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[kawst-lee, kost-] /ˈkɔst li, ˈkɒst-/
adjective, costlier, costliest.
costing much; expensive; high in price:
a costly emerald bracelet; costly medical care.
resulting in great expense:
The upkeep of such a large house is costly.
resulting in great detriment:
It was a costly mistake because no one ever trusted him again.
of great value; very valuable; sumptuous.
lavish; extravagant.
Origin of costly
First recorded in 1350-1400, costly is from the Middle English word costli. See cost, -ly
Related forms
costliness, noun
overcostliness, noun
overcostly, adjective
uncostly, adjective
1. dear, high-priced. See expensive. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for costliness
Historical Examples
  • Here every object was estimated, not for its beauty or elegance, but by its costliness.

  • When costliness rather than beauty is the effect of flowers, the display is vulgar.

    The Etiquette of To-day Edith B. Ordway
  • From its costliness, however, this is only desirable for small work.

    On Laboratory Arts Richard Threlfall
  • That other argument as to the costliness of old men to the state was for the present dropped.

    The Fixed Period

    Anthony Trollope
  • It reminds us of the costliness of much of our self-indulgence.

    George Muller of Bristol Arthur T. Pierson
  • Never scruple at its costliness; it cannot be richer than Anne's heart.

    Agatha's Husband Dinah Maria Craik (AKA: Dinah Maria Mulock)
  • Indeed, the beauty of such ornaments as these seldom has any relation to the costliness of them.

    Rollo in Geneva Jacob Abbott
  • The fit of the dress did not strike Paul so much as the costliness of the material.

    The Shadow of the Czar John R. Carling
  • The third barge surpassed all in the splendor and costliness of its decoration.

    A King of Tyre James M. Ludlow
  • What may be accounted prodigality in the costliness of apparel?

British Dictionary definitions for costliness


adjective -lier, -liest
of great price or value; expensive
entailing great loss or sacrifice: a costly victory
splendid; lavish
Derived Forms
costliness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for costliness



late 14c., from cost + -ly (1). Earlier formation with the same sense were costful (mid-13c.), costious (mid-14c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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