Definition of cost noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



; kɔːst
1 [countable, uncountable] the amount of money that you need in order to buy, make or do somethingthe high/low cost of housingA new computer system has been installed at a cost of £80000.The plan had to be abandoned on grounds of cost.We did not even make enough money to cover the cost of the food.Consumers will have to bear the full cost of these pay increases.The total cost to you (= the amount you have to pay) is £3000.2 costs [plural] the total amount of money that needs to be spent by a businessThe use of cheap labour helped to keep costs cut/reduce costsrunning/operating/labour costsWe have had to raise our prices because of rising costs.Opinion was divided on the potential costs and benefits of the scheme.3 [uncountable, singular] the effort, loss or damage that is involved in order to do or achieve somethingthe terrible cost of the war in death and sufferingthe environmental cost of nuclear powerShe saved him from the fire but at the cost of her own life (= she died).He worked non-stop for three months, at considerable cost to his health.I felt a need to please people, whatever the cost in time and energy.4 costs (North American English also court costs) [plural] the sum of money that somebody is ordered to pay for lawyers, etc. in a legal caseHe was ordered to pay £2000 costs.

at all cost/costs

whatever is needed to achieve something
You must stop the press from finding out at all costs.

at any cost

under any circumstances
He is determined to win at any cost.

at cost

for only the amount of money that is needed to make or get something, without any profit being added on
goods sold at cost

know/learn/find something to your cost

to know something because of something unpleasant that has happened to you
He's a ruthless businessman, as I know to my cost.
more at count the cost at count v.Usage noteUsage note: BusinessRunning a businessbuy/acquire/own/sell a company/firm/franchiseset up/establish/ start/start up/launch a business/companyrun/operate a business/company/franchisehead/run a firm/department/teammake/secure/win/block a dealexpand/grow/build the businessboost/increase investment/spending/sales/turnover/earnings/exports/tradeincrease/expand production/output/salesboost/maximize production/productivity/efficiency/income/revenue/profit/profitabilityachieve/maintain/sustain growth/profitabilitycut/reduce/bring down/lower/slash costs/pricesannounce/impose/make cuts/cutbacksSales and marketingbreak into/enter/capture/dominate the marketgain/grab/take/win/boost/lose market sharefind/build/create a market for somethingstart/launch an advertising/a marketing campaigndevelop/launch/promote a product/websitecreate/generate demand for your productattract/get/retain/help customers/clientsdrive/generate/boost/increase demand/salesbeat/keep ahead of/out-think/outperform the competitionmeet/reach/exceed/miss sales targetsFinancedraw up/set/present/agree/approve a budgetkeep to/balance/cut/reduce/slash the budgetbe/come in below/under/over/within budgetgenerate income/revenue/profit/funds/businessfund/finance a campaign/a venture/an expansion/spending/a deficitprovide/raise/allocate capital/fundsattract/encourage investment/investorsrecover/recoup costs/losses/an investmentget/obtain/offer somebody/grant somebody credit/a loanapply for/raise/secure/arrange/provide financeFailurelose business/trade/customers/sales/revenueaccumulate/accrue/incur/run up debtssuffer/sustain enormous/heavy/serious lossesface cuts/a deficit/redundancy/bankruptcyfile for/(North American English) enter/avoid/escape bankruptcy(British English) go into administration/liquidationliquidate/wind up a companysurvive/weather a recession/downturnpropose/seek/block/oppose a mergerlaunch/make/accept/defeat a takeover bidUsage noteUsage note: pricecost value expense worthThese words all refer to the amount of money that you have to pay for something.price the amount of money that you have to pay for an item or service:house prices How much are these? They don't have a price on them. I can't afford it at that price.cost the amount of money that you need in order to buy, make or do something:A new computer system has been installed at a cost of £80000.value how much something is worth in money or other goods for which it can be exchanged:The winner will receive a prize to the value of £1000. Especially in British English, value can also mean how much something is worth compared with its price:This restaurant is excellent value (= is worth the money it costs).price, cost or value?The price is what somebody asks you to pay for an item or service:to ask/charge a high price to ask/charge a high cost/value. Obtaining or achieving something may have a cost; the value of something is how much other people would be willing to pay for it:house prices the cost of moving house The house now has a market value of one million pounds.expense the money that you spend on something; something that makes you spend money:The garden was transformed at great expense. Running a car is a big expense.worth the financial value of somebody/something:He has a personal net worth of $10 million. Worth is more often used to mean the practical or moral value of something.the high price/cost/valuethe real/true price/cost/value/worthto put/set a price/value on somethingto increase/reduce the price/cost/value/expenseto raise/double/lower the price/cost/valueto cut the price/costUsage noteUsage note: costsspending expenditure expenses overheads outlayThese are all words for money spent by a government, an organization or a person.costs the total amount of money that needs to be spent by a business:labour/production costs rising costsspending the amount of money that is spent, especially by a government or an organization:public spending More spending on health was promised.expenditure (rather formal) an amount of money spent by a government, an organization or a person:expenditure on educationexpenses money that has to be spent by a person or an organization; money that you spend while you are working which your employer will pay back to you later:legal expenses travel expensesoverhead(s) the regular costs of running a business or organization, such as rent, electricity and wages:High overheads mean small profit margins.outlay the money that you have to spend in order to start a new business or project, or in order to save yourself money or time later:The best equipment is costly but is well worth the outlay.spending/expenditure/outlay on somethinghigh/low costs/spending/expenditure/expenses/overheadstotal costs/spending/expenditure/expenses/overheads/outlaycapital costs/spending/expenditure/expenses/outlayhousehold costs/spending/expenditure/expensesgovernment/public/education/health costs/spending/expenditureto increase/reduce costs/spending/expenditure/expenses/overheads/the outlay