Definition of lose in English:



[with object]
  • 1Be deprived of or cease to have or retain (something)

    ‘I've lost my appetite’
    ‘Linda was very upset about losing her job’
    ‘the company may find itself losing customers to cheaper rivals’
    • ‘As a result, customers face losing hundreds of pounds if they no longer wish to travel.’
    • ‘Not only are they losing their jobs, they're losing their pensions as well.’
    • ‘Customers stood to lose a large proportion of their capital because the value of the 30 companies plunged as the stock market nosedived.’
    • ‘Speaking from Paris, he said he was relieved at the outcome but still upset at having lost his job.’
    • ‘Schools in Bradford's most deprived areas could lose thousands of pounds of funding.’
    • ‘But you know, the manufacturing jobs disappear, you lose control over your space.’
    • ‘Businesses and service organizations were losing employees and customers weekly, daily, and eventually hourly.’
    • ‘It only takes one bad experience for you to lose a potential lifetime customer.’
    • ‘Thousands of customers and suppliers lost money when the group collapsed into administration last year.’
    • ‘But he lost his building society job because he refused to remove his eyebrow piercing.’
    • ‘Schools from deprived areas are still losing a proportion of their pupils, probably those with higher parental support and motivation and hence are even more deprived.’
    • ‘This de-motivates people - as a result they leave the party, they lose enthusiasm, they cease to be active.’
    • ‘As for Tom, a clear sign when a forward has lost confidence or the appetite for the fray is when they choose to kick rather than take contact.’
    • ‘Customers risk losing music legally downloaded from the internet if they are not aware of small-print restrictions on which machines you can play the songs.’
    • ‘If family support disappears and a patient loses housing or a job or both, what can the clinician do?’
    • ‘Players will lose time and money, people will lose jobs, and customers will lose their product.’
    • ‘It's been upsetting because we have lost a lot of our local customers, who are our main supporters.’
    • ‘I didn't dare make a move in case she got upset and I lost my free transport.’
    • ‘Perhaps a third or more of all cropland is losing topsoil faster than new soil is forming, thereby reducing the land's inherent productivity.’
    • ‘Workers had been warned last week that they could lose their jobs after the site lost a major contract.’
    be deprived of, suffer the loss of, no longer have, stop having
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with two objects Cause (someone) to fail to gain or retain (something)
      ‘you lost me my appointment at London University’
      • ‘Spending time in an alcohol detox centre lost me my career with the federal government.’
      • ‘'Being female lost me my job'.’
      • ‘But it's a game that might lose you just as many regular readers as it gets you.’
      • ‘Off I went into another manic episode, one that lost me my first job as a social worker, due to my instability.’
      • ‘His plea of insanity lost him his job, and his credibility.’
      • ‘He fulfilled his duties conscientiously, but his support for the proclamation of the district as a city lost him his seat in 1950.’
      be unable to take advantage of, fail to benefit from
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Be deprived of (a relative or friend) through their death.
      ‘she lost her husband in the fire’
      • ‘It is far more tragic for parents to lose a child from a sudden death; it leaves them with many unsaid things and feelings of regret.’
      • ‘The pair were both touched by the work of the specialist ward when they lost children to premature deaths.’
      • ‘She lost her daughter and husband in an accident and at the time she was pregnant and miscarried.’
      • ‘Many cats belong to elderly, lonely people, their only companion is their furry feline. To them the loss of their beloved friend is akin to losing a close relative.’
      • ‘The death of any relative is devastating but to lose three grandchildren in tragic circumstances is more than most of us could bear.’
      • ‘Many of my friends, and my wife, lost grandparents during their twenties too.’
      • ‘What about the countless German families who lost their sons and husbands during the conflict?’
      • ‘My heartfelt sympathy goes out to all the families who have lost sons and husbands, fathers, brothers.’
      • ‘For the thousands who had lost relatives or friends, it had the effect of a further slap in the face.’
      • ‘It seems that every week a friend of mine loses a parent.’
      • ‘And to those who have lost relatives and friends, be assured that you are not forgotten.’
      • ‘And for my mother, this is a double loss, she has lost her friend, sister and daughter.’
      • ‘Too many of us lose our mothers, sisters, daughters and friends to this disease.’
      • ‘Charlie survived the war unhurt, although he lost many relatives and close friends.’
      • ‘Mary, like the other voluntary members of the group, has a personal interest in the fight against cancer losing relatives and friends to the disease.’
      • ‘A friend of mine recently lost his mother to cancer after she was hospitalized for one year.’
      • ‘In recent years, he has lost a relative and a friend to the disease.’
      • ‘Grief and pride bind the families who lost their sons, fathers, brothers, or husbands to war.’
      • ‘Both my parents lost relatives very dear to them, and the wider circle of relations has suffered some tough times too.’
      • ‘It was so horrible not only losing my father, but losing my closest friend too!’
    3. 1.3 (of a pregnant woman) miscarry (a baby) or suffer the death of (a baby) during childbirth.
      ‘am I going to lose the baby?’
      • ‘However, Fiona fell pregnant and now wants to get through these nine months, knowing she could lose her baby.’
      • ‘While some women may want to become pregnant fairly soon after losing a baby, the decision to have another baby is not an easy one and must be taken only when both partners feel it is right.’
      • ‘These problems increase their risk of not being able to get pregnant, losing a baby, or having a baby too early.’
      • ‘She was taken to hospital losing blood and was told by doctors she had been five months pregnant but had lost her baby.’
      • ‘She did lose her third baby however, although I have no idea if this had any connection with smoking.’
      • ‘The woman was three months pregnant and lost her baby as a result of the collision.’
      • ‘But more than anything else she felt a deep sadness for the babies she had lost.’
      • ‘She became convinced she was losing her baby and insisted her husband take her to hospital.’
      • ‘Other women said they were attacked when pregnant and claim they lost their babies.’
      • ‘Jane felt particular empathy for couples who had problem pregnancies or who lost their baby.’
      • ‘She has reportedly been put under round-the-clock medical care over fears she could lose her unborn baby..’
      • ‘At home she rebelled, ran away, did drugs, slept around, got pregnant and lost the baby.’
      • ‘I hope she doesn't lose the baby and die herself in the process.’
      • ‘Doctors are gravely concerned that she could lose her baby and the family has asked to be left in peace to cope with the ordeal.’
    4. 1.4be lost Be destroyed or killed, especially as a result of an accident or military action.
      ‘a fishing disaster in which 129 men were lost’
      • ‘Forty additional men were lost either from gunfire or tragic mishap.’
      • ‘While attempting rescue a small boat manned by local men capsized and four men were lost.’
      • ‘Her entire ship's company of 30 men were lost.’
      • ‘Subsequently it became known that a second lifeboat and her crew were lost in the heroic attempt to relieve the same vessel.’
      • ‘Twelve men were lost and the ship abandoned; she later sank while under tow in the South Atlantic.’
      • ‘The ship had 5 officers and 33 men on board when sunk, of whom 2 officers and 24 men were lost.’
    5. 1.5 Decrease in (body weight); undergo a reduction of (a specified amount of weight)
      ‘she couldn't eat and began to lose weight’
      • ‘To lose body weight, essentially you have to burn more calories than you take in.’
      • ‘She had tried other slimming classes but was unsuccessful as any weight she lost she put back on again quickly.’
      • ‘Become concerned if the patient begins to lose more weight than 6 pounds in 6 months.’
      • ‘They should not generally be advised to lose any more weight, but I would suggest they work on their shape.’
      • ‘Subsequent programmes should be based on how much weight has been lost initially.’
      • ‘Now fully recovered, she wanted to reclaim her body and lose some of the weight she had gained as a result of all the medication.’
      • ‘And that motivation, rather than the diet, might explain whatever weight they lose.’
      • ‘It is imperative that he loses substantial amount of weight.’
      • ‘He weighs her to make sure she is losing the amount of weight he has demanded.’
      • ‘The team which loses the most weight combined is the winner that week.’
      • ‘Everyone is weighed each week and the slimmer who loses the most weight each week is praised and earns the title of ‘Slimmer of the Week’.’
      • ‘That helped him tone up, lose a little more weight, and feel even better.’
      • ‘They also showed trends toward losing lesser amounts of body weight.’
      • ‘However, having lost some weight I am still not a size 10 and the dress is too tight.’
      • ‘I've not lost the amount of weight I hoped but I have lost some and I'm feeling a lot better for it.’
      • ‘But, remember, the amount of weight you lose is entirely at your own discretion and you can join in or drop out of the campaign at any time.’
      • ‘I lost some weight last year in an effort to calm down my increasingly regular heartburn.’
      • ‘Weight management is a complex issue, so that the amount of weight lost will vary for each individual.’
      • ‘If you really need a number, a healthy amount of weight to lose is about one pound per week.’
      • ‘If someone loses much more weight, it could be a cause for concern.’
    6. 1.6 (of a watch or clock) become slow by (a specified amount of time)
      ‘this clock will neither gain nor lose a second’
      • ‘For example: If your watch loses 5 seconds while being worn during the day, try to find a position in which the watch gains about 5 seconds overnight.’
      • ‘Unfortunately the watch loses 11 seconds a day.’
      • ‘It also depends on the constancy of its rate; meaning, that a watch gains or loses the exact same amount of time each day.’
      • ‘They gradually fell out of step, with one clock losing 5 seconds a day in relation to the other.’
      • ‘On most days, the watch loses about 0.5 seconds.’
    7. 1.7lose itinformal Become unable to control one's temper or emotions.
      ‘I completely lost it—I was screaming at them’
      • ‘This was it, for me - the moment that I lost it and started crying uncontrollably.’
      • ‘I don't know what triggered it this time around, or what it is that keeps holding me back from losing it completely.’
      • ‘There is a moment in the book when Patrick completely loses it.’
      • ‘He completely loses it, and lays his head down on the table, enjoying the moment.’
      • ‘Any suggestions that she was losing it are hereby completely rescinded.’
      • ‘If I see something that slightly resembles a spider, I'll freak out and lose it right on the spot.’
      • ‘I'm told Roseanna has lost it completely and has taken to sticking pins into wax images of her old pal Nicola.’
      • ‘I think it was at this time that I lost it, because I did not realise a crime was taking place.’
      • ‘The last thing she remembered before losing it completely was moving away from town.’
      • ‘Since the illness, well in the last few weeks really, he's lost it over trivial stupid things.’
      • ‘I completely lost it and shouted and screamed at him about how selfish he is.’
      • ‘He could have lost it completely and run off screaming into the night, with no one at all on his tail.’
      • ‘I like that scene where Eva completely loses it and throws Kevin across the room and breaks his arm.’
      • ‘This scene is particularly important since in the very act of proving his manhood, the hero loses it completely.’
      • ‘If he calls her Tracey I will lose it completely and burst out laughing.’
      • ‘As they watched us, mainlanders would shake their heads and wonder whether we had lost it completely.’
      • ‘Josie rose to me, to keep me from losing it completely, but she was too slow.’
      • ‘Sadly, Hunter loses it completely in the next paragraph.’
      become very angry, fly into a rage, explode, blow up, erupt, lose control, go berserk, breathe fire, begin to rant and rave, flare up, boil over
      View synonyms
  • 2Become unable to find (something or someone)

    ‘I've lost the car keys’
    • ‘Forget one suitcase (which was found), imagine losing everything.’
    • ‘The customer had lost his invoice. It took him a minute to pull up the information.’
    • ‘We lost the car keys before and I used the mini torch to help me find them again.’
    • ‘Customers, who lose their key, are asked to choose the closest model from the hundreds of samples.’
    • ‘They are reminded of what they have been missing, what has been long lost or forgotten.’
    • ‘Second is the fact that he is a most forgetful man and loses his all the time.’
    • ‘Often the end customer loses the cargo once it leaves rail-carrier control, even though it is on his own sideline in the company yard.’
    • ‘It's been lost, of course, in all the wanderings and dissolutions, which is sad.’
    mislay, misplace, be unable to find
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Cease or become unable to follow (the right route)
      ‘the clouds came down and we lost the path’
      • ‘To add to their difficulties, when they were far advanced among the hills, their guide lost the road, and was never able to regain it.’
      • ‘Eventually emerging onto St James's Road, we lost the path.’
      • ‘I began to turn away, back towards the forest that I was sure to lose myself in, but he called out in urgency.’
      • ‘For several days we lost ourselves in the labyrinth of the old centre.’
      • ‘As for me, well my love for New York runs so deep that I would gladly have lost myself in the city and stayed forever!’
      • ‘Heather pushed her way through a dense growth of rhododendrons; she had completely lost the path now.’
      • ‘But at Reelsville they lost the Road. He wrote, "Not a track was to be seen on the smooth green turf beneath the tall, shady oak trees."’
      • ‘So, arriving ahead of time, I lose myself for 10 minutes down a path really called Dunwoman's Lane.’
      stray from, wander from, depart from, go astray from, fail to keep to, fail to keep in sight
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2 Evade or shake off (a pursuer)
      ‘he came after me waving his revolver, but I easily lost him’
      • ‘He ducks into an alleyway in an attempt to lose his pursuers, but before he can scurry over a low wall, they catch up.’
      • ‘He ducked and dodged around the buildings, trying to lose his pursuers but they managed to stay on his tail.’
      • ‘He realised now that he would never lose such a determined pursuer in these corridors.’
      • ‘There were no more trees with which to lose his pursuers, only a stretch of stone, snow dunes, and mountainside.’
      • ‘Once there, the gunman hoped to lose his pursuers in the maze of large buildings.’
      escape from, evade, elude, dodge, avoid, give someone the slip, shake off, throw off, throw off the scent, duck, get rid of
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3North American informal Get rid of (an undesirable person or thing)
      ‘lose that creep!’
      • ‘They need to lose that awful voiceover.’
      • ‘Oh, thank God, we get to lose that awful two-tone weave!’
      • ‘You need to lose that creep before he pressures you into more things you don't want to do.’
    4. 2.4informal Cause (someone) to be unable to follow an argument or explanation.
      ‘sorry, Tim, you've lost me there’
      • ‘This guy is losing me with his explanation of Mrs. Jones though.’
      • ‘He lost me there when he went into politician speak.’
      • ‘I have to admit he lost me there.’
      • ‘This is where he loses me, and it's where the traditionalist argument always loses me.’
    5. 2.5lose oneself in/be lost in Be or become deeply absorbed in (something)
      ‘he had been lost in thought’
      • ‘A lone tourist baked in the sun as he lost himself in what must have been an enthralling book.’
      • ‘I would shirk my daily responsibilities, lay in front of the TV for hours, smoking and losing myself in what was on.’
      • ‘A really quiet and disciplined audience lost themselves in symphonies of Schubert and Mozart.’
      • ‘I lost myself in the wonderful food and conversation.’
      • ‘When you go to one of those stories, part of what you are doing is trying to lose yourself in something and then you go home and you think about it.’
      • ‘Athletics was my refuge, something I could lose myself in.’
      • ‘If there was ever an album worth losing yourself in, this is it.’
      • ‘The deep notes put forth by the pseudo-lute were something you could lose yourself in.’
      • ‘The things that we used to romanticize and use as an escape have come back with a hard edge, as forces to be reckoned with rather than as dreams to lose ourselves in.’
      • ‘With a book in hand, I'd dive joyfully into the world being created, absorbing every word into my skin, losing myself in the pages.’
      • ‘This album is a dark, tempestuous but highly inviting place that you could quite easily lose yourself in, and there's a real chance that you won't want to return.’
      • ‘Later that afternoon, I located the book on the library shelves upstairs, and I lost myself in re-reading the novel.’
      • ‘He felt as if he'd been doused in a bucket of cold water suddenly, so profound was the shock of being dragged forcibly out of the memory he had lost himself in.’
      • ‘If you've ever lost yourself in a book, a film or a piece of music, if you've ever travelled abroad on your own, you'll know about that moment of hesitation when you return to find your old life, seemingly unchanged, waiting to engulf you.’
      • ‘He says, ‘Once we have lost ourselves in the world the puppets create, we accept the message without even realising that we are learning.’’
      • ‘I sat on my bed for hours on end, with my albums and my pop magazines, and lost myself in music.’
      • ‘He soon lost himself in the dream world of cinema.’
      • ‘To be honest I wanted something that would be pleasurable, that would fill up my time, that I could lose myself in.’
      • ‘But let me tell you, gardening really is one of those activities you can lose yourself in, you don't think of anything but what you're doing.’
      • ‘I can go on raving about this film but I just prefer to let you guys watch it and lose yourself in one of the most immersive cinema experiences ever.’
      absorb, engross, occupy, engage, involve, engulf, bury
      View synonyms
  • 3Fail to win (a game or contest)

    ‘England lost the first Test match’
    no object ‘they lost by one vote’
    • ‘Games between these sides have always been close encounters and so this game proved with neither side deserving to lose the game.’
    • ‘That said however neither side deserved to lose a game that was played under the most appalling conditions.’
    • ‘They failed to capitalize and ended up losing the game 6-3, coming home with the bronze medal.’
    • ‘They failed to reach the knock out stages after narrowly losing the group games.’
    • ‘Remember last year Tour lost the same game and went on to a county final success later in the year.’
    • ‘They had been the champions, now they lost the fifth game of the first round at home.’
    • ‘New Jersey took a 21-point lead into the final period of that contest yet lost the game.’
    • ‘Something had to give in the Premiership game of the day when undefeated Aberdeen took on a Melrose team who have gone four games without losing a match.’
    • ‘After the election, he fought to keep it in the same spot, failed, and lost the race.’
    • ‘The bottom line is that Canada hates to lose a hockey game.’
    • ‘Both sides, having lost their opening games to Pakistan, are without a point in the tournament.’
    • ‘It still is a surprise when the country that invented basketball loses an international game.’
    • ‘It was a brave decision, but the correct one as neither side deserved to lose this particular game.’
    • ‘It was a pity that either side had to lose this game, as both contributed so much to a wonderful evening's entertainment.’
    • ‘The Cork side have lost all four games to date, so on all known form this should result in a Naas victory.’
    • ‘England have defaulted a match in this tournament, but are yet to lose a game on the field.’
    • ‘He lost in the match of the season to the current league champions and then lost a tight game away to an improving Aston Villa side.’
    • ‘Neither side deserved to lose a game that see-sawed back and forth for the whole hour-plus.’
    • ‘Neither side deserved to lose this game but with just three minutes left on the clock Ballyhar struck for the winner.’
    • ‘They won all four league games and lost the final to West Indies in the Triangular in Zimbabwe.’
    be defeated, be beaten, suffer defeat, be the loser, be conquered, be vanquished, be trounced, be worsted, be bested by, get the worst, have the worst, come off second-best, lose out, fail, come to grief, meet one's waterloo
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1with two objects Cause (someone) to fail to win (a game or contest)
      ‘that shot lost him the championship’
      • ‘I really fear making a mistake or a wrong decision that costs us points or loses us games.’
      • ‘You have to realize that you missing one shot or turning the ball over one time is not going to lose you a game.’
      • ‘Then you realise that he's not making mistakes playing a game in which a quarterback can more easily lose you a game than win it.’
      • ‘I was just a pawn in his game, he'd have moved on and thrown me away when I lost him his game.’
      • ‘If your opponent has already captured three of your yellow ghosts then he's in a bit of trouble as any capture he makes runs the risk of losing him the game.’
      • ‘I love Brady because he never misses a week and he rarely does anything to lose you games.’
      • ‘That was enough to lose him that world championship he desired.’
      • ‘His antics lost him the first game, for which he didn't arrive, and the second, which he threw away.’
      be defeated by, be beaten by, be conquered by, be vanquished by, be trounced by, be worsted by, be bested by, be beaten into second place by
      View synonyms
  • 4Earn less (money) than one is spending or has spent.

    ‘the paper is losing £1.5 million a month’
    no object ‘he lost heavily on box office flops’
    • ‘This has resulted in the nation losing a lot money as funds continue being spent on the same projects and in this way progress is retarded.’
    • ‘That means that the government would lose money with the current tax structure.’
    • ‘None of those networks wanted to show the news because it's expensive, they lose money on it.’
    • ‘Our competitors will raise their prices because they're losing money.’
    • ‘Despite a reported rise in advertising revenue, the paper continued to lose money.’
    • ‘They were told that the paper was losing money and there were no other interested buyers.’
    • ‘Two of the seven ready meals factories were losing money.’
    • ‘The airlines have taken away all the frills because they claim to be losing huge sums of money.’
    • ‘In terms of real money, Americans are losing income faster than at any time since the Great Depression.’
    • ‘To the best of my knowledge it still loses money so why spend even more money breaking the company up even further.’
    • ‘On the ownership side of it, I'm the one who has to control spending, especially if you're losing money.’
    • ‘This column has always argued that economic freedom and the opportunity to make, spend and lose money is central to a creative society.’
    • ‘Although the company claims it was not losing money, profit levels were thought to have been negligible.’
    • ‘He dealt with a number of restituted properties, but found he was losing money rather than profiting.’
    • ‘These investors have been badly hit by the cutback in policy values and have lost substantial sums of money.’
    • ‘In fact, many of us who export are already losing money, but hoping that the dollar will drop so that our businesses will survive.’
    • ‘The fund only loses money when the proposed deal is not completed for any reason.’
    • ‘For the race promoter, every single event is a gamble between losing money, earning money, or just breaking even.’
    • ‘A similar number of posts were cut in 2003 when the company, losing money heavily at the time, announced it was off-shoring some operations to India.’
    • ‘The society also operates a compensation scheme so clients will not lose money if funds are not recovered.’
  • 5Waste or fail to take advantage of (time or an opportunity)

    ‘he has lost his chance of becoming world No. 1’
    ‘the government lost no time in holding fresh elections’
    • ‘Was I saying that I needed to move faster, or else I would lose all of my chances?’
    • ‘Many such opportunities would be lost if the market for generic phonenames did not exist.’
    • ‘Some might operate on or near the surface, losing much of their advantage.’
    • ‘He repeated that it was time all worked together to ensure that we did not lose such a real opportunity for the West of Ireland.’
    • ‘But, if we continue to bury our heads in the sand then these opportunities will be lost.’
    • ‘Outside the project this investment opportunity may well be lost.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, she was gone in a blink of an eye and the opportunity to speak was lost.’
    • ‘For without it, the developing world and the millions in it who live in extreme poverty will lose the best chance they have of improving their lot in life.’
    • ‘The opportunity that was lost was the opportunity to challenge the Local Plan.’
    • ‘Just when it seemed we were getting the go ahead, it looks like this opportunity might be lost.’
    • ‘That opportunity has been forever lost, to the relief of those who would now live under its flight path.’
    • ‘It is certainly an issue I raised at the time, but time has passed and that opportunity has been lost.’
    • ‘An opportunity will be lost, and proper democracy will remain just that bit further out of reach.’
    • ‘Tying up an opponent is usually good, but it also ties up one of yours which can lose a valuable scoring opportunity.’
    • ‘If the idea of buying a sugar company scared the growers, losing such an opportunity was worse.’
    • ‘It would be a great shame for this opportunity to be lost, mostly on the grounds of increased traffic.’
    • ‘But trains would have to reverse on departure from both, so any advantage would be completely lost.’
    • ‘Both chances have been lost - the first in part, the second it seems conclusively.’
    • ‘Out in the hallway Tim cursed silently as the gunfire sounded, knowing that their slim advantage had just been lost.’
    • ‘A great opportunity has been lost which would have rid our game of cynical fouling.’
    neglect, waste, squander, fail to grasp, fail to take, fail to take advantage of, let pass, miss, forfeit, give up, ignore, disregard
    View synonyms


The verb lose is sometimes mistakenly written as loose, as in this would cause them to loose 20 to 50 per cent (correct form is … to lose 20 to 50 per cent). There is a word loose, but it is very different—normally an adjective, meaning ‘untethered; not held in place; detached’, as in loose cobbles; the handle was loose; set loose


  • have nothing to lose

    • Be in a situation that is so bad that even if an action is unsuccessful it cannot make it any worse.

      ‘she decided she had nothing to lose by taking the initiative’
      • ‘You have nothing to lose but stand to gain peace of mind!’
      • ‘Sentenced to die, a convicted contract killer has nothing to lose when he snatches a policeman's pistol.’
      • ‘We have nothing to lose, because we had nothing to start with.’
      • ‘‘When I'm abroad I feel I have nothing to lose and everything to gain,’ he says.’
      • ‘‘We have nothing to lose and everything to gain from the game,’ he said.’
      • ‘We've been boxed into a corner and have nothing to lose.’
      • ‘A year ago she beat players because she adopted a youthful attitude of having nothing to lose.’
      • ‘If not, I have nothing to lose by telling you the truth.’
      • ‘As someone who's faced more than her share of hardships lately, she should know a thing or two about having nothing to lose by taking a chance.’
      • ‘Nobody expects us to win and so we have nothing to lose.’
  • lose heart

    • Become discouraged.

      ‘seeing all the things that had to be done, she lost heart’
      • ‘Even the most dedicated health professional, faced with continuing requests to do more with less, eventually loses heart and looks for employment in the private sector or outside the industry.’
      • ‘He finds he is not fit physically for the struggle, and he loses heart and gives up.’
      • ‘What should have happened was the next week they should have marched again, but after that march people really lost heart.’
      • ‘By then the protesters appeared to have lost heart and left the lecture hall looking disconsolate as the audience gave Mr Jones a round of applause.’
      • ‘Professional athletes have found that dogged persistence, stamina and endurance - and never giving up, letting up, or losing heart is one of the main keys to becoming a great professional athlete.’
      • ‘This is the one hurdle at which most listeners coming in hope, tend to falter and often lose heart and turn away.’
      • ‘However discouraging the prospect, he never lost heart.’
      • ‘The activists are said to have lost heart, and the floating voters - unhappy at progress in the health service and education - will not bother to walk to the polling booth.’
      • ‘There is no reason for him to lose heart because such things have happened in the past.’
      • ‘It really is like a war zone there and we are losing heart.’
      be despondent, lose heart, give up hope, become dispirited, become dejected, despond
      View synonyms
  • lose height

    • (of an aircraft) descend to a lower level in flight.

      • ‘It was really getting a lot darker now so I cut back to tickover and began to lose height to come in to land.’
      • ‘If you ease off the power, the plane loses height quite quickly.’
      • ‘The plane lost height very quickly with three stops on the way down.’
      • ‘It was losing height and its engine started to splutter and finally, after catching again, died away.’
      • ‘Half an hour later the airplane lost height again and the captain was on the loudspeakers once more: ‘This is your captain speaking.’’
      • ‘Just one second later, 44 seconds before the collision, the Swiss air traffic controller instructed the Tupolev to lose height as quickly as possible, contrary to the automatic warning he had just received.’
      • ‘Despite it being a biplane, I really did need very low power settings and improbably high speeds to make it lose height.’
      • ‘You begin to lose height very quickly and it is important to take care on this descent.’
      • ‘This would cause the airplane to lose height rapidly at about 3000 feet per minute.’
      • ‘Paul made a pass, then circled back round for his landing, as the revs dropped we lost height then glided in for a smooth landing.’
  • lose one's mind (or one's marbles)

    • informal Go insane.

      • ‘Tragically, his boat was later found adrift, no sign of him on board, and in a filthy cabin were the insane diary entries of one who had clearly lost his mind.’
      • ‘I pretty much lost my mind between March and September.’
      • ‘Yes, I've probably lost my mind, but if that's true, I don't really care.’
      • ‘A long time ago he began to lose his mind and he started imagining things that are not real.’
      • ‘So then I went to Nantucket and lost my mind for a minute.’
      • ‘She laughed, her eyes weren't focused and she seemed to have lost her mind and gone insane.’
      • ‘She looked at me as if I had lost my mind, then she looked out the window.’
      • ‘Sometimes the cause is not very clear and we think that we have lost our mind, that we are crazy.’
      • ‘But in his circles all neurological problems were known as having lost one's marbles.’
      • ‘I lost my mind and I ran back home, trying to explain it to my mom.’
      become insane, lose one's reason, lose one's mind, take leave of one's senses, go off one's head, go crazy
      View synonyms
  • lose sleep

    • usually with negativeWorry about something.

      ‘no one is losing any sleep over what he thinks of us’
      • ‘I struggled with this and even lost sleep over it.’
      • ‘The owner says he has avoided layoffs, but he's losing sleep.’
      • ‘But people now losing sleep over looming crime should control the urge to adopt desperate devices, which may also cause them to lose friends.’
      • ‘When she was five, I lost sleep over sending her to kindergarten.’
      • ‘It's a brave move and I must admit I have lost sleep over it.’
      • ‘It is not something I lose sleep worrying about.’
      • ‘The worst thing that the civilised world lost sleep over was the impending Millennium.’
      • ‘He lost sleep trying to find the right tone, but shedding the classical acting style helped.’
      • ‘The Pope, who aides say is losing sleep over the possibility of war, celebrated a Mass that began with a stiff wind blowing in from Siberia over the flat steppes and ended in sunshine.’
      • ‘True, from time to time, feelings will be hurt in these discussions, but why lose sleep worrying about the self-esteem problems of politicians?’
      fret, be worried, be concerned, be anxious, agonize, brood, dwell on, panic, get in a panic, lose sleep, get worked up, get in a fluster, get overwrought, be on tenterhooks
      View synonyms
  • lose one's (or the) way

    • 1Become unable to find one's way.

      ‘we took a wrong turn and lost our way’
      • ‘You cannot really lose the way since you only need stay on the top of the ridge and go up.’
      • ‘Gardaí believe he may have become disorientated in the dark and lost his way before straying into a field and falling into a slurry pit.’
      • ‘Being unable to read sometimes slowed me down when I lost my way on the road and kept me from being all I could be, but it no longer saddened me.’
      • ‘Lost in thought, Leon didn't realize that he had lost his way, his horse having wandered away from the group.’
      • ‘Thomas ran and ran, and was able to escape from the big dog; but, by that time he had lost his way.’
      • ‘When he tried he would lose his way and not only couldn't he find the water, he couldn't find his way back to the barn.’
      • ‘Pushing through the trees and undergrowth was definitely not fun, and there were several panicky parts where I was sure that we had lost our way, but now, finally, we were clear of that.’
      • ‘I wasn't the only one who lost the way either so just be sure to keep your wits about you.’
      • ‘The fog causes Alec to lose his way, and the moonlight comes out when he returns to Tess sleeping.’
      • ‘On the way to Aisha, a true indigenous Berber woman, we managed to lose the way many times.’
      1. 1.1No longer have a clear idea of one's purpose or motivation in an activity.
        ‘the company has lost its way and should pull out of general insurance’
        • ‘It is this consent and the belief in that promise which is wavering as fighting spreads - and along with it the idea that they are losing their way and have no clear idea how to reassert themselves.’
        • ‘But to me, it says a lot more about how newspaper editors - and not readers - have lost their way.’
        • ‘France, eventually unable to withstand the English pressure once the home side had started to put their game together, lost their way in the final quarter.’
        • ‘Acres of land had been left wasting, livestock and citrus farming had lost their way and the workers had been retrained in professional and academic disciplines, he said.’
        • ‘His lectures were extremely clear and well-organized; he never lost his way in complicated arguments.’
        • ‘‘It is clear that the Government have lost their way on law and order,’ he writes.’
        • ‘As the years have gone by, I have come to believe that when we lose that spark of innocence, we begin to wander like sheep and inevitably lose our way.’
        • ‘They began as Keynesian demand management adherents but lost their way during the economic crisis of the 1970's to finish up mild monetarists.’
        • ‘The difficult thing is doing what I do, getting hold of players who have lost their way and making them into good ones.’
        • ‘I was making the point that we had really lost our way and lost the support of a lot of folks.’
  • you can't lose

    • Used to express the belief that someone must inevitably profit from an action or undertaking.

      ‘we're offering them for only £2.50—you can't lose!’
      • ‘Forget the nervous breakdown Helen, take my advice and go for it girl - you can't lose.’
      • ‘Here we will look at another Craps betting option in which, for one roll anyway, you can't lose!’
      • ‘As long as you follow this rule, you can't lose!’
      • ‘Go for it - you can't lose.’
      • ‘For the most part, keep being a good friend and see what develops; Even if you don't become boyfriend / girlfriend, you'll have a great guy pal - either way, you can't lose!’
      • ‘He convinces you if you play the schemes right, you can't lose.’
      • ‘You should bet the table limit, because you can't lose.’
      • ‘In other words, you can't lose, and you can only gain.’
      • ‘Do what you love with people you care about, and you can't lose.’
      • ‘Go on, you can't lose and you just might acquire the confidence to make an outstanding success at your home business or other challenging venture!’

Phrasal Verbs

  • lose out

    • 1Be beaten in competition.

      ‘they lost out to France in the finals’
      • ‘Only two of the ten performers up before the public vote on Saturday night were able to make it through to the final round and Kate was among those who lost out to fellow contestants Mark and Roxanne.’
      • ‘Two unhappy chappies who lost out to female candidates at the last election obtained a finding under employment laws that all-women lists were illegal.’
      • ‘It is thought that Urbis, which was supposed to pay for itself, has lost out to the Imperial War Museum, the revamped City Art Gallery and the Museum of Science and Industry, which are all free.’
      • ‘Peers yesterday urged Ministers to step in if the National Railway Museum lost out to a foreign investor in the bidding war for the train.’
      • ‘Division three leaders Frog lost out to Holgate WMC.’
      • ‘In cold and wintry conditions in Kirkwall on Saturday, Orkney's First and Second rugby squads lost out to their visiting opponents.’
      • ‘What do you give the company that had every advantage going and still lost out to smaller, less privileged competitors?’
      • ‘In 1980, Denis Healey lost out to Michael Foot, and Labour imploded.’
      • ‘The music industry says it has lost out to free, unauthorised song-sharing websites and the proliferation of CD-copying.’
      • ‘Scotland may have lost out to Ireland as the location for the filming of Braveheart but Scottish Screen is to hit back in its biggest drive ever to attract Hollywood film-makers to the country.’
      • ‘There were runs galore at Rawtenstall where the home side lost out to Werneth after the visitors had plundered 307-6 off the home attack.’
      • ‘Now we learn that Scotland has lost out to Newcastle over a donation of at least £1m because of this dogged refusal to countenance educational alternatives.’
      • ‘Plans for the building to replace five temporary classrooms at the school have been on hold since the Council lost out to a higher bidder for the land earlier this year.’
      • ‘‘I really thought that I'd done my stint as leader, but when David lost out to a handful of votes a lot of new councillors were voted in,’ she said.’
      • ‘When Celtic lost out to Basle in a Champions League qualifier 14 months ago, it was widely agreed that the side were back-sliding.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, a further blow has been dealt to Scottish sailing with the announcement that Edinburgh will not feature in the Volvo Ocean Race having lost out to Rotterdam.’
      • ‘The Scots lost out to Wales 22-14 in the opening round of the event, but hope for better things in the 2.30 pm kick-off today.’
      • ‘In the end, he narrowly lost out to Australian double-act Lano & Woodley.’
      • ‘Scotland's rolling glens and scenic lochs have already lost out to eastern Europe and are now losing the battle to attract India's lucrative film industry, movie chiefs have warned.’
      • ‘She added that the town also lost out to places such as Moreton and Stow, which have more picturesque architecture and passing tourist traffic.’
      be defeated, be beaten, suffer defeat, be the loser, be conquered, be vanquished, be trounced, be worsted, be bested by, get the worst, have the worst, come off second-best, lose out, fail, come to grief, meet one's waterloo
      View synonyms
    • 2Be deprived of an opportunity; be disadvantaged.

      ‘youngsters who were losing out on regular schooling’
      • ‘They also created fascinating projects that showed how to save cement and other construction materials, without losing out on quality or strength of the structure.’
      • ‘Owners of shops, hotels and business establishments on this street, felt they were losing out on genuine customers who couldn't find space for their vehicles.’
      • ‘That's a huge dent in our finances and obviously if we have to remain closed, we're losing out on a massive chunk of our income at the same time.’
      • ‘The recent Easter celebrations, which according to the Bulgarian tradition include eating lamb, were a little overshadowed by news that the country is losing out on lamb exports.’
      • ‘‘Without milk and eggs, you are losing out on nutrients,’ she says.’
      • ‘It is a huge problem because prisoners who are taking drugs do not take part in the various programmes available to them in the jail and are losing out on that chance.’
      • ‘It also argues that the public is now losing out on their return for investment as it is being taken away from them by the government.’
      • ‘Understandably, with farmers facing loss of income through losing out on premiums and sale of lambs, the scheme has evoked a good deal of anger among the sheep farming community.’
      • ‘Many of these farmers did not have an opportunity to increase numbers and as a result, are losing out on any compensation.’
      • ‘As a Middle Eastern history student, losing out on learning such a rich language has deeper implications than you may think.’
      be unable to take advantage of, fail to benefit from
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Old English losian ‘perish, destroy’, also ‘become unable to find’, from los ‘loss’.