Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

cost - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun     cost pronunciation in American English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    [countable/uncountable] the amount of money that is needed in order to buy, pay for, or do something
    the cost of doing something:

    The cost of rebuilding the theater will be $13 million.

    at a cost of:

    We’re organizing a trip to New York, at a cost of $300 per person.

    cost to:

    This scheme helps homeless people at no cost to the taxpayer.

    cover the cost of something (=be enough to pay for something):

    We need money to cover the cost of heating.

    cost of:

    A rise in interest rates will increase the cost of borrowing.

    Synonyms and related words
  2. 2
    [countable/uncountable] damage or loss that is caused to something good or worth having
    cost of:

    the serious environmental costs of the new road network

    cost to:

    They decided to divorce, whatever the cost to their children.

    at a cost of:

    The plant closed down at a cost of over 1,000 jobs.

    the social/human costs of something:

    the social costs of unemployment

  3. 3


    [plural] money that an individual or organization must spend regularly on things like electricity, rent, and travel
    cut/reduce costs:

    New technology has helped us to cut costs.

    Synonyms and related words
    1. a.
      all the money that a business must spend to produce something or to provide a service

      At these prices, we are not even covering our costs.

      Synonyms and related words
    See also operating costs
  4. 4


    [plural] legal money that someone involved in a court case must give in order to help to pay for the lawyers and the court, usually after they have lost the case

    He was ordered to pay a fine of $500 plus $250 costs.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

deep learning

a form of machine learning which incorporates the use of neural networks

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

snap election

a general election … that is called earlier than expected

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play