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



    BrE BrE//kɒst//
    ; NAmE NAmE//kɔːst//
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  1. 1  [countable, uncountable] the amount of money that you need in order to buy, make or do something the high/low cost of housing A new computer system has been installed at a cost of £80 000. 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 £3 000. Synonymspricecost 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 £80 000.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 £1 000. 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.Patterns the high price/​cost/​value the real/​true price/​cost/​value/​worth to put/​set a price/​value on something to increase/​reduce the price/​cost/​value/​expense to raise/​double/​lower the price/​cost/​value to cut the price/​cost
  2. 2  costs [plural] the total amount of money that needs to be spent by a business The use of cheap labour helped to keep costs down. to cut/reduce costs running/operating/labour costs We have had to raise our prices because of rising costs. Opinion was divided on the potential costs and benefits of the scheme. Synonymscostsspending expenditure expenses overheads outlay These 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 an 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.Patterns spending/​expenditure/​outlay on something high/​low costs/​spending/​expenditure/​expenses/​overheads total costs/​spending/​expenditure/​expenses/​overheads/​outlay capital costs/​spending/​expenditure/​expenses/​outlay household costs/​spending/​expenditure/​expenses government/​public/​education/​health costs/​spending/​expenditure to increase/​reduce costs/​spending/​expenditure/​expenses/​overheads/​the outlay CollocationsBusinessRunning a business buy/​acquire/​own/​sell a company/​firm/​franchise set up/​establish/​start/​start up/​launch a business/​company run/​operate a business/​company/​franchise head/​run a firm/​department/​team make/​secure/​win/​block a deal expand/​grow/​build the business boost/​increase investment/​spending/​sales/​turnover/​earnings/​exports/​trade increase/​expand production/​output/​sales boost/​maximize production/​productivity/​efficiency/​income/​revenue/​profit/​profitability achieve/​maintain/​sustain growth/​profitability cut/​reduce/​bring down/​lower/​slash costs/​prices announce/​impose/​make cuts/​cutbacksSales and marketing break into/​enter/​capture/​dominate the market gain/​grab/​take/​win/​boost/​lose market share find/​build/​create a market for something start/​launch an advertising/​a marketing campaign develop/​launch/​promote a product/​website create/​generate demand for your product attract/​get/​retain/​help customers/​clients drive/​generate/​boost/​increase demand/​sales beat/​keep ahead of/​out-think/​outperform the competition meet/​reach/​exceed/​miss sales targetsFinance draw up/​set/​present/​agree/​approve a budget keep to/​balance/​cut/​reduce/​slash the budget be/​come in below/​under/​over/​within budget generate income/​revenue/​profit/​funds/​business fund/​finance a campaign/​a venture/​an expansion/​spending/​a deficit provide/​raise/​allocate capital/​funds attract/​encourage investment/​investors recover/​recoup costs/​losses/​an investment get/​obtain/​offer somebody/​grant somebody credit/​a loan apply for/​raise/​secure/​arrange/​provide financeFailure lose business/​trade/​customers/​sales/​revenue accumulate/​accrue/​incur/​run up debts suffer/​sustain enormous/​heavy/​serious losses face cuts/​a deficit/​redundancy/​bankruptcy file for/ (North American English) enter/​avoid/​escape bankruptcy (British English) go into administration/​liquidation liquidate/​wind up a company survive/​weather a recession/​downturn propose/​seek/​block/​oppose a merger launch/​make/​accept/​defeat a takeover bid
  3. 3  [uncountable, singular] the effort, loss or damage that is involved in order to do or achieve something the terrible cost of the war in death and suffering the environmental cost of nuclear power She 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. 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 case He was ordered to pay £2 000 costs.
  5. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French coust (noun), couster (verb), based on Latin constare ‘stand firm, stand at a price’.Extra examples A total of 3.6 million tickets at an average cost of $58 are available for the Games. Allow €100 per day to cover the cost of meals. Both sides incurred costs of over $50 000. Competition will drive the price down near to the marginal cost. Contractors can now be required to carry the cost of delays. Delegates receive allowances to meet the cost of travel. Do the benefits outweigh the costs? Fixed costs include rent. He was fined £200 and ordered to pay costs. I would put the cost of a new employee at $80 000 a year. If you win your case you will normally be awarded costs. Inflation is pushing up the cost of living beyond our reach. It is essential that we operate with the lowest possible cost base and most efficient facilities. Now people can access the Internet at minimal cost. She saved him from the fire but at the cost of her own life. She was unwilling to pay the extra cost to get a room to herself. The capital cost of these projects is some $100 million—then there’ll be the operating costs. The company has to find ways of cutting costs. The company’s costs have risen over the last 5 years. The corporation will pay all costs and expenses incurred with its written consent. The cost of dental treatment is increasing. The cost of living has risen sharply in the last year. The cost of repairs would be prohibitive. The cost to the government will be quite high. The country has suffered the enormous cost of trade sanctions. The entire project carries a cost of $2 million. The high cost of energy was a problem for consumers. The hotel offers tea and coffee at no extra cost. The raid was foiled, but at a cost: an injured officer who was lucky to escape with his life. The raid was foiled, but at a cost: an injured officer who was lucky to survive. The town is now counting the cost of its failure to provide adequate flood protection. The victory was achieved at great cost to the country’s infrastrucure. There were cost overruns on each project. They advanced a few hundred metres, but at a heavy cost in life. We’re hoping that we’ll at least cover costs at the conference. What is the current replacement cost of these assets? You can spread the cost of your loan repayment over 10 years. You must stop the press finding out at all costs. You will have to bear the full cost of the building work. research and development costs the cost per day for an electrician the costs and benefits of this strategy the costs associated with buying and selling property the pursuit of cost reduction The total cost to you is £3 000. The true cost of running a car is much greater than just the price of the petrol you use. sharp rises in the cost of livingIdioms whatever is needed to achieve something You must stop the press from finding out at all costs. under any circumstances He is determined to win at any 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
    count the cost (of something)
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    to feel the bad effects of a mistake, an accident, etc. The town is now counting the cost of its failure to provide adequate flood protection.
    know/learn/find something to your cost
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    to know something because of something unpleasant that has happened to you He's a ruthless businessman, as I know to my cost.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: cost