to come to be without (something in one's possession or care), through accident, theft, etc., so that there is little or no prospect of recovery: I'm sure I've merely misplaced my hat, not lost it.
to fail inadvertently to retain (something) in such a way that it cannot be immediately recovered: I just lost a dime under this sofa.
to suffer the deprivation of: to lose one's job; to lose one's life.
to be bereaved of by death: to lose a sister.
to fail to keep, preserve, or maintain: to lose one's balance; to lose one's figure.
(of a clock or watch) to run slower by: The watch loses three minutes a day.
to give up; forfeit the possession of: to lose a fortune at the gaming table.
to get rid of: to lose one's fear of the dark; to lose weight; She needs to lose those bangs!
to bring to destruction or ruin (usually used passively): Ship and crew were lost.
to condemn to hell; damn.
to have slip from sight, hearing, attention, etc.: to lose him in the crowd.
to stray from or become ignorant of (one's way, directions, etc.): to lose one's bearings.
to leave far behind in a pursuit, race, etc.; outstrip: She managed to lose the other runners on the final lap of the race.
to use to no purpose; waste: to lose time in waiting.
to fail to get or take advantage of; miss: to lose an opportunity.
to fail to win (a prize, stake, etc.): to lose a bet.
to be defeated in (a game, lawsuit, battle, etc.): He has lost very few cases in his career as a lawyer.
to cause the loss of: The delay lost the battle for them.
to let (oneself) go astray, miss the way, etc.: We lost ourselves in the woods.
to allow (oneself) to become absorbed or engrossed in something and oblivious to all else: I had lost myself in thought.
(of a physician or other medical personnel) to fail to preserve the life of (a patient): The doctor came out of the operating room and sadly said, “So sorry. We lost him.”
(of a woman) to fail to be delivered of (a live baby) because of miscarriage, complications in childbirth, etc.
to suffer loss: to lose on a contract.
to suffer defeat or fail to win, as in a contest, race, or game: We played well, but we lost.
to depreciate in effectiveness or in some other essential quality: a classic that loses in translation.
(of a clock, watch, etc.) to run slow.
lose out, to suffer defeat or loss; fail to obtain something desired: He got through the preliminaries, but lost out in the finals.
Idioms about lose
- re·lose, verb (used with object), re·lost, re·los·ing.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use lose in a sentence
The Cornhuskers, who returned to play Saturday, have relied on quick turnarounds between matchups in the hopes of making up their lost games.In schedule shuffle, Maryland will host Nebraska on back-to-back days next week | Emily Giambalvo | February 12, 2021 | Washington Post
His name was lost among the dozens of teenagers chasing the dream of playing abroad, kids contracted by first-tier clubs and toiling in the developmental flights.Matthew Hoppe was a little-known American soccer player — until he reached the Bundesliga | Steven Goff | February 11, 2021 | Washington Post
With their NCAA tournament hopes flickering, the Terrapins lost, 73-65, at Xfinity Center after allowing the Buckeyes to control the game in the second half.Maryland misses a chance to boost its NCAA tournament hopes with a loss to No. 4 Ohio State | Emily Giambalvo | February 9, 2021 | Washington Post
For the most part, as soon as one team started losing, players on that team would begin to quit, with AI players taking their position.Keep the football mode in ‘Rocket League,’ you cowards | Mikhail Klimentov | February 8, 2021 | Washington Post
TNT, which broadcasts the All-Star Game, would lose big in this scenario, and Silver might face criticism for bowing to the stars’ complaints.Four options for an NBA All-Star Game that the star players don’t seem to want | Ben Golliver | February 8, 2021 | Washington Post
A lot of people ring in the New Year with vows to lose weight and exercise.How Skinny Is Too Skinny? Israel Bans ‘Underweight’ Models | Carrie Arnold | January 8, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
Specifically, the pilots got themselves into a high altitude stall, where the wings lose the capacity to provide lift.Flight 8501 Poses Question: Are Modern Jets Too Automated to Fly? | Clive Irving | January 4, 2015 | THE DAILY BEAST
The problem, says UC Davis physiologist and nutritionist Linda Bacon, is that very few people can lose weight and keep it off.
“I guess it was their first incident where they lose a plane,” said Dobersberger, the travel agent.The Presumed Crash of AirAsia Flight QZ8501 Is Nothing Like MH370 | Lennox Samuels | December 29, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
If anything, it would lose money gently, elegantly, hopefully not very much at one time.The Bookstore That Bewitched Mick Jagger, John Lennon, and Greta Garbo | Felice Picano | December 16, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
There was not a moment to lose, for one well-directed shot might exterminate half of us.
That he might lose his head and 'introduce an element of sex' was conscience confessing that it had been already introduced.The Wave | Algernon Blackwood
Speaking with a certain dignity and using the language of the court, he said that they had not a moment to lose.The Red Year | Louis Tracy
Fearing to lose his way, he bawls over the banister, and through the corridors, “Is any one there?”Checkmate | Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
When Tim hesitates he loses his temper as a sensible man should lose it—he buries it, and his indomitable good humor wins.The Soldier of the Valley | Nelson Lloyd
British Dictionary definitions for lose
to part with or come to be without, as through theft, accident, negligence, etc
to fail to keep or maintain: to lose one's balance
to suffer the loss or deprivation of: to lose a parent
to cease to have or possess
to fail to get or make use of: to lose a chance
(also intr) to fail to gain or win (a contest, game, etc): to lose the match
to fail to see, hear, perceive, or understand: I lost the gist of his speech
to waste: to lose money gambling
to wander from so as to be unable to find: to lose one's way
to cause the loss of: his delay lost him the battle
to allow to go astray or out of sight: we lost him in the crowd
(usually passive) to absorb or engross: he was lost in contemplation
(usually passive) to cause the death or destruction of: two men were lost in the attack
to outdistance or elude: he soon lost his pursuers
(intr) to decrease or depreciate in value or effectiveness: poetry always loses in translation
(also intr) (of a timepiece) to run slow (by a specified amount): the clock loses ten minutes every day
(of a physician) to fail to sustain the life of (a patient)
(of a woman) to fail to give birth to (a viable baby), esp as the result of a miscarriage
motor racing slang to lose control of (the car), as on a bend: he lost it going into Woodcote
lose it slang to lose control of oneself or one's temper
- losable, adjective
- losableness, 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
Other Idioms and Phrases with lose
In addition to the idioms beginning with lose
- lose face
- lose ground
- lose heart
- lose it
- lose no time
- lose one's bearings
- lose one's buttons
- lose one's cool
- lose oneself in
- lose one's grip
- lose one's head
- lose one's hear to
- lose one's lunch
- lose one's marbles
- lose one's mind
- lose one's nerve
- lose one's shirt
- lose one's temper
- lose one's touch
- lose out
- lose sight of
- lose sleep over
- lose the thread
- lose time
- lose touch
- lose track
- get (lose) one's bearings
- keep (lose) one's cool
- keep (lose) track
- win some, lose some
Also see underlosinglost.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.