The opposite of revenue. An expense that reflects the price of purchasing goods, services and financial instruments. A cash cost means that cash is given up today to the purchase. Also, the purchase price of an investment, which is compared to the sale proceeds to determine capital gain or loss. Bloomberg Financial Dictionary

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I. cost cost 1 [kɒst ǁ kɒːst] noun
1. [countable, uncountable] the amount of money that you have to pay in order to buy, do, or produce something:

• The distributor bears the full cost of promoting a film.

• Siemens is moving production to low cost sites in Portugal and Mexico.

• The policy covers all major illnesses and includes children's cover at no extra cost.

• The company had to bring in skilled workers from abroad, often at high cost.

2. costs [plural] ACCOUNTING the money that a business or an individual must regularly spend:

• The rising costs of land and labour have weakened the ship repair business in Singapore.

• Delays in construction could increase costs significantly.

• Kraft is seeking to cut costs by closing plants.

• Rents will be sufficient to cover costs (= pay for costs ) and allow the developer a profit.

acˈcrued cost [countable]
ACCOUNTING the value of goods or services bought by a business during a particular period of time, even if it pays for them in a later period; = ACCRUED EXPENSE
ˈbid costs [plural] ACCOUNTING FINANCE
the cost of accountants, advisers, bankers, lawyers etc involved when one company tries to take over another
ˈcarrying cost [countable] ACCOUNTING
a cost relating to owning assets such as buildings and machinery, for example the cost of repairs, storing machinery, replacing old machinery etc
ˈcurrent cost [countable] ACCOUNTING
the cost of buying an asset now, rather than the price that was paid for it in the past; = REPLACEMENT COST:

• The difference between the historical cost and the current cost of resources used up is shown as an expense in the profit and loss account.

deˈpreciated cost [countable] ACCOUNTING TAX
the original cost of a fixed asset less the total amount that has been claimed against tax for depreciation:

• The balance sheet value of £12 million represents a surplus over depreciated cost of £8.9 million.

diˈrect cost [countable] ACCOUNTING
a cost related to a particular product or service rather than to general costs related to buildings, equipment etc
disˈcretionary costs [plural] ACCOUNTING
company costs that managers can easily increase or reduce, such as those for advertising or developing new products:

• Our costs rose fairly modestly thanks to reduced growth in material costs and tighter management of discretionary costs.

ˌeconomic ˈcost
1. [countable] the cost of something in money, rather than other costs:

• the major social and economic costs of a high level of unemployment

2. [uncountable] a price that people can afford to pay:

• We must ensure a free flow of mineral products at economic cost.

ˈfactor cost [countable]
ECONOMICS ACCOUNTING a cost related to a factor of production, such as land, capital, or labour (= work):

• Unusually high factor costs in the area make the London operation less profitable.

ˈfactory cost [countable]
another name for factory price1
ˌfixed ˈcost [countable] ACCOUNTING
a cost to a business that does not change when the amount of goods or services produced changes and is paid whether anything is produced or not:

• Their retail branches are a fixed cost, so the more business they put through them the better.

hiˌstoric ˈcost also hiˌstorical ˈcost [countable] ACCOUNTING
the price paid for an asset when it was bought, rather than what it is worth now
ˈholding ˌcost [countable] ACCOUNTING
the cost of owning or storing an asset, for example when it is not being used:

• The holding costs for raw land aren't as high as for commercial and residential real estate, where buildings must be maintained.

ˌincremental ˈcost [countable] ECONOMICS ACCOUNTING
the extra cost of producing one more of something; = MARGINAL COST:

• Child-resistant packaging is available at a low incremental cost.

ˌindirect ˈcost [countable] ACCOUNTING
a cost not directly related to a particular product or service, but related to general costs for buildings, equipment etc:

• supervision, inspection, maintenance and other indirect costs

ˌlanded ˈcost [countable] ACCOUNTING
the price of goods including the cost of the goods, insurance, and transport to a particular place:

• Ayr had to demonstrate that they could manufacture at a landed cost competitive with other Digital plants.

ˈlifecycle ˌcost
[countable] ACCOUNTING a method of calculating the total cost of making or using a machine, system etc, including the cost of development, repairs, and changes for the period of time during which it will be used:

• 70% of a product's total lifecycle cost is in the design, before it even gets built.

ˌmarginal ˈcost [countable usually singular] ECONOMICS ACCOUNTING
the extra cost of producing one more of something; = INCREMENTAL COST
ˌone-off ˈcost [countable] ACCOUNTING
a cost that is paid once and not repeated:

• Daimler said there would be a one-off cost of DM50 billion for fitting the anti-roll system to cars already produced.

ˈoperating ˌcost [countable usually plural] ACCOUNTING
a cost involved in the general running of a business or organization:

• a company-wide programme to reduce operating costs

opporˈtunity ˌcost ECONOMICS [uncountable]
the real cost of doing something, including the cost of things that you cannot do because of the choice you have made:

• The opportunity cost of sending a child to a fee-paying school is all the things that you can no longer afford to buy, such as a new car or a holiday abroad.

ˌoverhead ˈcost [countable] ACCOUNTING
a cost not directly related to a particular product or service, but related to general costs for buildings, equipment etc; = INDIRECT COST:

• A number of overhead costs are seasonal, eg heating and lighting.

reˈplacement ˌcost [countable] ACCOUNTING
the cost of buying an asset now, rather than the price that was paid for it in the past; = CURRENT COST:

• Your sum insured should be for the full replacement cost of all your possessions.

ˈrunning ˌcost [countable usually plural] ACCOUNTING
a cost involved with operating a machine, factory, vehicle etc:

• Dellorto quality and finish ensures longer life, reliability and low running costs.

ˈsetup ˌcost also ˈstartup ˌcost [countable usually plural] ACCOUNTING COMMERCE
the amount of money needed to start a new business, project etc:

• Setup costs for a program to recycle paper can be repaid in a few months by sales.

ˌstandard ˈcost [countable] ACCOUNTING
the planned and calculated cost of producing goods, which is compared with the real cost after production:

• Where standard costs are used, they need to be reviewed frequently to ensure that they bear a reasonable relationship to actual costs.

ˈstandby ˌcost [countable] ACCOUNTING
another name for fixed cost
ˈsunk cost [countable] ACCOUNTING
money that has been used to pay for something and that you cannot get back:

• The original cost is a historical cost and is therefore an irrelevant sunk cost.

tranˈsaction cost also tranˈsactional ˌcost [countable] ACCOUNTING COMMERCE
the cost of buying or selling something relating to payments to agents who work for you, lawyers etc:

• Shareholders can sell their Exxon shares for a small transaction cost of 10 cents a share.

ˈunit cost [countable] ACCOUNTING
the cost of producing one item, dealing with one customer etc:

• The number of people seen is high - up to 100 patients a day - thus ensuring that unit costs are kept low.

ˈvariable cost [countable] ACCOUNTING
a cost that changes when the amount of something produced changes:

• The variable costs start from zero, since labour and material are not consumed until production starts.

  [m0] II. cost cost 2 verb
1. cost PTandPP [transitive] to have a particular price:

• This dress cost $75.

cost (somebody) something

• How much did the work cost you?

2. cost a ( small) fortune/​the earth also cost a bomb/​packet informal to have a very high price:

• The meal cost a small fortune, but it was well worth it.

• What a fantastic dress. It must have cost a bomb!

3. costed PTandPP [transitive usually passive] ACCOUNTING to calculate the cost of something or decide how much something should cost:

• We'll get the plan costed before sending it to the board.

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cost UK US /kɒst/ noun
[C or U] money that has to be spent in order to buy, do, or make something: »

Some people are reluctant to seek the help of a financial adviser because of the cost.

the cost of (doing) sth »

What's the cost of an international call?

cut/lower/reduce the cost »

If states shared the risk of catastrophic events, this would lower the cost for policyholders.

increase/raise/push up the cost »

New standards will increase the cost of making and selling diesel vehicles.

the cost increases/rises/goes up »

Raw material costs have risen faster than expected.

the cost goes down/drops/falls »

The cost of farm subsidies is expected to fall thanks to large exports and healthy prices.

an increase/rise in the cost of sth »

an increase in the cost of goods and services

travel/childcare/healthcare costs »

All travel costs will be reimbursed by your employer.

legal/medical/insurance costs »

Republican candidates offered tax credits to lower health insurance costs.

high/rising/spiralling cost(s) »

Spiralling fuel costs have hit motorists hard.

additional/average/extra cost »

The average cost of insuring a family car in 2011 was £360.

estimated/projected cost »

Total projected cost is $2.5 billion.

cover/pay/meet the cost »

A one-off disposal fee covers the cost of collection and recycling

at a cost of $4 billion/£150,000, etc. »

plans to build ten new power stations at a cost of £2 billion each

the cost to sb »

""What will the cost to taxpayers be?"" is the question on everyone's lips.


Strategic alliances can provide growth at a fraction of the cost of going it alone.


Apartments in Brooklyn often sell at half the cost of apartments in Manhattan.

costs — Cf. costs
[U] ACCOUNTING the amount of money that is spent to produce goods or services, before any profit is added for the manufacturer or producer: »

Mass-market retailers often sell items such as bread and milk at cost to pull in customers.


Supermarkets were accused of encouraging irresponsible drinking by selling beer and cider at below cost.

See also COST PRICE(Cf. ↑cost price)
[C] ACCOUNTING an amount of money that a company has to pay and that appears in its accounts: »

The amount paid for the lease should be entered as a cost in the profit and loss account.


The depreciation of the value of equipment is treated as a cost.

[S or U] something that is given, needed or lost in order to get a particular thing: cost to sb/sth »

We will help you run your business with less cost to the environment.

at a cost to sth »

She continued in the job, but at a great cost to her health.

cost in sth »

They felt that continuing with the project was not worth the cost in time and effort.


considerable/enormous/great cost

costs — Cf. costs
cost UK US /kɒst/ verb [T]
(cost, cost) if something costs a particular amount of money, you have to pay that amount in order to buy or have it: cost $1 million/£500,000, etc. »

Calls cost 60 cents per minute.

cost sb $1 million/£500,00, etc. »

Deregulation allowed the company to fix electricity prices, costing consumers billions of dollars.

cost more/less than »

Stamp duty is up to 3% on properties costing more than £250,000.

cost about/around/up to »

luxury apartments costing up to £900,000 each

be expected/estimated to cost »

The project, which was originally expected to cost $1 billion, is now estimated at $1.8 billion

cost as little/much as »

Hundreds of items, some costing as little as $1, are for sale.

if something costs you your job, an opportunity, etc. it prevents you from keeping or having it: »

The airline folded, costing 3.000 jobs.

cost sb sth »

Problems with our suppliers could cost us the opportunity to grow our business.

(costed) ACCOUNTING to calculate the price of something or to decide how much it will cost: »

Has the project been costed yet?

cost sth at »

The new rail line was costed at £150 billion.

cost (sb) a fortune/a bomb/the earth — Cf. cost the earth
See Note EXPENSIVE(Cf. ↑expensive)

Financial and business terms. 2012.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • cost — n 1: the amount or equivalent paid or charged for something 2 pl: expenses incurred in litigation; esp: those given by the law or the court to the prevailing party against the losing party Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster.… …   Law dictionary

  • Cost — (k[o^]st; 115), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Cost}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Costing}.] [OF. coster, couster, F. co[^u]ter, fr. L. constare to stand at, to cost; con + stare to stand. See {Stand}, and cf. {Constant}.] 1. To require to be given, expended, or laid …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Cost — (k[o^]st; 115), v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Cost}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Costing}.] [OF. coster, couster, F. co[^u]ter, fr. L. constare to stand at, to cost; con + stare to stand. See {Stand}, and cf. {Constant}.] 1. To require to be given, expended, or laid …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • COST — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Programa Internacional de Cooperación Europea en el Campo de la Investigación Científica y Técnica (COST). (European COoperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research) El COST fue creado en 1971… …   Wikipedia Español

  • cost — [kôst, käst] vt. cost, costing [ME costen < OFr coster < ML costare < L constare, to stand together, stand at, cost < com , together + stare, to STAND] 1. a) to be obtained or obtainable for (a certain price); be priced at b) to cause …   English World dictionary

  • cost — ► VERB (past and past part. cost) 1) require the payment of (a specified sum) in order to be bought or obtained. 2) involve the loss of: his heroism cost him his life. 3) (past and past part. costed) estimate the cost of. ► NOUN 1) an amount …   English terms dictionary

  • Cost — Cost, n. [OF. cost, F. co[^u]t. See {Cost}, v. t. ] 1. The amount paid, charged, or engaged to be paid, for anything bought or taken in barter; charge; expense; hence, whatever, as labor, self denial, suffering, etc., is requisite to secure… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • còst — cost, couest m. , còsta costo, couesto f. coût; dépense; frais. A tot còst : à tout prix. A còst de : sous peine de, au prix de …   Diccionari Personau e Evolutiu