an instance of losing
- the disadvantage or deprivation resulting from losinga loss of reputation
- the person, thing, or amount losta large loss
- (plural) military personnel lost by death or capture
- (sometimes plural) the amount by which the costs of a business transaction or operation exceed its revenue
- a measure of the power lost in an electrical system expressed as the ratio of or difference between the input power and the output power
- an occurrence of something that has been insured against, thus giving rise to a claim by a policyholder
- the amount of the resulting claim
- at a loss
- uncertain what to do; bewildered
- rendered helpless (for lack of something)at a loss for words
- at less than the cost of buying, producing, or maintaining (something)the business ran at a loss for several years
Word Origin and History for at a loss
Old English los "loss, destruction," from Proto-Germanic *lausa- (see lose). The modern word, however, probably evolved 14c. with a weaker sense, from lost, the original past participle of lose. Phrase at a loss (1590s) originally refers to hounds losing the scent. To cut (one's) losses is from 1885, originally in finance.
Idioms and Phrases with at a loss
at a loss
Below cost, as in The store was doing so badly that it was selling merchandise at a loss.
Puzzled, perplexed, in a state of uncertainty, as in When his letters were returned unopened, John was at a loss as to what to do next. This usage was originally applied to hounds who had lost the scent or track of their prey. [Mid-1600s]
at a loss for words. Unable or uncertain as to what to say. For example, Father's tirade left us all at a loss for words. [Late 1600s]