Definition of “lose” - English Dictionary

“lose” in English

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uk /luːz/ us /luːz/ lost, lost

lose verb (NOT HAVE)

A2 [ T ] to no longer have something because you do not know where it is:

I've lost my ticket.
He's always losing his car keys.

A2 [ T ] to have something or someone taken away from you:

At least 600 staff will lose their jobs if the factory closes.
He lost his leg in a car accident.
She lost her mother (= her mother died) last year.

B2 [ T ] to stop feeling something:

I lost interest halfway through the book.
He kept on crying and I lost my patience.

B1 [ T ] to have less of something than you had before:

I'm trying to lose weight.
He's losing his hair.
She lost a lot of blood in the accident.
to lose your memory/sight

B2 [ T ] If you lose time, you waste it:

Four million hours were lost last year through stress-related illnesses.
We lost valuable time stuck in traffic.

[ T ] If a clock loses time, it goes more slowly than it should:

My watch loses ten minutes every day.

[ T ] informal to get rid of something:

Lose the belt and let's see how the dress looks.
lose money, dollars, pounds, etc.

C1 A business that is losing money is spending more money than it is receiving:

Banks will lose millions of pounds because of new legislation.

More examples

lose verb (BE DEFEATED)

B1 [ I or T ] to fail to succeed in a game, competition, etc.:

If we lose this game, we're out of the championship.
They're losing 3–1.
They lost to Cincinnati.
Everyone hates losing an argument.
They hadn't lost an election in 15 years.

More examples

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

“lose” in American English

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us /luz/ past tense and past participle lost /lɔst/

lose verb (NOT BE ABLE TO FIND)

[ T ] to not be able to find something:

I lost my keys somewhere in the house.
Two officers chased the suspect, but he turned down an alley and they lost sight of him (= could no longer see him).


[ T ] to no longer have something, because it has been taken away from you, either by accident or purposely:

Workers will lose their jobs if the plant closes.
He lost his leg in a car accident.

[ T ] If you lose someone, that person dies:

George lost his wife in 1990.

[ T ] If you lose money you have risked, you do not make a profit and do not get your money back.

[ T ] A business that is losing money is spending more money than it is receiving.

lose verb (BE DEFEATED)

[ I/T ] to fail to succeed in a game or competition:

[ I ] If we lose again, we’re out of the playoffs.
[ T ] Anderson lost the election by a narrow margin.

lose verb (NOT MAINTAIN)

[ T ] to not maintain or no longer have control over a quality or ability:

She used to play tennis regularly, but lately she’s lost interest in it.
The driver lost control of her car.
The dog is losing her eyesight/hearing/sense of smell.
Carl lost his balance and fell down the stairs.

[ T ] If you lose time or an opportunity, you waste it.

[ T ] If a clock loses time, it goes more slowly than it should.

lose verb (HAVE LESS OF)

[ T ] to have less of something, esp. in the body:

to lose blood/weight

lose verb (CONFUSE)

[ T ] to confuse someone:

I’m sorry, you’ve lost me – would you go over that again?

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

“lose” in Business English

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uk /luːz/ us lost, lost

[ T ] to no longer have something or have less of something, because it has been taken away from you, or you fail to keep it:

Manufacturing lost 11,000 jobs in June after several months of small increases.
She was among 40 people who lost their jobs when the plant closed.
lose business/market share/sales The company has steadily lost market share over the past 15 years.
The company has lost its place as the world's number one automaker.
lose sth to sth Last year, the company lost at least 30 working days to strikes.
lose sth to sb The business began to lose clients to the new supermarket.
The organization has lost the finest director it has ever had.
Homeowners technically could still lose their homes over unpaid rent.

[ T ] if you lose time, you waste it:

Four million working hours were lost last year through stress-related illnesses.
There is no time to be lost in securing the deal.
See also

[ I or T ] to spend more money than you receive, fail to keep money that you had, or cause a loss of money:

The airline lost £40m from a strike at the airport in the summer.
Companies must compensate employees who lose financially because of a misleading, inaccurate, or unfair reference.
lose sb sth We cannot continue with an area of business that is losing us millions.
lose sth on sth He lost $50000 on the stock market.
The company has lost money over the last few years.

[ T ] to go down in price or value:

The company's shares lost 10.75p to 416p .
The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 107.42 points in the past two days.
lose face

to lose the respect of other people because of something you have done:

Both companies are denying responsibility for the crisis, as neither wants to lose face.
See also
lose ground

to become less popular, fall in value, or be given less support:

California still tops the 50 states in tech exports but is losing ground.
The stock started losing ground with the rest of the market in midmorning and closed down 18p.
lose sight of sth

to forget about an important idea or fact because you are thinking about other things:

In their attempts to increase profits, they have lost sight of the importance of customer satisfaction.
lose your shirt informal

to lose a lot of money:

It would be wrong to suggest that all investors have lost their shirts.

Phrasal verb(s)

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

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They have nothing to lose and they vote for those who promise any change, any reform, and an end to corruption.
I am afraid, however, that the situation is still alarming and there is no time to lose: we still can and must do much more.
Some of these enterprises operate on an extremely small scale and make up in flexibility, innovation and quality what they lose in economies of scale.
There are three kinds of failure: you can lose to your opponents, you can fail to achieve goals that are set too high, and you can be your own downfall.
While it is fashionable to concentrate on newly emerging diseases, we cannot afford to lose sight of familiar problems which affect huge numbers of patients.
Only thus can the public lose their fear of eastward enlargement and of the social dumping that they believe will result from it.
When creating special conditions for certain social groups, we must never lose sight of the fact that all citizens must be considered equal.
In all that we do, we must not lose sight of our objective, which is to keep people and the environment safe with the minimum of red tape and expense.
Thank you for telling us that sometimes, wrapped up in our own problems, we lose sight of the importance of our project.
They will in fact lose more in refining aid than we are preparing to give them to assist in their transition from this.

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