Meaning of “expense” in the English Dictionary

"expense" in British English

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expensenoun

uk /ɪkˈspens/ us /ɪkˈspens/

B2 [ U ] the use of money, time, or effort:

Buying a bigger car has proved to be well worth the expense.
We've just had a new garage built at great expense.
We went on holiday at my father's expense (= he paid for it).
It's silly to go to the expense of (= spend money on) buying new clothes when you don't really need them.

[ C ] something that makes you spend money:

Our biggest expense this year was our summer holiday.
We need to cut down on our expenses.
expenses C1 [ plural ]

money that you spend when you are doing your job, that your employer will pay back to you:

I need to get my expenses approved.
UK Don't worry about the cost of lunch - it's on expenses.

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(Definition of “expense” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"expense" in American English

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expensenoun [ C/U ]

us /ɪkˈspens/

an amount of money needed or used to do or buy something; cost:

[ C ] We have to start cutting down on our expenses.
[ U ] The house was redecorated at great expense.

(Definition of “expense” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"expense" in Business English

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expensenoun

uk /ɪkˈspens/ us

[ C or U ] ACCOUNTING an amount of money that a person or business spends in order to do something:

a big/major expense Waste disposal is a major expense for us.
cut down on/reduce/cut expense We need to cut down on our expenses.
cover/meet expenses He said the business needed to borrow to meet future expenses.
bear/incur an expense In your tax return you can include tax-deductible expenses incurred as a result of employment.
unnecessary/additional/extra expense Money can be moved into the account without the unnecessary expense of being converted into sterling.

[ U ] the large amount of money that something costs:

Buying a bigger car has proved to be well worth the expense.
He just had his office remodelled at great expense.
Having gone to the expense of hiring an exhibition stand, you need to make the most of the selling opportunity.
expenses [ plural ]

HR, ACCOUNTING money that you spend when you are doing your job, that an employer or other organization pays back to you:

pay/cover/reimburse sb's expenses She was invited to speak at the conference, with an offer to cover all her expenses.
Details of how to claim expenses can be found on the website.
Committee members are paid £160 plus expenses to attend the fortnightly meetings.
I need to get my expenses approved.
all expenses paid

if something is all expenses paid, you do not have to pay for anything yourself:

She's going to a conference in Tokyo, all expenses paid.
an all-expenses-paid trip to New York
at sb's expense

paid for by someone:

They are living an extravagant lifestyle at the taxpayer's expense.
If you lose your ticket, you will have to buy another at your own expense.
on expenses

using money that will be paid back by your employer:

He took me out to lunch on expenses.
I usually travel standard class on the train, even when on expenses.
spare no expense

to spend a lot of money in order to make something extremely good:

No expense was spared in redesigning the chairman's office.

expenseverb [ T ]

uk /ɪkˈspens/ us ACCOUNTING

to show the full amount of money paid for something as a cost in a company's accounts, rather than showing it as a lower and lower amount over a period of time:

The accounting rule allows research-and-development costs to be instantly expensed or deducted from profits.

(Definition of “expense” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)