1 noun
1 MONEY PAID (C) the amount of money that you have to pay in order to buy, do, or produce something: I'll give you $15 to cover the cost of the gas. | at a cost of: The new building's going up at a cost of $82 million. | high/low cost: a low cost source of electric power | full cost: If no scholarships or other aid are available, students will have to pay the full cost of their education. | cost of living (=the cost of buying all the food, clothes etc that you need to live): The cost of living rose two percent in the last year. | at no extra cost: A cassette/radio is included at no extra cost.
2 LOSS/DAMAGE (C, U) something that you lose, give away, damage etc in order to achieve something: at (a) cost to: Duncan always puts Hannah's needs before his own, at considerable cost to himself. | whatever the cost (=no matter how much work, money, risk etc is needed): He's determined to win, whatever the cost. | at all costs (=whatever happens): We must avoid a scandal at all costs.
3 costs (plural)
a) the money that you must regularly spend in order to continue having a home, car, business etc: increase costs: Businesses protested that the new taxes would increase production costs unreasonably. | reduce/cut costs: We've got to cut costs and we're starting with the phone bill. | cover costs (=make enough money to pay for the things you have bought): At this rate we'll barely cover our costs. | running costs (=the cost of owning and using a car or machine): Because of the engine's efficiency the car has very low running costs.
b) costs also court costs AmE the money that you must pay to lawyers etc if you are involved in a legal case in court, especially if you are guilty: Bellisario won the case and was awarded costs.
4 PRICE PAID (singular) especially AmE the price that someone pays for something that they are going to sell; cost price: at cost: His uncle's a car dealer and let him buy the car at cost.
5 find/know/learn etc sth to your cost to realize something is true because you have had a very unpleasant experience: Driving fast in wet conditions is dangerous, as my brother discovered to his cost!
-see also: count the cost count 1 (9) USAGE NOTE: COST WORD CHOICE: price, cost, charge, fare, fees, rent, rental When you are talking about the money you need to buy a particular thing, the usual word is price: The price of a CD/piece of land/packet of cigarettes/cauliflower. Cost (n) is like price, but is used less for objects, and more for services or activities: the cost of having the house painted/going on holiday. It is also used for general things: the cost of living (NOT of life) the cost of food | the cost of production/postage (NOT ... for postage). The cost of something may be high or low but not free or expensive. The amount of money you pay for something is what it costs (v) you: How much did this CD cost you? | It cost $1000 to have the house painted. Things may cost a lot but not cost high/expensive. The person who is selling the goods or services to you charges you for them: How much did he charge you for mending the car/for that CD? A charge (n) is a sum of money asked, especially for allowing someone to do something or for a service: There will be a small charge for admission to the museum/for reconnecting your gas supply. A charge for travelling on a plane, train, bus etc. is the fare. The charge for professional services, for a course etc is the fees (plural). The charge for living in someone else's room or house for some time is the rent. In a hotel, however, you pay the price of the room. The charge when you rent/hire a car etc is the rental. GRAMMAR Remember that the past tense and past participle of cost is cost, not costed:: This trip has cost her a fortune. 2 verb
1 PRICE past tense and past participle cost (linking verb) to have a particular price: Buy one of your own - they don't cost much. | cost (sb) sth: How much did the work cost you? | cost a (small) fortune/the earth (=cost a lot of money): The meal cost a small fortune, but it was well worth it. | cost a bomb BrE (=cost a lot of money): What a fantastic dress. It must have cost a bomb!
2 cost sb their job/life/marriage etc to do something that makes you lose your job etc: Joe's brave action cost him his life.
3 it will cost you spoken used to say that something will be expensive: Tickets are still available, but they'll cost you!
4 CALCULATE COST past tense and past participle costed (transitive usually passive) to calculate the cost of something or decide how much something should cost: We'll get the plan costed before presenting it to the board.
5 cost an arm and a leg/cost a pretty penny to have a price that is too high: We'd like to send the children to private school but it would cost us an arm and a leg.
6 cost sb dear/dearly to make someone suffer a lot: The delay in sending our report cost us dearly because it meant we lost the contract.
7 sth costs money spoken used to remind or warn someone that they should be careful because something is expensive: Don't leave your sneakers in the rain! Shoes cost money, you know.

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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