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

  • intransitive verb To be unsuccessful in retaining possession of; mislay.
  • intransitive verb To be deprived of (something one has had).
  • intransitive verb To be left alone or desolate because of the death of.
  • intransitive verb To be unable to keep alive.
  • intransitive verb To be unable to keep control or allegiance of.
  • intransitive verb To fail to win; fail in.
  • intransitive verb To fail to use or take advantage of.
  • intransitive verb To fail to hear, see, or understand.
  • intransitive verb To let (oneself) become unable to find the way.
  • intransitive verb To remove (oneself), as from everyday reality into a fantasy world.
  • intransitive verb To rid oneself of.
  • intransitive verb To consume aimlessly; waste.
  • intransitive verb To wander from or become ignorant of.
  • intransitive verb To elude or outdistance.
  • intransitive verb To be outdistanced by.
  • intransitive verb To become slow by (a specified amount of time). Used of a timepiece.
  • intransitive verb To cause or result in the loss of.
  • intransitive verb To cause to be destroyed. Usually used in the passive.
  • intransitive verb To cause to be damned.
  • intransitive verb To suffer loss.
  • intransitive verb To be defeated.
  • intransitive verb To operate or run slow. Used of a timepiece.
  • idiom (lose it) To become very angry or emotionally upset.
  • idiom (lose it) To become deranged or mentally disturbed.
  • idiom (lose it) To become less capable or proficient; decline.
  • idiom (lose out on) To miss (an opportunity, for example).
  • idiom (lose time) To operate too slowly. Used of a timepiece.
  • idiom (lose time) To delay advancement.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To praise.
  • A Middle English form of loose.
  • To miss from present possession or knowledge; part with or be parted from by misadventure; fail to keep, as something that one owns, or is in charge of or concerned for, or would keep.
  • To be dispossessed, deprived, or bereaved of; be prevented or debarred from keeping, holding, or retaining; be parted from without wish or consent: as, to lose money by speculation; to lose blood by a wound; to lose one's hair by sickness; to lose a friend by death.
  • To cease to have; part with through change of condition or relations; be rid of or disengaged from.
  • To fail to preserve or maintain: as, to lose one's reputation or reason; to lose credit.
  • To fail to gain or win; fail to grasp or secure; miss; let slip: as, to lose an opportunity; to lose a prize, a game, or a battle.
  • To let slip or escape from observation, perception, etc.: as, I lost what he was saying, from inattention; we lost the ship in the fog.
  • To fail to profit by; miss the use, advantage, or enjoyment of; waste.
  • To cause to miss or be deprived of; subject to the loss of: as, his slowness lost him the chance.
  • To displace, dislodge, or expel.
  • To give over to ruin, disgrace, or shame: chiefly in the past participle.
  • To be bewildered; have the thoughts or reason hopelessly perplexed or confused.
  • To become abstracted or fall into a reverie; become absorbed in thought; lose consciousness, as in slumber.
  • To suffer loss or deprivation.
  • To incur forfeit in a contest; fail to win.
  • To succumb; fail; suffer by comparison.
  • noun The act of losing; loss.


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

[Middle English losen, from Old English losian, to perish, from los, loss; see leu- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English losian


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word lose.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.