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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So, returning to the desk, I was momentarily at a loss for suitable Sunday activity.’
    • ‘She seems to be at a loss for things to do, like thousands of others of her ilk.’
    • ‘Then we were at a loss for what to do next till I mentioned bowling.’
    • ‘I am at a loss for words to properly describe what I feel when I look at that article.’
    • ‘Needless to say I was at a loss for words and thought, is he being his humorous self or is he serious?’
    • ‘He seemed at a loss for words, and then he surprised me with a shy smile.’
    • ‘Luckily, they made plenty of other mistakes, so we were never at a loss for entertainment!’
    • ‘Again I'm at a loss for words and mention something about how he's a man of great stature.’
    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.’
    • ‘Nothing's more fun to buy than something you're sure is being sold at a loss.’
    • ‘Bookings are falling because the building is in such a poor state, and so the building is operating at a loss.’
    • ‘In the past, we were able to write business at a loss because we were making good money on our investments.’
    • ‘The country has been operating at a loss, as an economy, for a number of years.’
    • ‘It could not meet its obligations to the company and continued to operate 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The other was borrowing substantial funds and operating at a loss continuously.’