[lawst, lost]
See more synonyms for lost on Thesaurus.com
  1. no longer possessed or retained: lost friends.
  2. no longer to be found: lost articles.
  3. having gone astray or missed the way; bewildered as to place, direction, etc.: lost children.
  4. not used to good purpose, as opportunities, time, or labor; wasted: a lost advantage.
  5. being something that someone has failed to win: a lost prize.
  6. ending in or attended with defeat: a lost battle.
  7. destroyed or ruined: lost ships.
  8. preoccupied; rapt: He seems lost in thought.
  9. distracted; distraught; desperate; hopeless: the lost look of a man trapped and afraid.
verb (used with or without object)
  1. simple past tense and past participle of lose.
  1. get lost, Slang.
    1. to absent oneself: I think I'll get lost before an argument starts.
    2. to stop being a nuisance: If they call again, tell them to get lost.
  2. lost to,
    1. no longer belonging to.
    2. no longer possible or open to: The opportunity was lost to him.
    3. insensible to: lost to all sense of duty.
Related formsun·lost, adjective

Synonyms for lost

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
1. forfeited, gone, missing. 3. confused, perplexed. 4. squandered.

Antonyms for lost

1. found.


verb (used with object), lost, los·ing.
  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.
  3. to suffer the deprivation of: to lose one's job; to lose one's life.
  4. to be bereaved of by death: to lose a sister.
  5. to fail to keep, preserve, or maintain: to lose one's balance; to lose one's figure.
  6. (of a clock or watch) to run slower by: The watch loses three minutes a day.
  7. to give up; forfeit the possession of: to lose a fortune at the gaming table.
  8. to get rid of: to lose one's fear of the dark; to lose weight; She needs to lose those bangs!
  9. to bring to destruction or ruin (usually used passively): Ship and crew were lost.
  10. to condemn to hell; damn.
  11. to have slip from sight, hearing, attention, etc.: to lose him in the crowd.
  12. to stray from or become ignorant of (one's way, directions, etc.): to lose one's bearings.
  13. to leave far behind in a pursuit, race, etc.; outstrip: She managed to lose the other runners on the final lap of the race.
  14. to use to no purpose; waste: to lose time in waiting.
  15. to fail to have, get, catch, etc.; miss: to lose a bargain.
  16. to fail to win (a prize, stake, etc.): to lose a bet.
  17. to be defeated in (a game, lawsuit, battle, etc.): He has lost very few cases in his career as a lawyer.
  18. to cause the loss of: The delay lost the battle for them.
  19. to let (oneself) go astray, miss the way, etc.: We lost ourselves in the woods.
  20. to allow (oneself) to become absorbed or engrossed in something and oblivious to all else: I had lost myself in thought.
  21. (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.”
  22. (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.
  3. to depreciate in effectiveness or in some other essential quality: a classic that loses in translation.
  4. (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.
  1. lose face. face(def 51).
  2. lose it, Informal. to suddenly lose control of one's emotions: When he said he loved me, I nearly lost it.

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. 2018

Examples from the Web for lost

Contemporary Examples of lost

Historical Examples of lost

  • They were fabled as seven sisters, and one lost her place in the sky by marrying a mortal.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • "He will look for me, and seem bewildered, as if something were lost," replied Philothea.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • I tell you he's alive and well, only he's lost your money and Pish's and mine and his own.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • You don't want to let him be the one to break it because you lost your money, do you?

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • But unless he did something a hundred lives perhaps might be lost.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

British Dictionary definitions for lost


  1. unable to be found or recovered
  2. unable to find one's way or ascertain one's whereabouts
  3. confused, bewildered, or helplesshe is lost in discussions of theory
  4. (sometimes foll by on) not utilized, noticed, or taken advantage of (by)rational arguments are lost on her
  5. no longer possessed or existing because of defeat, misfortune, or the passage of timea lost art
  6. destroyed physicallythe lost platoon
  7. (foll by to) no longer available or open (to)
  8. (foll by to) insensible or impervious (to a sense of shame, justice, etc)
  9. (foll by in) engrossed (in)he was lost in his book
  10. morally fallena lost woman
  11. damneda lost soul
  12. get lost (usually imperative) informal go away and stay away


verb loses, 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 maintainto lose one's balance
  3. to suffer the loss or deprivation ofto lose a parent
  4. to cease to have or possess
  5. to fail to get or make use ofto lose a chance
  6. (also intr) to fail to gain or win (a contest, game, etc)to lose the match
  7. to fail to see, hear, perceive, or understandI lost the gist of his speech
  8. to wasteto lose money gambling
  9. to wander from so as to be unable to findto lose one's way
  10. to cause the loss ofhis delay lost him the battle
  11. to allow to go astray or out of sightwe lost him in the crowd
  12. (usually passive) to absorb or engrosshe was lost in contemplation
  13. (usually passive) to cause the death or destruction oftwo men were lost in the attack
  14. to outdistance or eludehe soon lost his pursuers
  15. (intr) to decrease or depreciate in value or effectivenesspoetry always loses in translation
  16. (also intr) (of a timepiece) to run slow (by a specified amount)the clock loses ten minutes every day
  17. (of a physician) to fail to sustain the life of (a patient)
  18. (of a woman) to fail to give birth to (a viable baby), esp as the result of a miscarriage
  19. motor racing slang to lose control of (the car), as on a bendhe lost it going into Woodcote
  20. 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 lost

"defeated," c.1300; "wasted, spent in vain," c.1500; also "no longer to be found" (1520s), from past participle of lose. Lost Cause in reference to the Southern U.S. bid for independence is from the title of E.A. Pollard's history of the CSA and the rebellion (1866). Lost Generation in reference to the period 1914-18 first attested 1926 in Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises," where he credits it to Gertrude Stein.



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with lost


In addition to the idioms beginning with lost

  • lost cause
  • lost in the shuffle
  • lost in thought
  • lost on one

also see:

  • get lost
  • he who hesitates is lost
  • make up for lost time
  • no love lost
  • you've lost me

Also seelose.


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.