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[law-see, los-ee] /ˈlɔ si, ˈlɒs i/
adjective, Electricity
(of a material or transmission line) causing appreciable loss or dissipation of energy.
Origin of lossy
1945-50; loss + -y1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for lossy
  • lossy compression is a type of compression where a certain amount of information is discarded.
  • As an aside, the time may soon come when storage is so cheap that there is no need for lossy compression.
  • lossy compression, on the other hand, means some data are lost during shrinking.
  • Two kids waiting to pay at the register are arguing about lossy data compression.
  • Light that fits cannot escape the tapered mirror crevices of the two sharp sides, with lossy reflection at each bounce.
British Dictionary definitions for lossy


(of a dielectric material, transmission line, etc) designed to have a high attenuation; dissipating energy: lossy line Compare lossless
Word Origin
C20: from loss
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 lossy

"characterized by loss," 1948, a term in electrical engineering, from loss + -y (2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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lossy in Technology

A term describing a data compression algorithm which actually reduces the amount of information in the data, rather than just the number of bits used to represent that information. The lost information is usually removed because it is subjectively less important to the quality of the data (usually an image or sound) or because it can be recovered reasonably by interpolation from the remaining data.
MPEG and JPEG are examples of lossy compression techniques.
Opposite: lossless.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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