[ looz ]
See synonyms for: loseloseslosinglost on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object),lost [lawst, lost], /lɔst, lɒst/, los·ing [loo-zing]. /ˈlu zɪŋ/.
  1. 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.

  2. to fail inadvertently to retain (something) in such a way that it cannot be immediately recovered: I just lost a dime under this sofa.

  1. to suffer the deprivation of: to lose one's job; to lose one's life.

  2. to be bereaved of by death: to lose a sister.

  3. to fail to keep, preserve, or maintain: to lose one's balance; to lose one's figure.

  4. (of a clock or watch) to run slower by: The watch loses three minutes a day.

  5. to give up; forfeit the possession of: to lose a fortune at the gaming table.

  6. to get rid of: to lose one's fear of the dark; to lose weight; She needs to lose those bangs!

  7. to bring to destruction or ruin (usually used passively): Ship and crew were lost.

  8. to condemn to hell; damn.

  9. to have slip from sight, hearing, attention, etc.: to lose him in the crowd.

  10. to stray from or become ignorant of (one's way, directions, etc.): to lose one's bearings.

  11. to leave far behind in a pursuit, race, etc.; outstrip: She managed to lose the other runners on the final lap of the race.

  12. to use to no purpose; waste: to lose time in waiting.

  13. to fail to get or take advantage of; miss: to lose an opportunity.

  14. to fail to win (a prize, stake, etc.): to lose a bet.

  15. to be defeated in (a game, lawsuit, battle, etc.): He has lost very few cases in his career as a lawyer.

  16. to cause the loss of: The delay lost the battle for them.

  17. to let (oneself) go astray, miss the way, etc.: We lost ourselves in the woods.

  18. to allow (oneself) to become absorbed or engrossed in something and oblivious to all else: I had lost myself in thought.

  19. (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.”

  20. (of a woman) to fail to be delivered of (a live baby) because of miscarriage, complications in childbirth, etc.

verb (used without object),lost, los·ing.
  1. to suffer loss: to lose on a contract.

  2. to suffer defeat or fail to win, as in a contest, race, or game: We played well, but we lost.

  1. to depreciate in effectiveness or in some other essential quality: a classic that loses in translation.

  2. (of a clock, watch, etc.) to run slow.

Verb Phrases
  1. 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

  1. lose face. face (def. 53).

  2. lose something in translation. See entry at lose in translation.

  1. lose it, Informal. to suddenly lose control of one's emotions: When he said he loved me, I nearly lost it.

Origin of lose

First recorded in before 900; Middle English losen, Old English -lēosan; replacing Middle English lesen, itself also reflecting Old English -lēosan; cognate with German verlieren, Gothic fraliusan “to lose”; see loss

Other words from lose

  • re·lose, verb (used with object), re·lost, re·los·ing.

Words that may be confused with lose

Words Nearby lose

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

How to use lose in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for lose


/ (luːz) /

verbloses, losing or lost (mainly tr)
  1. to part with or come to be without, as through theft, accident, negligence, etc

  2. to fail to keep or maintain: to lose one's balance

  1. to suffer the loss or deprivation of: to lose a parent

  2. to cease to have or possess

  3. to fail to get or make use of: to lose a chance

  4. (also intr) to fail to gain or win (a contest, game, etc): to lose the match

  5. to fail to see, hear, perceive, or understand: I lost the gist of his speech

  6. to waste: to lose money gambling

  7. to wander from so as to be unable to find: to lose one's way

  8. to cause the loss of: his delay lost him the battle

  9. to allow to go astray or out of sight: we lost him in the crowd

  10. (usually passive) to absorb or engross: he was lost in contemplation

  11. (usually passive) to cause the death or destruction of: two men were lost in the attack

  12. to outdistance or elude: he soon lost his pursuers

  13. (intr) to decrease or depreciate in value or effectiveness: poetry always loses in translation

  14. (also intr) (of a timepiece) to run slow (by a specified amount): the clock loses ten minutes every day

  15. (of a physician) to fail to sustain the life of (a patient)

  16. (of a woman) to fail to give birth to (a viable baby), esp as the result of a miscarriage

  17. motor racing slang to lose control of (the car), as on a bend: he lost it going into Woodcote

  18. lose it slang to lose control of oneself or one's temper

Origin of lose

Old English losian to perish; related to Old English -lēosan as in forlēosan to forfeit. Compare loose

Derived forms of lose

  • 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

also see:

  • 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.