Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Idioms about cost

    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.


costless, adjectivecost·less·ness, nounre·cost, verb (used with object), re·cost, re·cost·ing.

Other definitions for cost (2 of 2)


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


What is a basic definition of cost?

Cost means a price that must be paid for something or a sacrifice. Cost is used as a verb to mean to require a payment or to cause the loss of something. Cost has several other senses as a noun and a verb.

Cost most often refers to a specific amount of money that a seller wants for the item they are selling. However, cost is also used more generally to mean whatever the price of an item is. If the price is high or expensive, it is said to be costly.

  • Real-life examples: A pack of gum may have a cost of $1. The cost of a college education is usually very high. When a store is having a sale, it usually lowers the cost of the things it sells.
  • Used in a sentence: The cost to repair the repair was unreasonably high. 

Cost is also a sacrifice, loss, or damage.

  • Real-life examples: The cost of staying up all night is usually being tired the next day. The cost of eating too much is often a stomachache. The cost of driving too fast is often a speeding ticket and sometimes a car accident.
  • Used in a sentence: The demon offered him endless riches at the cost of his soul. 

As a verb, cost means to require a payment in exchange for something, such as a service or a product. The payment can be money but also anything that has value.

  • Real-life examples: Stores will use price tags to tell customers how much items cost. A hotel in Monopoly costs four houses and some extra money. A parent may tell their child that a piece of cake costs a hug.
  • Used in a sentence: The new computer costs $800. 

Cost is also used to mean to result in the loss of something or to cause to suffer something.

  • Real-life examples: Stress and a poor diet will cost a person their good health. Drunk driving will more than likely cost a person their driver’s license or worse. Succeeding at a job usually costs time and energy.
  • Used in a sentence: His obsession with getting revenge cost him his job and his family.

Where does cost come from?

The first records of cost come from around 1200. It ultimately comes from the Latin verb constāre, meaning “to stand together” or “to cost.”

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to cost?

  • costly (adjective)
  • costless (adjective)
  • costlessness (noun)
  • recost (verb)

What are some synonyms for cost?

What are some words that share a root or word element with cost

What are some words that often get used in discussing cost?

How is cost used in real life?

Cost is a very common word that often refers to the prices a person pays or the sacrifices that they make.

Try using cost!

Is cost used correctly in the following sentence?

Keshawn tried to bargain with the seller to lower the cost of the table he wanted.


What does cost- mean?

Cost- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “rib.” It is used in some medical terms, especially in anatomy and pathology.

Cost- comes from the Latin costa, meaning “rib, side.” The word costa was borrowed directly into English as a term for a “rib,” among other senses. The Latin costa is also the source of the word coast. Explore more at our entry for coast.

Cost- is a variant of costo-, which loses its -o– when combined with words or word elements beginning with vowels.

Want to know more? Read our Words That Use costo- article.

Examples of cost-

An example of a medical term that features the combining form cost- is costalgia, “pain in the ribs.”

The combining form cost- means “rib,” as we have seen. The second form algia means “pain.” Costalgia literally translates to “rib pain.”

What are some words that use or are related to the combining form cost-?

What are some other forms that cost- may be commonly confused with?

The word cost, meaning “price,” is not related to the combining form cost- meaning “rib.” It comes from a different Latin root related to the word constant. Learn more at the first entry for cost and in our entry for constant.

Break it down!

The combining form -ectomy means “excision, removal.” What does the medical procedure of a costectomy involve?

How to use cost in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cost

/ (kɒst) /

verb costs, costing or cost

Derived forms of cost

costless, 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

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.