[ kawst, kost ]
See synonyms for: costcostedcostingcosts on

  1. the price paid to acquire, produce, accomplish, or maintain anything: the high cost of a good meal.

  2. an outlay or expenditure of money, time, labor, trouble, etc.: What will the cost be to me?

  1. a sacrifice, loss, or penalty: to work at the cost of one's health.

  2. costs, Law.

    • money allowed to a successful party in a lawsuit in compensation for legal expenses incurred, chargeable to the unsuccessful party.

    • money due to a court or one of its officers for services in a cause.

verb (used with object),cost or, for 10, cost·ed;cost·ing.
  1. to require the payment of (money or something else of value) in an exchange: That camera cost $200.

  2. to result in or entail the loss of: Carelessness costs lives.

  1. to cause to lose or suffer: The accident cost her a broken leg.

  2. to entail (effort or inconvenience): Courtesy costs little.

  3. to cause to pay or sacrifice: That request will cost us two weeks' extra work.

  4. to estimate or determine the cost of (manufactured articles, new processes, etc.): We have costed the manufacture of each item.

verb (used without object),cost·ed or cost;cost·ing.
  1. to estimate or determine costs, as of manufacturing something.

Verb Phrasespast and past participle cost·ed or cost;present participle cost·ing.
  1. cost out, to calculate the cost of (a project, product, etc.) in advance: The firm that hired him just costed out a major construction project last month.

Idioms about cost

  1. 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

First recorded in 1200–50; (verb) Middle English costen, from Anglo-French, Old French co(u)ster, from Latin constāre “to stand together, be settled, cost”; cf. constant; (noun) Middle English, from Anglo-French, Old French, noun derivative of the verb

synonym study For cost

1. See price.

Other words for cost

Other words from cost

  • costless, adjective
  • cost·less·ness, noun
  • re·cost, verb (used with object), re·cost, re·cost·ing.

Words Nearby cost

Other definitions for cost- (2 of 2)


  1. variant of costo- before a vowel: costate. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use cost in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cost


/ (kɒst) /

  1. the price paid or required for acquiring, producing, or maintaining something, usually measured in money, time, or energy; expense or expenditure; outlay

  2. suffering or sacrifice; loss; penalty: count the cost to your health; I know to my cost

    • the amount paid for a commodity by its seller: to sell at cost

    • (as modifier): the cost price

  1. (plural) law the expenses of judicial proceedings

  2. at any cost or at all costs regardless of cost or sacrifice involved

  3. at the cost of at the expense of losing

verbcosts, costing or cost
  1. (tr) to be obtained or obtainable in exchange for (money or something equivalent); be priced at: the ride cost one pound

  2. to cause or require the expenditure, loss, or sacrifice (of): the accident cost him dearly

  1. to estimate the cost of (a product, process, etc) for the purposes of pricing, budgeting, control, etc

Origin of cost

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

Derived forms of cost

  • costless, adjective

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with cost


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.