[ laws, los ]
See synonyms for: losslosses on Thesaurus.com

  1. detriment, disadvantage, or deprivation from failure to keep, have, or get: to bear the loss of a robbery.

  2. something that is lost: The painting was the greatest loss from the robbery.

  1. an amount or number lost: The loss of life increased each day.

  2. the state of being deprived of or of being without something that one has had: the loss of old friends.

  3. death, or the fact of being dead: to mourn the loss of a grandparent.

  4. the accidental or inadvertent losing of something dropped, misplaced, stolen, etc.: to discover the loss of a document.

  5. a losing by defeat; failure to win: the loss of a bet.

  6. failure to make good use of something, as time; waste.

  7. failure to preserve or maintain: loss of engine speed at high altitudes.

  8. destruction or ruin: the loss of a ship by fire.

  9. 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.

  10. Military.

    • the losing of soldiers by death, capture, etc.

    • Often losses. the number of soldiers so lost.

  11. Insurance. occurrence of an event, as death or damage of property, for which the insurer makes indemnity under the terms of a policy.

  12. 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.

Idioms about loss

  1. at a loss,

    • at less than cost; at a financial loss.

    • in a state of bewilderment or uncertainty; puzzled; perplexed: We are completely at a loss for an answer to the problem.

Origin of loss

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

Other words for loss

Opposites for loss

Other words from loss

  • pre·loss, noun

Words that may be confused with loss

Words Nearby loss

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

How to use loss in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for loss


/ (lɒs) /

  1. the act or an instance of losing

  2. the disadvantage or deprivation resulting from losing: a loss of reputation

  1. the person, thing, or amount lost: a large loss

  2. (plural) military personnel lost by death or capture

  3. (sometimes plural) the amount by which the costs of a business transaction or operation exceed its revenue

  4. 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

  5. insurance

    • an occurrence of something that has been insured against, thus giving rise to a claim by a policyholder

    • the amount of the resulting claim

  6. at a loss

    • uncertain what to do; bewildered

    • rendered helpless (for lack of something): at a loss for words

    • at less than the cost of buying, producing, or maintaining (something): the business ran at a loss for several years

Origin of loss

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

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 loss


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

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