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[ik-spens] /ɪkˈspɛns/
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.
  1. charges incurred during a business assignment or trip.
  2. 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.
Origin of expense
1350-1400; Middle English < Late Latin expēnsa, noun use of feminine of expēnsus, past participle of expendere to expend
Related forms
expenseless, adjective
preexpense, noun
1. outlay, expenditure. See price. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for expenses
  • Small business owners are accustomed to thinking about revenue and expenses in terms of minimizing taxable income.
  • If the business portion is only secondary, then only the direct business expenses are deductible and not the cost of the trip.
  • He is thinking small to keep his vision intact and his expenses down.
  • Plus it would cut the size, water use of condensers, a good size part of generating expenses plus power users.
  • Besides, my company promised to pick up our relocation expenses.
  • But a look at its itemized expenses shows some of the ways costs can start to pile up.
  • Employment offers include funds for moving expenses.
  • Probably worth having but not much surplus is left after the travel expenses are paid for.
  • The funds beat after expenses and after having to hold some in cash for redemptions.
  • Those unplanned expenses are not included in the budget, so it amounts to new debt.
British Dictionary definitions for expenses


a particular payment of money; expenditure
money needed for individual purchases; cost; charge
(pl) incidental money spent in the performance of a job, commission, etc, usually reimbursed by an employer or allowable against tax
something requiring money for its purchase or upkeep: the car was more of an expense than he had expected
at the expense of, to the detriment of: he succeeded at the expense of his health
(transitive) (US & Canadian) to treat as an expense for book-keeping or tax purposes
Word Origin
C14: from Late Latin expēnsa, from Latin expēnsus weighed out; see expend
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for expenses

"charges incurred in the discharge of duty," late 14c. See expense (n.).



late 14c., from Anglo-French expense, Old French espense "money provided for expenses," from Late Latin expensa "disbursement, outlay, expense," noun use of neuter plural past participle of Latin expendere "to weigh out money, to pay down" (see expend).

Latin spensa also yielded Medieval Latin spe(n)sa, whose sense specialized to "outlay for provisions," then "provisions, food," which was borrowed into Old High German as spisa and is the root of German Speise "food," now mostly meaning prepared food, and speisen "to eat."


1909, from expense (n.). Related: Expensed; expensing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with expenses
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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