follow Dictionary.com

It’s about time. We are now on Instagram!

lose

[looz] /luz/
verb (used with object), lost, losing.
1.
to come to be without (something in one's possession or care), through accident, theft, etc., so that there is little or no prospect of recovery:
I'm sure I've merely misplaced my hat, not lost it.
2.
to fail inadvertently to retain (something) in such a way that it cannot be immediately recovered:
I just lost a dime under this sofa.
3.
to suffer the deprivation of:
to lose one's job; to lose one's life.
4.
to be bereaved of by death:
to lose a sister.
5.
to fail to keep, preserve, or maintain:
to lose one's balance; to lose one's figure.
6.
(of a clock or watch) to run slower by:
The watch loses three minutes a day.
7.
to give up; forfeit the possession of:
to lose a fortune at the gaming table.
8.
to get rid of:
to lose one's fear of the dark; to lose weight.
9.
to bring to destruction or ruin (usually used passively):
Ship and crew were lost.
10.
to condemn to hell; damn.
11.
to have slip from sight, hearing, attention, etc.:
to lose him in the crowd.
12.
to stray from or become ignorant of (one's way, directions, etc.):
to lose one's bearings.
13.
to leave far behind in a pursuit, race, etc.; outstrip:
She managed to lose the other runners on the final lap of the race.
14.
to use to no purpose; waste:
to lose time in waiting.
15.
to fail to have, get, catch, etc.; miss:
to lose a bargain.
16.
to fail to win (a prize, stake, etc.):
to lose a bet.
17.
to be defeated in (a game, lawsuit, battle, etc.):
He has lost very few cases in his career as a lawyer.
18.
to cause the loss of:
The delay lost the battle for them.
19.
to let (oneself) go astray, miss the way, etc.:
We lost ourselves in the woods.
20.
to allow (oneself) to become absorbed or engrossed in something and oblivious to all else:
I had lost myself in thought.
21.
(of a physician) to fail to preserve the life of (a patient).
22.
(of a woman) to fail to be delivered of (a live baby) because of miscarriage, complications in childbirth, etc.
verb (used without object), lost, losing.
23.
to suffer loss:
to lose on a contract.
24.
to suffer defeat or fail to win, as in a contest, race, or game:
We played well, but we lost.
25.
to depreciate in effectiveness or in some other essential quality:
a classic that loses in translation.
26.
(of a clock, watch, etc.) to run slow.
Verb phrases
27.
lose out, to suffer defeat or loss; fail to obtain something desired:
He got through the preliminaries, but lost out in the finals.
Idioms
28.
lose face. face (def 51).
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English losen, Old English -lēosan; replacing Middle English lesen, itself also reflecting Old English -lēosan; cognate with German verlieren, Gothic fraliusan to lose. See loss
Related forms
relose, verb (used with object), relost, relosing.
Can be confused
loose, loosen, lose, loss.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for lose
  • If all else fails, an octopus can lose an arm to escape a predator's grasp and regrow it later with no permanent damage.
  • Because the spicy plants lose more water, they're not able to produce as many seeds.
  • Other times, they haul them to a game ranch to be turned lose and become a problem again.
  • We have no reason to lose faith in the possibilities of the future.
  • But perfect security for a special collection or an archive will never exist, and their contents will never lose allure.
  • Most will lose more than they gain from food-price inflation.
  • Most of the time you gain a little or lose a little.
  • They have no families to support nor dire need of the medical insurance older workers may lose when they lose their jobs.
  • Canadians are now worried they might lose a second technology champion within a few years.
  • On this view, it should also incorporate the harm suffered by workers who lose their jobs.
British Dictionary definitions for lose

lose

/luːz/
verb (mainly transitive) loses, losing, lost
1.
to part with or come to be without, as through theft, accident, negligence, etc
2.
to fail to keep or maintain: to lose one's balance
3.
to suffer the loss or deprivation of: to lose a parent
4.
to cease to have or possess
5.
to fail to get or make use of: to lose a chance
6.
(also intransitive) to fail to gain or win (a contest, game, etc): to lose the match
7.
to fail to see, hear, perceive, or understand: I lost the gist of his speech
8.
to waste: to lose money gambling
9.
to wander from so as to be unable to find: to lose one's way
10.
to cause the loss of: his delay lost him the battle
11.
to allow to go astray or out of sight: we lost him in the crowd
12.
(usually passive) to absorb or engross: he was lost in contemplation
13.
(usually passive) to cause the death or destruction of: two men were lost in the attack
14.
to outdistance or elude: he soon lost his pursuers
15.
(intransitive) to decrease or depreciate in value or effectiveness: poetry always loses in translation
16.
(also intransitive) (of a timepiece) to run slow (by a specified amount): the clock loses ten minutes every day
17.
(of a physician) to fail to sustain the life of (a patient)
18.
(of a woman) to fail to give birth to (a viable baby), esp as the result of a miscarriage
19.
(motor racing, slang) to lose control of (the car), as on a bend: he lost it going into Woodcote
20.
(slang) lose it, to lose control of oneself or one's temper
Derived Forms
losable, adjective
losableness, noun
Word Origin
Old English losian to perish; related to Old English -lēosan as in forlēosan to forfeit. Compare loose
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for lose
v.

Old English losian "be lost, perish," from los "destruction, loss," from Proto-Germanic *lausa- (cf. Old Norse los "the breaking up of an army;" Old English forleosan "to lose, destroy," Old Frisian forliasa, Old Saxon farliosan, Middle Dutch verliesen, Old High German firliosan, German verlieren), from PIE root *leu- "to loosen, divide, cut apart, untie, separate" (cf. Sanskrit lunati "cuts, cuts off," lavitram "sickle;" Greek lyein "to loosen, untie, slacken," lysus "a loosening;" Latin luere "to loose, release, atone for, expiate").

Replaced related leosan (a class II strong verb whose past participle loren survives in forlorn and lovelorn), from Proto-Germanic *leusanan (cf. Old High German virliosan, German verlieren, Old Frisian urliasa, Gothic fraliusan "to lose").

Transitive sense of "to part with accidentally" is from c.1200. Meaning "fail to maintain" is from mid-15c. Meaning "to be defeated" (in a game, etc.) is from 1530s. Meaning "to cause (someone) to lose his way" is from 1640s. To lose (one's) mind "become insane" is attested from c.1500. To lose out "fail" is 1858, American English. Related: Lost; losing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
lose in Technology

jargon
(MIT) 1. To fail. A program loses when it encounters an exceptional condition or fails to work in the expected manner.
2. To be exceptionally unesthetic or crocky.
3. Of people, to be obnoxious or unusually stupid (as opposed to ignorant).
4. Refers to something that is losing, especially in the phrases "That's a lose!" and "What a lose!"
[Jargon File]
(1995-04-19)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with lose
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for lose

All English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for lose

4
5
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with lose

Nearby words for lose