the money or other benefits lost when pursuing a particular course of action instead of a mutually-exclusive alternative: The company cannot afford the opportunity cost attached to policy decisions made by the current CEO.
Origin of opportunity cost
First recorded in 1910–15
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economics the benefit that could have been gained from an alternative use of the same resource
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