Definition of at a loss in English:

at a loss

phrase

  • 1Puzzled or uncertain what to think, say, or do.

    with infinitive ‘she became popular, and was at a loss to know why’
    ‘he was at a loss for words’
    • ‘He seemed at a loss for words, and then he surprised me with a shy smile.’
    • ‘It's an easy, catch all term that you can apply when you're at a loss for words.’
    • ‘I'm still at a loss for a word to describe this stupid, thoughtless insularity.’
    • ‘She seems to be at a loss for things to do, like thousands of others of her ilk.’
    • ‘Needless to say I was at a loss for words and thought, is he being his humorous self or is he serious?’
    • ‘So, returning to the desk, I was momentarily at a loss for suitable Sunday activity.’
    • ‘I am at a loss for words to properly describe what I feel when I look at that article.’
    • ‘Then we were at a loss for what to do next till I mentioned bowling.’
    • ‘Again I'm at a loss for words and mention something about how he's a man of great stature.’
    • ‘Luckily, they made plenty of other mistakes, so we were never at a loss for entertainment!’
    baffled, nonplussed, mystified, stumped, stuck, puzzled, perplexed, bewildered, bemused, uncomprehending, at sea, all at sea, at sixes and sevens, at one's wits' end, without ideas, confused, dumbfounded, blank
    View synonyms
  • 2Making less money than is spent buying, operating, or producing something.

    ‘a railway running at a loss’
    • ‘The country has been operating at a loss, as an economy, for a number of years.’
    • ‘Others, even though they stayed open, generally operated at a loss in the winter months.’
    • ‘If any bus operator is running the business at a loss, he shall surrender the permit.’
    • ‘One contractor has said he does not intend to operate at a loss and will now re-evaluate his fees.’
    • ‘Bookings are falling because the building is in such a poor state, and so the building is operating at a loss.’
    • ‘The other was borrowing substantial funds and operating at a loss continuously.’
    • ‘In the past, we were able to write business at a loss because we were making good money on our investments.’
    • ‘It also claims 27,000 of the kiosks are running at a loss which has led to the closure of hundreds of boxes around the country.’
    • ‘Nothing's more fun to buy than something you're sure is being sold at a loss.’
    • ‘It could not meet its obligations to the company and continued to operate at a loss.’