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1. An amount paid or required in payment for a purchase; a price.
2. The expenditure of something, such as time or labor, necessary for the attainment of a goal: "Freedom to advocate unpopular causes does not require that such advocacy be without cost" (Milton Friedman).
3. costs Law Charges incurred in bringing litigation, including court fees and charges that may be payable by the losing party, but usually not including attorneys' fees.
v. cost, cost·ing, costs
To require a specified payment, expenditure, effort, or loss: It costs more to live in the city.
1. To have as a price.
2. To cause to lose, suffer, or sacrifice: Participating in the strike cost me my job.
3. past tense and past participle costed To estimate or determine the cost of: The accountants costed out our expenses.
at all costs
Regardless of the expense or effort involved; by any means.

[Middle English, from Old French, from coster, to cost, from Latin cōnstāre, to be fixed, cost; see constant.]

cost′less adj.


1. the price paid or required for acquiring, producing, or maintaining something, usually measured in money, time, or energy; expense or expenditure; outlay
2. suffering or sacrifice; loss; penalty: count the cost to your health; I know to my cost.
3. (Economics)
a. the amount paid for a commodity by its seller: to sell at cost.
b. (as modifier): the cost price.
4. (Law) (plural) law the expenses of judicial proceedings
5. at any cost at all costs regardless of cost or sacrifice involved
6. at the cost of at the expense of losing
vb, costs, costing or cost
7. (tr) to be obtained or obtainable in exchange for (money or something equivalent); be priced at: the ride cost one pound.
8. to cause or require the expenditure, loss, or sacrifice (of): the accident cost him dearly.
9. (Accounting & Book-keeping) to estimate the cost of (a product, process, etc) for the purposes of pricing, budgeting, control, etc
[C13: from Old French (n), from coster to cost, from Latin constāre to stand at, cost, from stāre to stand]
ˈcostless adj
ˈcostlessly adv


(kɔst, kɒst)

n., v. cost, for 11-13, cost•ed, cost•ing. n.
1. the price paid to acquire, produce, accomplish, or maintain anything.
2. an outlay or expenditure of money, time, etc.
3. a sacrifice, loss, or penalty: to work at the cost of one's health.
4. costs, money awarded to a successful litigant for legal expenses, charged against the unsuccessful litigant.
5. to require the payment of (money or something else of value) in an exchange: That camera cost $200.
6. to entail the loss or injury of: Carelessness costs lives.
7. to entail (effort or inconvenience): Courtesy costs little.
8. to cause to pay or sacrifice: That request will cost us extra work.
9. to estimate or determine the cost of (manufactured articles, new processes, etc.).
10. to estimate or determine costs, as of manufacturing something.
at all costs, regardless of the effort involved; by any means necessary.
[1200–50; Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French co(u)ster < Latin constāre to stand together, be settled, cost]


- Something that costs a particular amount literally "stands at or with" that price, from Latin constare, "to be settled or fixed, stand at a price, cost."
See also related terms for stands.




  1. As cheap as pearls are costly —Robert Browning
  2. Charge like a brain surgeon —Saul Bellow
  3. Cheap as dirt —F. E. Smedley
  4. Cheap as excuses —Anon
  5. Cheap as lies —William Shakespeare
  6. Cheap as old clothes —Horace Walpole
  7. Cheap as old clothes used to be —Elyse Sommer

    An update of Horace Walpole’s simile above, inspired by a change in both economic conditions and the upgraded status of old clothes.

  8. Expensive as building an atomic reactor —Robert Traver
  9. Expensive as Manhattan real estate —Anon
  10. Expensive as sin —Anon



(See also PAYMENT.)

an arm and a leg An exorbitant amount of money; a popular American hyperbole.

bleed See EXTORTION.

for a song Cheaply, inexpensively, at low cost, for little or nothing. A song meaning ‘a trifle or thing of no consequence’ may stem from the supposed retort of Baron Burleigh on being ordered by Elizabeth I to give Edmund Spenser an annuity of 100 pounds for having composed the Faerie Queene:

All this for a song?

In any event, a song as an insignificance dates from Elizabethan times, for Shakespeare uses it in this sense in All’s Well That Ends Well (1601).

for love or money At any price; by any means available. This phrase is most frequently used in the negative expression not for love or money to imply that someone or something is unobtainable at any price—either financial or emotional.

He let me … use … Anglo-Saxon texts not elsewhere to be had for love or money. (Francis March, A Comparative Grammar of the Anglo-Saxon Language, 1870)

highway robbery Exorbitantly or outrageously high prices. The allusion is to highwaymen, the holdup men of yesteryear who roamed the public roads robbing travelers. This expression is often used to express indignation at ridiculously high prices which one is nevertheless forced to pay for lack of an alternative, just as the victims of highwaymen had no choice but to surrender their money and goods at the risk of their lives. The expression has been in figurative use since at least 1920.

Nothing on the wine list … under two-pound-ten. Highway robbery by candlelight. (J. B. Priestley, It’s Old Country, 1967)

pay through the nose To pay an exorbitant price, financially or otherwise, unwittingly or through coercion. Many variations on one story line are cited as sources for this expression. The most popular is that the Danes in the 9th century imposed a “nose tax” on the Irish. Those who neglected to pay were punished by having their noses slit. Some say the Swedes or Norwegians were the oppressors. Others say the Jews rather than the Irish were the oppressed. However, pay through the nose derives from the punishment, irrespective of who inflicted the punishment on whom. The phrase was used as early as 1672 and is commonly heard today, often implying an unawareness or naiveté on the part of the person “paying through the nose.”

pay too dearly for one’s whistle To pay more for some desired object than it is worth; to expend a great deal of time, effort, or money for something which does not come up to one’s expectations; to indulge a whim. This expression is based on Benjamin Franklin’s The Whistle (1799), which tells of his nephew’s wanting a certain whistle so much that he paid its owner four times its value. As soon as the whistle had been acquired, however, it lost its appeal of the unattainable, leaving the boy disappointed with his purchase.

If a man likes to do it he must pay for his whistle. (George Eliot, Daniel Deronda, 1876)


1. 'price' and 'cost'

The price or cost of something is the amount of money you must pay to buy it.

The price of oil doubled in a few months.
They are worried about the rising cost of food.

You can also use cost to refer to the amount of money needed to do or make something.

The cost of raising a child is very high.
The building was recently restored at a cost of £500,000.

Be Careful!
Don't use 'price' in this way. Don't say, for example, 'The price of raising a child is very high.'

2. 'costs'

You use the plural noun costs when you are referring to the total amount of money needed to run something such as a business.

We need to cut our costs in order to make a profit.
Stores have had to raise their prices to cover increased costs.
3. 'cost' used as a verb

You use cost as a verb to talk about the amount of money that you must pay for something.

The dress costs $200.
How much do these new phones cost?

You can use cost with two objects to say how much money someone pays for something on a particular occasion. The past tense and -ed participle of cost is cost.

A two-day stay there cost me $125.
How much did that haircut cost you?

Be Careful!
Don't use 'to' after cost in a sentence like this. Don't say, for example, 'How much did that haircut cost to you?'


Past participle: cost/costed
Gerund: costing

I cost
you cost
he/she/it costs
we cost
you cost
they cost
I cost/costed
you cost/costed
he/she/it cost/costed
we cost/costed
you cost/costed
they cost/costed
Present Continuous
I am costing
you are costing
he/she/it is costing
we are costing
you are costing
they are costing
Present Perfect
I have cost/costed
you have cost/costed
he/she/it has cost/costed
we have cost/costed
you have cost/costed
they have cost/costed
Past Continuous
I was costing
you were costing
he/she/it was costing
we were costing
you were costing
they were costing
Past Perfect
I had cost/costed
you had cost/costed
he/she/it had cost/costed
we had cost/costed
you had cost/costed
they had cost/costed
I will cost
you will cost
he/she/it will cost
we will cost
you will cost
they will cost
Future Perfect
I will have cost/costed
you will have cost/costed
he/she/it will have cost/costed
we will have cost/costed
you will have cost/costed
they will have cost/costed
Future Continuous
I will be costing
you will be costing
he/she/it will be costing
we will be costing
you will be costing
they will be costing
Present Perfect Continuous
I have been costing
you have been costing
he/she/it has been costing
we have been costing
you have been costing
they have been costing
Future Perfect Continuous
I will have been costing
you will have been costing
he/she/it will have been costing
we will have been costing
you will have been costing
they will have been costing
Past Perfect Continuous
I had been costing
you had been costing
he/she/it had been costing
we had been costing
you had been costing
they had been costing
I would cost
you would cost
he/she/it would cost
we would cost
you would cost
they would cost
Past Conditional
I would have cost/costed
you would have cost/costed
he/she/it would have cost/costed
we would have cost/costed
you would have cost/costed
they would have cost/costed
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.cost - the total spent for goods or services including money and time and laborcost - the total spent for goods or services including money and time and labor
expenditure, outgo, outlay, spending - money paid out; an amount spent
disbursal, disbursement, expense - amounts paid for goods and services that may be currently tax deductible (as opposed to capital expenditures)
capital expenditure - the cost of long-term improvements
payment - a sum of money paid or a claim discharged
ransom, ransom money - money demanded for the return of a captured person
cost overrun - excess of cost over budget; "the cost overrun necessitated an additional allocation of funds in the budget"
cost of living - average cost of basic necessities of life (as food and shelter and clothing); "a rise in the cost of living reflects the rate of inflation"
borrowing cost - the cost of borrowing something
distribution cost - any cost incurred by a producer or wholesaler or retailer or distributor (as for advertising and shipping etc)
handling charge, handling cost - the cost of handling (especially the cost of packaging and mailing an order)
marketing cost - the cost of marketing (e.g., the cost of transferring title and moving goods to the customer)
production cost - combined costs of raw material and labor incurred in producing goods
replacement cost - current cost of replacing a fixed asset with a new one of equal effectiveness
physical value, reproduction cost - cost of reproducing physical property minus various allowances (especially depreciation)
unit cost - calculated cost for a given unit of a product
price, terms, damage - the amount of money needed to purchase something; "the price of gasoline"; "he got his new car on excellent terms"; "how much is the damage?"
price - cost of bribing someone; "they say that every politician has a price"
opportunity cost - cost in terms of foregoing alternatives
portage - the cost of carrying or transporting
charge - the price charged for some article or service; "the admission charge"
2.cost - the property of having material worth (often indicated by the amount of money something would bring if sold)cost - the property of having material worth (often indicated by the amount of money something would bring if sold); "the fluctuating monetary value of gold and silver"; "he puts a high price on his services"; "he couldn't calculate the cost of the collection"
value - the quality (positive or negative) that renders something desirable or valuable; "the Shakespearean Shylock is of dubious value in the modern world"
average cost - total cost for all units bought (or produced) divided by the number of units
differential cost, incremental cost, marginal cost - the increase or decrease in costs as a result of one more or one less unit of output
expensiveness - the quality of being high-priced
assessment - the market value set on assets
inexpensiveness - the quality of being affordable
3.cost - value measured by what must be given or done or undergone to obtain somethingcost - value measured by what must be given or done or undergone to obtain something; "the cost in human life was enormous"; "the price of success is hard work"; "what price glory?"
value - the quality (positive or negative) that renders something desirable or valuable; "the Shakespearean Shylock is of dubious value in the modern world"
death toll - the number of deaths resulting from some particular cause such as an accident or a battle or a natural disaster
Verb1.cost - be priced atcost - be priced at; "These shoes cost $100"
be - have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun); "John is rich"; "This is not a good answer"
knock back, put back, set back - cost a certain amount; "My daughter's wedding set me back $20,000"
2.cost - require to lose, suffer, or sacrifice; "This mistake cost him his job"
necessitate, need, require, call for, demand, postulate, involve, ask, take - require as useful, just, or proper; "It takes nerve to do what she did"; "success usually requires hard work"; "This job asks a lot of patience and skill"; "This position demands a lot of personal sacrifice"; "This dinner calls for a spectacular dessert"; "This intervention does not postulate a patient's consent"


1. price, worth, expense, rate, charge, figure, damage (informal), amount, payment, expenditure, outlay The cost of a loaf of bread has increased five-fold.
2. loss, suffering, damage, injury, penalty, hurt, expense, harm, sacrifice, deprivation, detriment a man who always looks after `number one', whatever the cost to others
plural noun
1. expenses, spending, expenditure, overheads, outgoings, outlay, budget The company admits its costs are still too high.
1. sell at, come to, set (someone) back (informal), be priced at, command a price of The course is limited to 12 people and costs £50.
2. lose, deprive of, cheat of The operation saved his life, but cost him his sight.
at all costs no matter what, regardless, whatever happens, at any price, come what may, without fail We must avoid any further delay at all costs.


1. An amount paid or to be paid for a purchase:
Informal: tab.
2. Something expended to obtain a benefit or desired result:
3. A loss sustained in the accomplishment of or as the result of something:
To require a specified price:
تَكْلِفَةساوىسِعْـر، ثَمَـنيُحَدِّد سِعْـر الكلفَـهيُكَلِّفُ
státcenanákladnákladyodhadnout náklady
kerülkikalkulálja az árát
áætla kostnaîkostaverî; kostnaîur
비용비용이 들다
apskaičiuoti išlaidasapskaičiuoti kainąatsieitibet kokia kainabrangumas
mal olmakmaliyetmaliyetini hesaplamaktutmaketmek
chi phíphải trả


A. N
1. (= expense) (often pl) → coste m, costo m (esp LAm); (= amount paid, price) → precio m
at cost (Comm) → a (precio de) coste
at all costs; at any cost; whatever the cost (fig) → cueste lo que cueste, a toda costa
she cared for her elderly mother at great cost to her own freedomcuidó de su madre anciana pagando un precio muy alto a costa de su propia libertad
these are solutions that can be implemented at little costestas son soluciones que pueden ponerse en práctica y que son poco costosas
at the cost of his life/healtha costa de su vida/salud
to bear the cost of (lit) → pagar or correr con los gastos de (fig) → sufrir las consecuencias de
to count the cost of sth/of doing sthpensar en los riesgos de algo/de hacer algo
without counting the costsin pensar en los riesgos
to my costa mis expensas
2. costs
2.1. (Jur) → costas fpl
he was ordered to pay costsse le condenó a pagar las costas
2.2. (= expenses) → gastos mpl
1. (cost (pt, pp)) → costar, valer
it cost £2costó 2 libras
how much does it cost?¿cuánto cuesta?, ¿cuánto vale?, ¿a cuánto está?
what will it cost to have it repaired?¿cuánto va a costar repararlo?
it cost him a lot of moneyle costó mucho dinero
it'll cost youte va a salir caro
it cost him his life/joble costó la vida/el trabajo
it cost me a great deal of time/effortme robó mucho tiempo/me costó mucho esfuerzo
it costs nothing to be politeno cuesta nada ser educado
whatever it costs; cost what it may (also fig) → cueste lo que cueste
to cost the earth it costs the earthcuesta un riñón, cuesta un ojo de la cara
2. (costed (pt, pp)) (Comm) [+ articles for sale] → calcular el coste de; [+ job] → calcular el presupuesto de
the job was costed at £5000se calculó que el coste del trabajo ascendería a 5.000 libras
it has not been properly costedno se ha calculado detalladamente el coste
C. CPD cost accountant Ncontable mf de costes or (esp LAm) costos
cost accounting Ncontabilidad f de costes or (esp LAm) costos
cost analysis Nanálisis m inv de costes or (esp LAm) costos
cost centre Ncentro m (de determinación) de costes or (esp LAm) costos
cost control Ncontrol m de costes or (esp LAm) costos
cost of living Ncoste m or (esp LAm) costo m de la vida
cost-of-living allowancesubsidio m por coste
cost-of-living bonusplus m de carestía de vida, prima f por coste de la vida
cost-of-living increaseincremento m según el coste de la vida
cost-of-living indexíndice m del coste or (LAm) de (la) vida
cost price N (Brit) → precio m de coste or (LAm) costo
at cost pricea precio de coste
cost out VT + ADVpresupuestar


(monetary)coût m
to count the cost of sth (= assess the cost of) → calculer le coût de qch (= assess the consequences of) [+ disaster] → faire le bilan de qch
(fig)prix m
as I know to my cost → comme je l'ai appris à mes dépens
at all costs → coûte que coûte, à tout prix
at any cost → à n'importe quel prix
[cost] (pt, pp) [+ money] → coûter
The meal costs fifteen euros → Le repas coûte quinze euros.
How much does it cost? → Combien ça coûte?
It costs too much → Ça coûte trop cher.
What will it cost to have it repaired? → Combien cela coûtera de le faire réparer?
to cost sb sth
It cost me £10 → Cela m'a coûté dix livres.
It cost them £10 → Cela leur a coûté dix livres.
to cost money (= be expensive) → coûter cher
(fig) to cost sb sth
It cost him his life → Ça lui a coûté la vie.
It cost him his job → Ça lui a coûté son emploi.
It cost them time → Cela leur a pris du temps.
It cost them effort → Cela leur a demandé des efforts.
[costed] [ˈkɒstɪd] (pt, pp) (= estimate cost of) [+ plan, contract] → calculer le coût de; [+ product] → établir le prix de revient de, calculer le prix de revient de costs
[business] → frais mpl
(legal)dépens mplcost accountant nanalyste mf de coûtscost accounting ncomptabilité f analytiqueco-star [ˈkəʊstɑːr]
npartenaire mf
vi [actor] → partager la vedette, partager l'affiche
to co-star with sb → partager la vedette avec qn, partager l'affiche avec qn


vb: pret, ptp <cost>
(lit, fig)kosten; how much does it cost?wie viel kostet es?; how much will it cost to have it repaired?wie viel kostet die Reparatur?; it cost (him) a lot of moneydas hat (ihn) viel Geld gekostet; designer clothes cost moneyDesignerkleidung kostet Geld; driving without a seat belt cost him dearFahren ohne Sicherheitsgurt kam ihn teuer zu stehen; it cost him a great effort/a lot of timees kostete ihn viel Mühe/viel Zeit; that mistake could cost you your lifeder Fehler könnte dich das Leben kosten; cost what it maykoste es, was es wolle; politeness doesn’t cost (you) anythinges kostet (dich) nichts, höflich zu sein; it’ll cost you (inf)das kostet dich was (inf)
pret, ptp <costed> (= work out cost of) project etcveranschlagen
pret, ptp <costed> (Comm: = put a price on) articles for saleauspreisen (at zu)
(lit)Kosten pl(of für); to bear the cost of somethingdie Kosten für etw tragen, für die Kosten von etw aufkommen; the cost of electricity/petrol these daysdie Strom-/Benzinpreise heutzutage; to buy something at great costetw zu einem hohen Preis kaufen; at little cost to oneselfohne große eigene Kosten; to buy something at costetw zum Selbstkostenpreis kaufen; cost containmentKostendämpfung f; cost of manufactureProduktions- or Herstellungskosten pl; cost of salesVerkaufskosten pl
(fig)Preis m; at all costs, at any costum jeden Preis; whatever the costkostet es, was es wolle; at the cost of one’s health/job/marriage etcauf Kosten seiner Gesundheit/Stelle/Ehe etc; at great/little personal costunter großen/geringen eigenen Kosten; he found out to his cost that …er machte die bittere Erfahrung, dass …
costs pl (Jur) → Kosten pl; to be ordered to pay costszur Übernahme der Kosten verurteilt werden


cost accountant
nKostenbuchhalter(in) m(f)
cost accounting
nKalkulation f


cost-benefit analysis
cost centre
nKostenstelle f
cost clerk
nAngestellte(r) mfin der Kostenbuchhaltung
adj (Fin) → kostendeckend
nKostenverringerung f
adj attr cost exercisekostendämpfende Maßnahmen pl
adjrentabel, kosteneffizient (spec)
nRentabilität f, → Kosteneffizienz f (spec)


cost of living
cost-of-living adjustment
cost-of-living bonus
nLebenshaltungskostenzuschlag m
cost-of-living index
adj calculated on a cost basisunter Einbeziehung einer Gewinnspanne berechnet
cost price


1. ncosto (Law) costsspese fpl
to be ordered to pay costs (Law) → essere condannato/a a pagare le spese
cost, insurance and freight (Comm) → costo, assicurazione e nolo
to bear the cost of → sostenere la spesa di
at great cost → a caro prezzo
at cost (price) → a prezzo di costo
at any cost, at all costs (fig) → a tutti i costi, a ogni costo
whatever the cost (fig) → costi quel che costi
to my cost (fig) → a mie spese
at the cost of his life/health → rimettendoci la vita/la salute
2. vt
a. (cost (pt, pp)) → costare
how much does it cost? → quanto costa?, quanto viene?
what will it cost to have it repaired? → quanto costerà farlo riparare?
it cost him a lot of money → gli è costato un sacco di soldi
it costs the earth (fam) → costa un occhio della testa
it cost him his life/job → gli è costato la vita/il lavoro
it cost me a great deal of time/effort → mi è costato molto tempo/molta fatica
it costs nothing to be polite → essere educati non costa nulla
whatever it costs (fig) → costi quel che costi
it costs £5/too much → costa 5 sterline/troppo
b. (costed (pt, pp)) (Comm) → stabilire il prezzo di


(kost) past tense past participle cost verb
1. to be obtainable at a certain price. This jacket costs 75 dollars; The victory cost two thousand lives.
2. (past tense, past participle ˈcosted) to estimate the cost of (a future project). The caterer costed the reception at three hundred dollars.
the price to be paid (for something). What is the cost of this coat?
ˈcostly adjective
costing much. a costly wedding-dress.
ˈcostliness noun
costs noun plural
the expenses of a legal case. He won his case and was awarded costs of $500.
at all costs
no matter what the cost or outcome may be. We must prevent disaster at all costs.


تَكْلِفَة, يُكَلِّفُ náklady, stát koste, pris Kosten κοστίζω, κόστος costar, coste, costo hinta, maksaa coût, coûter koštati, trošak costare, costo かかる, コスト 비용, 비용이 들다 kosten koste, kostnad koszt, kosztować custar, custo стоимость, стоить kosta, kostnad ค่าใช้จ่าย, มีมูลค่า mal olmak, maliyet chi phí, phải trả 成本, 花费


n. coste, costo, precio;
v. costar.


n costo, coste m (Esp); cost-effective costo-efectivo, coste-efectivo; cost-effectiveness costo-efectividad m, coste-efectividad m; cost-saving que ahorra costos or costes
References in periodicals archive ?
During 2003, however, only refinery propylene upgrade and PDH processes showed a positive return on capital employed on a fully costed basis (including depreciation and return on capital employed).
The cost structures in Western Europe and the USGC are too high on a fully costed basis to support steady export into Northeast Asia.