[kawst-lee, kost-]
See more synonyms for costly on
adjective, cost·li·er, cost·li·est.
  1. costing much; expensive; high in price: a costly emerald bracelet; costly medical care.
  2. resulting in great expense: The upkeep of such a large house is costly.
  3. resulting in great detriment: It was a costly mistake because no one ever trusted him again.
  4. of great value; very valuable; sumptuous.
  5. lavish; extravagant.

Origin of costly

First recorded in 1350–1400, costly is from the Middle English word costli. See cost, -ly
Related formscost·li·ness, nouno·ver·cost·li·ness, nouno·ver·cost·ly, adjectiveun·cost·ly, adjective

Synonyms for costly

See more synonyms for on Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for costliness

luxury, excess, costliness

Examples from the Web for costliness

Historical Examples of costliness

  • 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.

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for costliness


adjective -lier or -liest
  1. of great price or value; expensive
  2. entailing great loss or sacrificea costly victory
  3. splendid; lavish
Derived Formscostliness, 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

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