1. An amount paid or required in payment for a purchase; a price.
2. 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).
3. costs Law Charges incurred in bringing litigation, including court fees and charges that may be payable by the losing party, but usually not including attorneys' fees.
v. cost, cost·ing, costs
To require a specified payment, expenditure, effort, or loss: It costs more to live in the city.
1. To have as a price.
2. To cause to lose, suffer, or sacrifice: Participating in the strike cost me my job.
3. past tense and past participle costed To estimate or determine the cost of: The accountants costed out our expenses.
at all costs
Regardless of the expense or effort involved; by any means.
[Middle English, from Old French, from coster, to cost, from Latin cōnstāre, to be fixed, cost; see CONSTANT.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.