Nearby words

  1. cossack,
  2. cossack hat,
  3. cossacks,
  4. cosset,
  5. cossie,
  6. cost accounting,
  7. cost center,
  8. cost centre,
  9. cost keeper,
  10. cost ledger


    at all costs, regardless of the effort involved; by any means necessary: The stolen painting must be recovered at all costs.Also at any cost.

Origin of cost

1200–50; (v.) Middle English costen < Anglo-French, Old French co(u)ster < Latin constāre to stand together, be settled, cost; cf. constant; (noun) Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French, noun derivative of the v.

1. charge, expense, expenditure, outlay. See price. 3. detriment.

Related formscost·less, adjectivecost·less·ness, nounre·cost, verb (used with object), re·cost, re·cost·ing. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for at all costs



the price paid or required for acquiring, producing, or maintaining something, usually measured in money, time, or energy; expense or expenditure; outlay
suffering or sacrifice; loss; penaltycount the cost to your health; I know to my cost
  1. the amount paid for a commodity by its sellerto sell at cost
  2. (as modifier)the cost price
(plural) law the expenses of judicial proceedings
at any cost or at all costs regardless of cost or sacrifice involved
at the cost of at the expense of losing

verb costs, costing or cost

(tr) to be obtained or obtainable in exchange for (money or something equivalent); be priced atthe ride cost one pound
to cause or require the expenditure, loss, or sacrifice (of)the accident cost him dearly
to estimate the cost of (a product, process, etc) for the purposes of pricing, budgeting, control, etc
Derived Formscostless, adjective

Word Origin for cost

C13: from Old French (n), from coster to cost, from Latin constāre to stand at, cost, from stāre to stand

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

Word Origin and History for at all costs
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with at all costs

at all costs

Also, at any cost or price. Regardless of the expense or effort involved, by any means. For example, Ann told the doctor to preserve her mother's sight at all costs, or It seems the company plans to develop the product at any cost, or I'm determined to get vacation time at any price. [Mid-1800s]


see arm and a leg, cost an; at all costs; pretty penny, cost a.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.