at the expense of


cost or charge: the expense of a good meal.
a cause or occasion of spending: A car can be a great expense.
the act of expending; expenditure.
charges incurred during a business assignment or trip.
money paid as reimbursement for such charges: to receive a salary and expenses.
verb (used with object), expensed, expensing.
to charge or write off as an expense.
verb (used without object), expensed, expensing.
to be expensed.
at the expense of, at the sacrifice of; to the detriment of: quantity at the expense of quality.

1350–1400; Middle English < Late Latin expēnsa, noun use of feminine of expēnsus, past participle of expendere to expend

expenseless, adjective
preexpense, noun

1. outlay, expenditure. See price. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
expense (ɪkˈspɛns)
1.  a particular payment of money; expenditure
2.  money needed for individual purchases; cost; charge
3.  (plural) incidental money spent in the performance of a job, commission, etc, usually reimbursed by an employer or allowable against tax
4.  something requiring money for its purchase or upkeep: the car was more of an expense than he had expected
5.  at the expense of to the detriment of: he succeeded at the expense of his health
6.  (US), (Canadian) (tr) to treat as an expense for book-keeping or tax purposes
[C14: from Late Latin expēnsa, from Latin expēnsus weighed out; see expend]

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

late 14c., from Anglo-Fr. expense, O.Fr. espense "money provided for expenses," from L.L. expensa "disbursement, outlay, expense," prop. neut. pl. pp. of L. expendere "to weigh out money, to pay down" (see expend). Related: Expenses. Latin spensa also yielded M.L. spe(n)sa,
whose sense specialized to "outlay for provisions," then "provisions, food," which was borrowed into O.H.G. as spisa and is the root of Ger. Speise "food," now mostly meaning prepared food, and speisen "to eat."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

at the expense of

Also, at one's expense.

  1. Paid for by someone, as in The hotel bill for the sales force is at the expense of the company. [Mid-1600s]

  2. To the detriment or injury of a person or thing, as in We can't speed up production at the expense of quality, or The laughter was all at Tom's expense. [Late 1600s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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