[ ik-spens ]
See synonyms for: expenseexpenses on Thesaurus.com

  1. cost or charge: the expense of a good meal.

  2. a cause or occasion of spending: A car can be a great expense.

  1. the act of expending; expenditure.

  2. expenses,

    • charges incurred during a business assignment or trip.

    • money paid as reimbursement for such charges: to receive a salary and expenses.

verb (used with object),ex·pensed, ex·pens·ing.
  1. to charge or write off as an expense.

verb (used without object),ex·pensed, ex·pens·ing.
  1. to be expensed.

Idioms about expense

  1. at the expense of, at the sacrifice of; to the detriment of: quantity at the expense of quality.

Origin of expense

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English, from Late Latin expēnsa, noun use of feminine of expēnsus, past participle of expendere “to weigh out, pay”; see expend

synonym study For expense

1. See price.

Other words for expense

Other words from expense

  • ex·pense·less, adjective
  • pre·ex·pense, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use expense in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for expense


/ (ɪkˈspɛns) /

  1. a particular payment of money; expenditure

  2. money needed for individual purchases; cost; charge

  1. (plural) incidental money spent in the performance of a job, commission, etc, usually reimbursed by an employer or allowable against tax

  2. something requiring money for its purchase or upkeep: the car was more of an expense than he had expected

  3. at the expense of to the detriment of: he succeeded at the expense of his health

  1. (tr) US and Canadian to treat as an expense for book-keeping or tax purposes

Origin of expense

C14: from Late Latin expēnsa, from Latin expēnsus weighed out; see expend

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 expense


see at the expense of; go to the trouble (expense); money (expense) is no object.

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