at a loss

loss

[laws, los]
noun
1.
detriment, disadvantage, or deprivation from failure to keep, have, or get: to bear the loss of a robbery.
2.
something that is lost: The painting was the greatest loss from the robbery.
3.
an amount or number lost: The loss of life increased each day.
4.
the state of being deprived of or of being without something that one has had: the loss of old friends.
5.
death, or the fact of being dead: to mourn the loss of a grandparent.
6.
the accidental or inadvertent losing of something dropped, misplaced, stolen, etc.: to discover the loss of a document.
7.
a losing by defeat; failure to win: the loss of a bet.
8.
failure to make good use of something, as time; waste.
9.
failure to preserve or maintain: loss of engine speed at high altitudes.
10.
destruction or ruin: the loss of a ship by fire.
11.
a thing or a number of related things that are lost or destroyed to some extent: Most buildings in the burned district were a total loss.
12.
Military.
a.
the losing of soldiers by death, capture, etc.
b.
Often, losses. the number of soldiers so lost.
13.
Insurance. occurrence of an event, as death or damage of property, for which the insurer makes indemnity under the terms of a policy.
14.
Electricity. a measure of the power lost in a system, as by conversion to heat, expressed as a relation between power input and power output, as the ratio of or difference between the two quantities.
Idioms
15.
at a loss,
a.
at less than cost; at a financial loss.
b.
in a state of bewilderment or uncertainty; puzzled; perplexed: We are completely at a loss for an answer to the problem.

Origin:
before 900; Middle English; Old English los destruction; cognate with Old Norse los looseness, breaking up. See lose, loose

preloss, noun

loose, loosen, lose, loss.


4. privation, deprivation.


1. gain.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To at a loss
Collins
World English Dictionary
loss (lɒs)
 
n
1.  the act or an instance of losing
2.  the disadvantage or deprivation resulting from losing: a loss of reputation
3.  the person, thing, or amount lost: a large loss
4.  (plural) military personnel lost by death or capture
5.  (sometimes plural) the amount by which the costs of a business transaction or operation exceed its revenue
6.  a measure of the power lost in an electrical system expressed as the ratio of or difference between the input power and the output power
7.  insurance
 a.  an occurrence of something that has been insured against, thus giving rise to a claim by a policyholder
 b.  the amount of the resulting claim
8.  at a loss
 a.  uncertain what to do; bewildered
 b.  rendered helpless (for lack of something): at a loss for words
 c.  at less than the cost of buying, producing, or maintaining (something): the business ran at a loss for several years
 
[C14: noun probably formed from lost, past participle of losen to perish, from Old English lōsian to be destroyed, from los destruction]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Etymonline
Word Origin & History

loss
O.E. los "loss, destruction," from P.Gmc. *lausam- (see lose). The modern word, however, probably evolved 14c. from lost, the original pp. of lose. Phrase at a loss (1592) originally refers to hounds losing the scent. To cut one's losses is from 1912.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang Dictionary

loss

n. Something (not a person) that loses; a situation in which something is losing. Emphatic forms include `moby loss', and `total loss', `complete loss'. Common interjections are "What a loss!" and "What a moby loss!" Note that `moby loss' is OK even though **`moby loser' is not used; applied to an abstract noun, moby is simply a magnifier, whereas when applied to a person it implies substance and has positive connotations. Compare lossage.
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

at a loss

  1. Below cost, as in The store was doing so badly that it was selling merchandise at a loss.

  2. Puzzled, perplexed, in a state of uncertainty, as in When his letters were returned unopened, John was at a loss as to what to do next. This usage was originally applied to hounds who had lost the scent or track of their prey. [Mid-1600s]

  3. at a loss for words. Unable or uncertain as to what to say. For example, Father's tirade left us all at a loss for words. [Late 1600s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature
FAVORITES
RECENT

;