Definition of costly in US English:


adjectivecostliest, costlier

  • 1Costing a lot; expensive.

    ‘major problems requiring costly repairs’
    • ‘All the time our idiot in his costly clothing with expensive tackle failed to catch a single fish.’
    • ‘They have plowed billions into the project and are keen to ensure it doesn't turn into a costly flightless bird.’
    • ‘As in real life, a managerial appointment made in haste could end up being financially costly in the long run.’
    • ‘It's a costly ritual, and one that I begrudge, but it beats my woeful attempts with a needle and thread.’
    • ‘This scared her because she feared not following through might one day be costly in terms of her job.’
    • ‘Legal processes are costly in terms of both the fees and the management time involved.’
    • ‘There can be a question mark over access to the property and it could prove impossible or costly to try to cover all the options.’
    • ‘Many people are going to find it is too costly to apply to the university of their choice.’
    • ‘It is also useful for parents wishing to let their kids play with a toy before making a costly purchase.’
    • ‘Uneven pavements can cause very serious injuries which is costly for health services and the council.’
    • ‘Having to pull back at the last minute was costly in both money and reputation.’
    • ‘The more you reduce something, the harder and more costly it becomes to shrink it any further.’
    • ‘Even putting together a bid, with no guarantee of success, would be costly.’
    • ‘The problem with this argument is that the managerial regime is still relatively costly in two ways.’
    • ‘Research of this kind requires a lot of expensive brainpower and costly equipment.’
    • ‘Church authorities decided to demolish the building because it was proving too costly to maintain.’
    • ‘It was considered to be too costly to repair and was offered for sale and removal.’
    • ‘Being able to prevent costly repairs is crucial on such expensive machinery.’
    • ‘The repairs will not only be costly but will also take a considerable amount of time to complete.’
    • ‘It's expensive, but not as eye-wateringly costly as owning and running your own jet.’
    expensive, dear, high-cost, high-priced, highly priced, big-budget, overpriced, exorbitant, extortionate, immoderate, extravagant
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Causing suffering, loss, or disadvantage.
      ‘the government's biggest and most costly mistake’
      • ‘Several anglers meanwhile did own up to missing bites, which proved costly.’
      • ‘In fairness, it was probably the only mistake the referee made all night but it was costly.’
      • ‘It could prove a costly mistake and mean the difference between community service and prison.’
      • ‘It indicates that the dropped catch proved too costly for the team.’
      • ‘But he suffered a costly motor failure in his second heat when his motor failed at the starting gate.’
      • ‘The miss proved costly when, five minutes later, his own goal put the game beyond them.’
      • ‘Mistakes also tend to figure highly and sometimes those mistakes can prove to be very costly.’
      • ‘Such knowledge could save them from some costly misunderstandings and mistakes.’
      • ‘As can be seen from the failure to pinpoint him this time round, the lapse in security was a careless and costly blunder.’
      • ‘This will teach him very early in life that some mistakes are costly and cannot afford to be made again.’
      • ‘With hindsight it might have been a costly mistake but we put the education of our students first and foremost.’
      • ‘However, a couple of fatal flaws in an otherwise solid defence proved costly.’
      • ‘This was to prove costly both in financial terms and in the loss of status in western Europe.’
      • ‘It seems the council missed out on an opportunity and made a costly mistake.’
      • ‘When is somebody going to take responsibility for these costly failures and mistakes?’
      • ‘He later admitted his decision to try and drive the green on the third was a costly mistake.’
      • ‘It is also a pity that, after such a fine career, he made such a costly error.’
      • ‘The more places help and support are available, the greater their chances of kicking the costly habit.’
      catastrophic, ruinous, disastrous, calamitous, cataclysmic, devastating, crippling, crushing, fatal, lethal, damaging, harmful, injurious, deleterious, woeful, grievous, lamentable, dire, awful, terrible, unfortunate
      View synonyms