Definition of at a loss in US 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’
    • ‘I'm still at a loss for a word to describe this stupid, thoughtless insularity.’
    • ‘Then we were at a loss for what to do next till I mentioned bowling.’
    • ‘She seems to be at a loss for things to do, like thousands of others of her ilk.’
    • ‘So, returning to the desk, I was momentarily at a loss for suitable Sunday activity.’
    • ‘He seemed at a loss for words, and then he surprised me with a shy smile.’
    • ‘Again I'm at a loss for words and mention something about how he's a man of great stature.’
    • ‘It's an easy, catch all term that you can apply when you're at a loss for words.’
    • ‘I am at a loss for words to properly describe what I feel when I look at that article.’
    • ‘Luckily, they made plenty of other mistakes, so we were never at a loss for entertainment!’
    • ‘Needless to say I was at a loss for words and thought, is he being his humorous self or is he serious?’
    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 railroad running at a loss’
    • ‘One contractor has said he does not intend to operate at a loss and will now re-evaluate his fees.’
    • ‘Others, even though they stayed open, generally operated at a loss in the winter months.’
    • ‘Bookings are falling because the building is in such a poor state, and so the building is operating at a loss.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The country has been operating at a loss, as an economy, for a number of years.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If any bus operator is running the business at a loss, he shall surrender the permit.’
    • ‘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.’