View synonyms for cost



[ kawst, kost ]


  1. the price paid to acquire, produce, accomplish, or maintain anything:

    the high cost of a good meal.

    Synonyms: outlay, expenditure, expense, charge

  2. an outlay or expenditure of money, time, labor, trouble, etc.:

    What will the cost be to me?

  3. a sacrifice, loss, or penalty:

    to work at the cost of one's health.

    Synonyms: detriment

  4. costs, Law.
    1. money allowed to a successful party in a lawsuit in compensation for legal expenses incurred, chargeable to the unsuccessful party.
    2. money due to a court or one of its officers for services in a cause.

verb (used with object)

cost costedcosting
  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.

  3. to cause to lose or suffer:

    The accident cost her a broken leg.

  4. to entail (effort or inconvenience):

    Courtesy costs little.

  5. to cause to pay or sacrifice:

    That request will cost us two weeks' extra work.

  6. to estimate or determine the cost of (manufactured articles, new processes, etc.):

    We have costed the manufacture of each item.

verb (used without object)

costed or costcosting
  1. to estimate or determine costs, as of manufacturing something.

verb phrase

  1. 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.


  1. variant of costo- before a vowel:



/ 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

    1. the amount paid for a commodity by its seller

      to sell at cost

    2. ( as modifier )

      the cost price

  3. plural law the expenses of judicial proceedings
  4. at any cost or at all costs
    regardless of cost or sacrifice involved
  5. at the cost of
    at the expense of losing
“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


  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

  3. to estimate the cost of (a product, process, etc) for the purposes of pricing, budgeting, control, etc
“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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Derived Forms

  • ˈcostless, adjective
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Other Words From

  • costless adjective
  • costless·ness noun
  • re·cost verb (used with object) recost recosting
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Word History and Origins

Origin of cost1

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”; constant; (noun) Middle English, from Anglo-French, Old French, noun derivative of the verb
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Word History and Origins

Origin of cost1

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

  1. at all costs, regardless of the effort involved; by any means necessary: Also at any cost.

    The stolen painting must be recovered at all costs.

More idioms and phrases containing cost

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

See price.
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Example Sentences

Using standard methods, the cost of printing DNA could run upwards of a billion dollars or more, depending on the strand.

“The sensation these objects presented receded as their cost increased,” notes Rabinowitz.

Like him, they identified the Airbus A320 as an airplane extremely well fitted to low cost airline operations in Asia.

Malaysian-based entrepreneur Tony Fernandes has turned AirAsia into the most successful low cost airline in southeast Asia.

But the F-35 has been plagued with massive delays and cost overruns—mostly due to design defects and software issues.

Mrs. Wurzel was quite right; they had been supplied, regardless of cost, from Messrs. Rochet and Stole's well-known establishment.

They feel that the system has few advantages to offer in return for the cost it entails upon them.

He became a doctor in two hours, and it only cost him twenty dollars to complete his education.

The estimated cost of the alterations is put at £16,000 including fittings.

A clock was put above the spot where the fountain stood, in April, 1852, which cost £60.


Related Words

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More About Cost

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.

Words That Use Cost-

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?

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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