- 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 have, get, catch, etc.; miss: to lose a bargain.
- 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.
- lose face. face(def 51).
- lose it, Informal. to suddenly lose control of one's emotions: When he said he loved me, I nearly lost it.
Origin of lose
- (intr, adverb) to be defeated or unsuccessful
- lose out on to fail to secure or make use ofwe lost out on the sale
- to part with or come to be without, as through theft, accident, negligence, etc
- to fail to keep or maintainto lose one's balance
- to suffer the loss or deprivation ofto lose a parent
- to cease to have or possess
- to fail to get or make use ofto 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 understandI lost the gist of his speech
- to wasteto lose money gambling
- to wander from so as to be unable to findto lose one's way
- to cause the loss ofhis delay lost him the battle
- to allow to go astray or out of sightwe lost him in the crowd
- (usually passive) to absorb or engrosshe was lost in contemplation
- (usually passive) to cause the death or destruction oftwo men were lost in the attack
- to outdistance or eludehe soon lost his pursuers
- (intr) to decrease or depreciate in value or effectivenesspoetry 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 bendhe lost it going into Woodcote
- lose it slang to lose control of oneself or one's temper
Word Origin and History for lose out
Old English losian "be lost, perish," from los "destruction, loss," from Proto-Germanic *lausa- (cf. Old Norse los "the breaking up of an army;" Old English forleosan "to lose, destroy," Old Frisian forliasa, Old Saxon farliosan, Middle Dutch verliesen, Old High German firliosan, German verlieren), from PIE root *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart, untie, separate" (cf. Sanskrit lunati "cuts, cuts off," lavitram "sickle;" Greek lyein "to loosen, untie, slacken," lysus "a loosening;" Latin luere "to loose, release, atone for, expiate").
Replaced related leosan (a class II strong verb whose past participle loren survives in forlorn and lovelorn), from Proto-Germanic *leusanan (cf. Old High German virliosan, German verlieren, Old Frisian urliasa, Gothic fraliusan "to lose").
Transitive sense of "to part with accidentally" is from c.1200. Meaning "fail to maintain" is from mid-15c. Meaning "to be defeated" (in a game, etc.) is from 1530s. Meaning "to cause (someone) to lose his way" is from 1640s. To lose (one's) mind "become insane" is attested from c.1500. To lose out "fail" is 1858, American English. Related: Lost; losing.
Idioms and Phrases with lose out
Fail to succeed, be defeated, as in The election's over, and you've lost out. [Mid-1800s]
Also, lose out on or in. Miss an opportunity to participate, as in We came so late that we lost out on our chance to see her dance, or The Republicans lost out in last fall's elections. [Colloquial; mid-1900s] Also see miss out on.
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.