from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Of high price or value; expensive.
  • adjective Entailing loss or sacrifice.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Of great price; acquired, done, or practised at much cost, as of money, time, trouble, etc.; expensive; rich; occasioning great expense or expenditure: as, a costly habit; costly furniture; costly vices.
  • Lavish; extravagant.
  • Synonyms Precious, etc. See valuable.
  • In a costly manner; expensively; richly; gorgeously.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Of great cost; expensive; dear.
  • adjective Poetic. Gorgeous; sumptuous.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Of high cost; expensive.

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

  • adjective entailing great loss or sacrifice
  • adjective having a high price


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Composition: cost +‎ -ly


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  • To have devised

    a Theory of Evolution, yet

    to imagine we remain somehow outside

    its sensible advance, has been our costly

    luxury up till now...

    - Peter Reading, The Con Men, from Nothing for Anyone, 1977

    June 26, 2008