“Lose” vs. “Loss”: What’s The Difference?

dark green text "lose vs loss" on light green background

Lose and loss are used in all the same contexts, but they are different parts of speech: one is a verb, and one is a noun.

In this article, we’ll explain the differences between lose and loss, show how each one is typically used, and provide examples of how they often appear in sentences.

Looking for the difference between loose and lose? Check out our guide.

Quick summary

Lose is always a verb. Loss is always a noun. Both words can be used in multiple ways and for both tangible and intangible things. You can lose your wallet, your password, weight, a game, a job, a loved one, track of time. Loss can be used in many of the same situations, but it refers to the act or an instance of losing. The past tense form of lose is lost, which is also used as an adjective (as in a lost dog or Are we lost?).

lose vs. loss 

The word lose is always used as a verb. Lose is an irregular verb whose past tense and past participle is lost. Lose has many different meanings, involving both tangible and intangible things. Some of the more commonly used senses of lose include:

  • “to come to be without”
    Example: I always keep my keys in the same place so that I don’t lose them.
  • “to suffer deprivation of”
    Example: She is afraid that she might lose her job.
  • “to get rid of”
    Example: My doctor advised me to try to lose some weight.
  • “to be defeated”
    Example: I always lose when I play chess with my sister.
  • “to go astray”
    Example: Be careful not to lose your way in the thick jungle.

The word loss is always used as a noun. Like lose, the noun loss has multiple different senses. Some of the more commonly used meanings of loss include:

  • “the act of losing something”
    Example: The loss of my wallet caused big problems for me yesterday.
  • “death”
    Example: The king was never the same after the loss of his son in battle.
  • “the state of deprivation of something”
    Example: The loss of rain in the country led to widespread famine.
  • “a defeat (the opposite of a win)”
    Example: The Klutzville Bumblers experienced another embarrassing loss during Sunday’s game.

loses vs. losses 

Loses is a present tense form of the verb lose. It is used with a third person singular subject (except the singular they).

For example:

  • If our team loses another game, we won’t make the playoffs.
  • He loses his keys almost every day.

Losses is the plural form of the noun loss. It can be used in any context in which loss is pluralized. It is commonly used in the context of defeats in sports and other competition (I finally won a match after five losses in a row); casualties (The army suffered significant losses during the retreat); and to the opposite of profits (The company recorded significant losses in the third quarter).

Examples of lose and loss used in a sentence

Let’s not lose focus—we’ll finish by looking at how lose and loss are typically used in sentences.

  • The illness caused her to lose her sense of smell.
  • Hair loss is one of the side effects of the medicine.
  • I usually lose more than I win when I play poker.–
  • We can’t afford to lose any more sales—we’re already operating at a loss.
  • Fans started to lose hope after the team suffered four losses in a row after the loss of the star quarterback to injury.

Loosen up your word muscles by learning the difference between "loose" and "lose" here.

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