Definition of expense in English:



  • 1[mass noun] The cost incurred in or required for something.

    ‘conference rooms were equipped at great expense’
    ‘book into the best hotel you can find and hang the expense’
    • ‘The repeat exercise will incur further expense for the taxpayers.’
    • ‘It would simply be part of the overhead expense incurred by the solicitor in the proper conduct of his practice.’
    • ‘The attempt to recover costs had simply incurred further public expense on both sides.’
    • ‘The extra expense of higher fuel costs can be offset, at least temporarily, by winning the bet on rising prices.’
    • ‘It also incurs the added expense of rigid triage at entry into the system to determine if demand is indeed urgent.’
    • ‘Well, you never just incur expense; you always incur expense for something.’
    • ‘The fixed costs, variable costs, the interest expense and depreciation are allowable deductions.’
    • ‘This charge only covers the basics and any ‘cosmetic’ treatment will of course incur additional expense.’
    • ‘Until then they need not concern themselves about the current market rent nor need they incur expense in obtaining advice with regard thereto.’
    • ‘Owners of regularly flooded houses could opt to seal their properties from flood waters at their own expense - at a cost of up to £8,000.’
    • ‘How do those costs compare with the expense incurred in buying into and getting out of a managed fund?’
    • ‘So any incurred expense will go directly into materials rather than additional tools.’
    • ‘The only new expense incurred would be the cost of walkie-talkies for the official and the technical advisor.’
    • ‘They have to do so at their own expense as the cost of living increases.’
    • ‘The only such expense incurred to date relates to one session of dance lessons in which the petitioner enrolled the children.’
    • ‘And speaking of expense, the cost of using email is skyrocketing.’
    • ‘I am concerned about the fact that all this expense has been incurred.’
    • ‘The ostensible justification for this profiteering at public expense is the cost of research into new drugs.’
    • ‘An order to give notice would require that the parties incur further substantial expense with no corresponding benefit.’
    • ‘If the buyer then fails to accept the bill, the supplier may incur considerable expense in retrieving the situation.’
    cost, price
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    1. 1.1The costs incurred in the performance of one's job or a specific task.
      ‘his hotel and travel expenses’
      • ‘Note that these amounts do not include travel and lodging expenses nor the cost of running an office in their riding.’
      • ‘A broader range of expenses incurred by business will become tax deductible.’
      • ‘A fortunate few have previously negotiated conversion from lease to proper title with the former laird for just the cost of the legal expenses.’
      • ‘It was stressed that the allowances are not a salary per se, but are intended to pay for postage and telephone costs and other expenses.’
      • ‘It also provides financial help to family members to cover travel expenses, hotel costs and phone bills.’
      • ‘Supplementary expenses rate £25 per night to cover incidental expenses and cost of evening meal.’
      • ‘They are in addition to payments being made by BA for hotel, transport and food expenses incurred by disrupted passengers.’
      • ‘They pointed out that savings on rentals elsewhere and reduced traveling expenses was servicing the cost of the new building.’
      • ‘Anything above that is insurance premium tax, office costs, marketing expenses and commission for sellers.’
      • ‘His airfare and hotel expenses were charged to the Harbour Fest.’
      • ‘How is it logical to spend the same amount in transport expenses as it would cost to keep the factory open?’
      • ‘The money goes towards running costs, including office expenses, classroom materials and cleaning bills.’
      • ‘His total claim of £128,053 went towards paying for housing allowances, office costs and travel expenses.’
      • ‘The fee does not include travel expenses incurred by the guest (which need to be reimbursed separately).’
      • ‘The money could then be set aside in a special fund which would be used to reimburse the state for incurring these expenses.’
      • ‘They finally had enough revenues to cover their fixed costs and marketing expenses.’
      • ‘Although it is true that the price of flour has been lowered, have any of the other associated bakery expenses and costs been reduced?’
      • ‘Here he engaged in another traditional hobby of the expat - the claiming of expenses incurred in the line of duty.’
      • ‘The charges purely cover the cost of any travel expenses, blank CDs etc etc.’
      • ‘They are only paid for administration costs and associated expenses.’
      cost, asking price, selling price, charge, fee, terms, payment, rate, fare, levy, toll, amount, sum, total, figure
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    2. 1.2[count noun]A thing on which one is required to spend money.
      ‘tolls are a daily expense’
      • ‘Any normal expense incurred in the day-to-day operations of the company falls under this category.’
      • ‘There was a subsidy to assist farmers, but with the rising cost of electricity this expense was still a major burden.’
      outgoing, payment, outlay, disbursement, expenditure, charge, bill, overhead
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  • 1 Offset (an item of expenditure) as an expense against taxable income.

    ‘up to $17,500 in capital expenditures can be expensed in the year they were incurred’
    • ‘Share options simply broaden the ownership of the company, involve no cash outflows and are not a cost that should be expensed to the profit and loss account.’
    • ‘He proposes that the fair value of share options granted should be expensed to the profit and loss account.’
    • ‘If options had been expensed in 2002, for example, 23% of the stock market's earnings would have been erased.’
    • ‘But for stable mature companies, they should be expensed, or other methods of compensation should be used.’
    • ‘The more people talk about the debate over expensing stock options, the less of a big deal it appears to be.’
    • ‘Suppose he told you that the cost of the accumulator would add up to an estimated half of next year's profits, but would be expensed over the 30 years in question.’
    • ‘Like stock options, phantom stock must be expensed throughout its vesting period.’
    • ‘The pain will be eased to the extent that the standard is being phased in and, at the outset, only options issued post November 2002 will be expensed.’
    • ‘What matters is that options issued to employees have value and therefore they must be expensed.’
    • ‘His evidence that nothing has changed since the energy company collapsed is the fact that the law still does not require stock options to be expensed before they are exercised.’
    • ‘When you give money to an employee for doing a job, it's compensation and it ought to be expensed in the current period.’
    • ‘Compensation cost arising from the issuance of stock options may be expensed or capitalized in the same way as cash compensation.’
    • ‘He was one of the first CEOs to come out for expensing stock options.’
    • ‘Stock options are on their way to being expensed, which will cut income-tax revenues.’
    • ‘High-tech companies can make a reasonable case that stock options should not be expensed because they are an important employee incentive in their fast-paced world.’
    • ‘Anecdotal evidence suggests a growing number of Old Economy companies are moving away from stock options to restricted stock, which must be expensed on the income statement.’
    • ‘And it will change its accounting procedures to expense the stock options it already issued.’
    • ‘Finally, the Internet provider gave up and completely expensed its $385 million in customer-acquisition costs.’
    • ‘They must be expensed through the income statement, because the future benefits of such investments are so uncertain.’
    • ‘Options play a huge role in economic growth and expensing them could hurt small companies.’
    1. 1.1informal Charge (something) to an expense account.
      ‘I can expense the refreshments’
      • ‘If this person is now officially a ‘friend,’ stop expensing those meals and coffees.’
      • ‘He must be one of the few tabloid journalists who can get away with expensing cocaine.’
      • ‘The drink and food was a bit on the high side, but then again, I was on business and expensed it anyway.’
      • ‘He was in the neighbourhood on work anyway, so he took a side-trip to a nice place to golf, expensed it, and then repaid the expenses later on.’
      • ‘You're expensing the pizza, and you're still making me pay you for half?’
      • ‘It's usually not too expensive and you may be able to expense it.’
      • ‘Just try expensing your work calls, what a hassle.’


Late Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French, alteration of Old French espense, from late Latin expensa (pecunia) (money) spent, from Latin expendere pay out (see expend).