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

  • n. Something spent to attain a goal or accomplish a purpose: an expense of time and energy on the project.
  • n. A loss for the sake of something gained; a sacrifice: achieved speed at the expense of accuracy.
  • n. An expenditure of money; a cost: an improvement that was well worth the expense; a trip with all expenses paid.
  • n. Charges incurred by an employee in the performance of work: was reimbursed for her travel expenses.
  • n. Informal Money allotted for payment of such charges.
  • n. Something requiring the expenditure of money: Redecorating the house will be a considerable expense.
  • n. Archaic The act of expending.
  • transitive v. To charge with expenses.
  • transitive v. To write off as an expense.
  • idiom at (one's) expense To one's detriment or chagrin: telling jokes at my expense.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A spending or consuming. Often specifically an act of disbursing or spending funds.
  • n. That which is expended, laid out, or consumed. Sometimes with the notion of loss or damage to those on whom the expense falls.
  • n. Loss.
  • v. To charge a cost against an expense account; to bill something to the company for which one works.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A spending or consuming; disbursement; expenditure.
  • n. That which is expended, laid out, or consumed; cost; outlay; charge; -- sometimes with the notion of loss or damage to those on whom the expense falls.
  • n. Loss.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A laying out or expending; the disbursing of money; employment and consumption, as of time or labor; expenditure.
  • n. Specifically Great or undue expenditure; prodigality.
  • n. That which is expended, laid out, or consumed; especially, money expended; cost; charge: as, a prudent man limits his expenses by his income.
  • n. Cost through diminution or deterioration; damage or loss from any detracting cause, especially a moral one: preceded by at: as, he did this at the expense of his character.
  • To charge or debit with an item of incurred expense to be collected from the proper party and accounted for by the chargee: used chiefly in dealings between express or railway companies or their agencies.

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

  • n. a detriment or sacrifice
  • n. money spent to perform work and usually reimbursed by an employer
  • v. reduce the estimated value of something
  • n. amounts paid for goods and services that may be currently tax deductible (as opposed to capital expenditures)


Middle English, from Anglo-Norman, from Latin (pecūnia) expēnsa, (money) paid out, feminine past participle of expendere, to pay out; see expend.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin expensa, or expensum, from expensus, past participle of expendere. See expend. (Wiktionary)



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