causing or suffering loss.


losings, losses.

Nearby words

  1. lose touch,
  2. lose track,
  3. losel,
  4. loser,
  5. losey,
  6. losing battle, a,
  7. losing hazard,
  8. losingest,
  9. losingly,
  10. losings

Origin of losing

before 950; Middle English, Old English; see lose, -ing2, -ing1

Related formslos·ing·ly, adverb



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

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.

verb (used without object), lost, los·ing.

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.

Verb Phrases

lose out, to suffer defeat or loss; fail to obtain something desired: He got through the preliminaries, but lost out in the finals.

Origin of lose

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

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

Can be confusedloose loosen lose loss

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for losing

British Dictionary definitions for losing



unprofitable; failingthe business was a losing concern


verb loses, losing or lost (mainly tr)

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
Derived Formslosable, adjectivelosableness, noun

Word Origin for lose

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

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 losing


Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with losing


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.