from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An amount paid or required in payment for a purchase; a price.
  • n. 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).
  • n. Law The charges fixed for litigation, often payable by the losing party.
  • intransitive v. To require a specified payment, expenditure, effort, or loss: It costs more to live in the city.
  • transitive v. To have as a price.
  • transitive v. To cause to lose, suffer, or sacrifice: Participating in the strike cost me my job.
  • transitive v. To estimate or determine the cost of: The accountants costed out our expenses.
  • idiom at all costs Regardless of the expense or effort involved; by any means.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Manner; way; means; available course; contrivance.
  • n. Quality; condition; property; value; worth; a wont or habit; disposition; nature; kind; characteristic.
  • n. Amount of money, time, etc. that is required or used.
  • n. A negative consequence or loss that occurs or is required to occur.
  • v. To incur a charge, a price.
  • v. To cause something to be lost.
  • v. To calculate or estimate a value.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A rib; a side; a region or coast.
  • n. See Cottise.
  • n. The amount paid, charged, or engaged to be paid, for anything bought or taken in barter; charge; expense; hence, whatever, as labor, self-denial, suffering, etc., is requisite to secure benefit.
  • n. Loss of any kind; detriment; pain; suffering.
  • n. Expenses incurred in litigation.
  • transitive v. To require to be given, expended, or laid out therefor, as in barter, purchase, acquisition, etc.; to cause the cost, expenditure, relinquishment, or loss of.
  • transitive v. To require to be borne or suffered; to cause.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To require the expenditure of (something valuable) in exchange, purchase, or payment; be of the price of; be acquired in return for: as, it cost five dollars.
  • In general, to require (as a thing or result to be desired) an expenditure of any specified thing, as time or labor; be done or acquired at the expense of, as of pain or loss; occasion or bring on (especially something evil) as a result.
  • n. Manner; way and means.
  • n. Quality; condition; property; value; worth.
  • n. The equivalent or price given for a thing or service exchanged, purchased, or paid for; the amount paid, or engaged to be paid, for some thing or some service: as, the cost of a suit of clothes; the cost of building a house.
  • n. That which is expended; outlay of any kind, as of money, labor, time, or trouble; expense or expenditure in general; specifically, great expense: as, the work was done at public cost.
  • n. plural In law: The sums fixed by law or allowed by the court for charges in a suit, awarded usually against the party losing, and in favor of the party prevailing or his attorney.
  • n. The sum which the law allows to the attorney, to be paid by his client.
  • n. Synonyms and Expense, Worth, etc. See price.
  • n. A rib or side.
  • n. In heraldry, same as cottise.
  • n. Costmary.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the property of having material worth (often indicated by the amount of money something would bring if sold)
  • n. value measured by what must be given or done or undergone to obtain something
  • v. require to lose, suffer, or sacrifice
  • v. be priced at
  • n. the total spent for goods or services including money and time and labor


Middle English, from Old French, from coster, to cost, from Latin cōnstāre, to be fixed, cost; see constant.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English cost, from Old English cost ("option, choice, possibility, manner, way, condition"), from Old Norse kostr ("choice, opportunity, chance, condition, state, quality"), from Proto-Germanic *kustuz (“choice, trial”) (or Proto-Germanic *kustiz (“choice, trial”)), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵéwstus (“to enjoy, taste”). (Wiktionary)
From Middle English cost, coust, from costen ("to cost"), see below. (Wiktionary)
From Middle English costen, from Old French coster, couster ("to cost"), from Medieval Latin costare, from Latin constare ("stand together, stand at, cost"), from com- + stare ("stand"). (Wiktionary)


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