View synonyms for loss


[ laws, los ]


  1. detriment, disadvantage, or deprivation from failure to keep, have, or get:

    to bear the loss of a robbery.

    Antonyms: gain

  2. something that is lost:

    The painting was the greatest loss from the robbery.

  3. an amount or number lost:

    The loss of life increased each day.

  4. the state of being deprived of or of being without something that one has had:

    the loss of old friends.

    Synonyms: deprivation, privation

  5. death, or the fact of being dead:

    to mourn the loss of a grandparent.

  6. the accidental or inadvertent losing of something dropped, misplaced, stolen, etc.:

    to discover the loss of a document.

  7. a losing by defeat; failure to win:

    the loss of a bet.

  8. failure to make good use of something, as time; waste.
  9. failure to preserve or maintain:

    loss of engine speed at high altitudes.

  10. destruction or ruin:

    the loss of a ship by fire.

  11. a thing or a number of related things that are lost or destroyed to some extent:

    Most buildings in the burned district were a total loss.

  12. Military.
    1. the losing of soldiers by death, capture, etc.
    2. Often losses. the number of soldiers so lost.
  13. Insurance. occurrence of an event, as death or damage of property, for which the insurer makes indemnity under the terms of a policy.
  14. Electricity. a measure of the power lost in a system, as by conversion to heat, expressed as a relation between power input and power output, as the ratio of or difference between the two quantities.


/ lɒs /


  1. the act or an instance of losing
  2. the disadvantage or deprivation resulting from losing

    a loss of reputation

  3. the person, thing, or amount lost

    a large loss

  4. plural military personnel lost by death or capture
  5. sometimes plural the amount by which the costs of a business transaction or operation exceed its revenue
  6. a measure of the power lost in an electrical system expressed as the ratio of or difference between the input power and the output power
  7. insurance
    1. an occurrence of something that has been insured against, thus giving rise to a claim by a policyholder
    2. the amount of the resulting claim
  8. at a loss
    1. uncertain what to do; bewildered
    2. rendered helpless (for lack of something)

      at a loss for words

    3. at less than the cost of buying, producing, or maintaining (something)

      the business ran at a loss for several years

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Other Words From

  • pre·loss noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of loss1

First recorded before 900; Middle English; Old English los “destruction”; cognate with Old Norse los “looseness, breakup”; lose ( def ), loose ( def ), -less ( def ), lorn ( def )

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Word History and Origins

Origin of loss1

C14: noun probably formed from lost, past participle of losen to perish, from Old English lōsian to be destroyed, from los destruction

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. at a loss,
    1. at less than cost; at a financial loss.
    2. in a state of bewilderment or uncertainty; puzzled; perplexed:

      We are completely at a loss for an answer to the problem.

More idioms and phrases containing loss

see at a loss ; cut one's losses ; dead loss .

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Example Sentences

It’s far from the only retailer to have suffered similar losses over the past six months.

From Quartz

Sales rose 133% in the first half of 2020 to $242 million, while its net loss declined 3% to $171 million from the same period a year ago.

From Fortune

Khudobin’s regular-season form suggested the Stars would be in good shape for a deep playoff run, the loss of their No.

Job losses at banks this year are on course to be the deepest for half a decade.

From Fortune

You can view this as an adaptation in the female mouse, an ability to cut her losses when there’s the scent of a new male in town.

How do you celebrate when happy occasions are colored by loss and absence?

One topic that comes up among the members, she says, is dealing with loss years later.

To look at her in tears was to behold the enormity of her loss.

The fact that he was celebrating another loss for the star-crossed city of Detroit only enhances the symbolism.

One specific kind of emergency is at the heart of this, such as when an airplane suffers a loss of stability at night.

There was no doubt thought of his own loss in this question: yet there was, one may hope, a germ of solicitude for the mother too.

But if what I told him were true, he was still at a loss how a kingdom could run out of its estate like a private person.

Hence arise factions, dissensions, and loss to their religious interests and work; and these intruders seek to rule the others.

There was a great comparing of papers, and turning over of leaves, by Fogg and Perker, after this statement of profit and loss.

The worst loss is that of Winston's ear; high principles won't obtain high explosives.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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




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