loss (lôs, lŏs)
1. The act or an instance of losing: nine losses during the football season.
a. One that is lost: wrote their flooded house off as a loss.
b. The condition of being deprived or bereaved of something or someone: Her loss was made easier by the support of her friends.
c. The amount of something lost: selling at a 50 percent loss.
3. The harm or suffering caused by losing or being lost: The doctor's retirement is a great loss to the community.
4. losses People lost in wartime; casualties.
5. Destruction: The war caused incalculable loss.
6. Electricity The power decrease caused by resistance in a circuit, circuit element, or device.
7. The amount of a claim on an insurer by an insured.
at a loss
1. Below cost: sold the merchandise at a loss.
2. Perplexed; puzzled: I am at a loss to understand those remarks.
[Middle English los, from Old English; see LOSE.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. 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.