American English

Definition of expense noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary

      

    expense

     noun
    noun
    NAmE//ɪkˈspɛns//
     
     
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  1. 1 [uncountable] the money that you spend on something The yard was landscaped at great expense. No expense was spared (= they spent as much money as was needed) to make the wedding perfect. He's arranged everything,no expense spared. She always travels first-class, regardless of expense. The results are well worth the expense. Thesauruspricecost 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 a service:house prices These shoes 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 $180,000.value how much something is worth in money or other goods for which it can be exchanged:Sports cars tend to hold their value well. Value can also mean how much something is worth compared with its price:This restaurant is an excellent value (= is worth the money it costs).price, cost, or value?The price is what someone 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 changing jobs The house now has a market value of one million dollars.expense the money that you spend on something; something that makes you spend money:The garden was expanded at great expense. Owning a car is a major expense.worth the financial value of someone or 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 [countable, usually singular] something that makes you spend money Having a car is a big expense.
  3. 3expenses [plural] money spent in doing a particular job, or for a particular purpose living/household/medical/legal, etc. expenses Can I give you something toward expenses? financial help to meet the expenses of an emergency The payments he gets barely cover his expenses. Thesauruscostsspending expenditure expenses overhead (costs) 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:labor/production costs rising costsspending the amount of money that is spent, especially by a government or an organization:public spending The governor promised more spending on public health programs.expenditure (somewhat 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, that your employer will pay back to you later:legal expenses travel expensesoverhead (costs) the regular costs of running a business or organization, such as rent, electricity, and wages:High overhead means 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/overhead (costs) total costs/spending/expenditure/expenses/overhead (costs)/outlay capital costs/spending/expenditure/expenses/outlay household costs/spending/expenditure/expenses government/public/education/health costs/spending/expenditure to increase/reduce/bring down costs/spending/expenditure/expenses/overhead (costs)/the outlay
  4. 4 expenses [plural] money that you spend while you are working that your employer will pay back to you later You can claim back your travel/entertainment expenses. an all-expenses-paid trip Thesauruscostsspending expenditure expenses overhead (costs) 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:labor/production costs rising costsspending the amount of money that is spent, especially by a government or an organization:public spending The governor promised more spending on public health programs.expenditure (somewhat 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, that your employer will pay back to you later:legal expenses travel expensesoverhead (costs) the regular costs of running a business or organization, such as rent, electricity, and wages:High overhead means 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/overhead (costs) total costs/spending/expenditure/expenses/overhead (costs)/outlay capital costs/spending/expenditure/expenses/outlay household costs/spending/expenditure/expenses government/public/education/health costs/spending/expenditure to increase/reduce/bring down costs/spending/expenditure/expenses/overhead (costs)/the outlay
  5. Idioms
      at somebody's expense
       
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    1. 1 paid for by someone We were taken out for dinner at the company's expense.
    2. 2if you make a joke at someone's expense, you laugh at them and make them feel silly
    at the expense of somebody/something
     
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    with loss or damage to someone or something He built up the business at the expense of his health. an education system that benefits bright children at the expense of those who are slower to learn
    go to the expense of something/of doing something, go to a lot of, etc. expense
     
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    to spend money on something They went to a lot of expense to renovate the house, and then they moved.
    put somebody to the expense of something/of doing something, put somebody to a lot of, etc. expense
     
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    to make someone spend money on something Their visit put us to a lot of expense.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: expense