Definition of lose in US 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’
    • ‘It's been upsetting because we have lost a lot of our local customers, who are our main supporters.’
    • ‘Businesses and service organizations were losing employees and customers weekly, daily, and eventually hourly.’
    • ‘Not only are they losing their jobs, they're losing their pensions as well.’
    • ‘Schools in Bradford's most deprived areas could lose thousands of pounds of funding.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But you know, the manufacturing jobs disappear, you lose control over your space.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If family support disappears and a patient loses housing or a job or both, what can the clinician do?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This de-motivates people - as a result they leave the party, they lose enthusiasm, they cease to be active.’
    • ‘Speaking from Paris, he said he was relieved at the outcome but still upset at having lost his job.’
    • ‘I didn't dare make a move in case she got upset and I lost my free transport.’
    • ‘Workers had been warned last week that they could lose their jobs after the site lost a major contract.’
    • ‘Customers stood to lose a large proportion of their capital because the value of the 30 companies plunged as the stock market nosedived.’
    • ‘Perhaps a third or more of all cropland is losing topsoil faster than new soil is forming, thereby reducing the land's inherent productivity.’
    • ‘As a result, customers face losing hundreds of pounds if they no longer wish to travel.’
    • ‘Players will lose time and money, people will lose jobs, and customers will lose their product.’
    be deprived of, suffer the loss of, no longer have, stop having
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Cause (someone) to fail to gain or retain (something)
      ‘you lost me my appointment at the university’
      • ‘'Being female lost me my job'.’
      • ‘Spending time in an alcohol detox centre lost me my career with the federal government.’
      • ‘Off I went into another manic episode, one that lost me my first job as a social worker, due to my instability.’
      • ‘He fulfilled his duties conscientiously, but his support for the proclamation of the district as a city lost him his seat in 1950.’
      • ‘His plea of insanity lost him his job, and his credibility.’
      • ‘But it's a game that might lose you just as many regular readers as it gets you.’
      be unable to take advantage of, fail to benefit from
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Be deprived of (a close relative or friend) through their death or as a result of the breaking off of a relationship.
      ‘she lost her husband in the fire’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘For the thousands who had lost relatives or friends, it had the effect of a further slap in the face.’
      • ‘The pair were both touched by the work of the specialist ward when they lost children to premature deaths.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And for my mother, this is a double loss, she has lost her friend, sister and daughter.’
      • ‘A friend of mine recently lost his mother to cancer after she was hospitalized for one year.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Too many of us lose our mothers, sisters, daughters and friends to this disease.’
      • ‘It was so horrible not only losing my father, but losing my closest friend too!’
      • ‘Charlie survived the war unhurt, although he lost many relatives and close friends.’
      • ‘The death of any relative is devastating but to lose three grandchildren in tragic circumstances is more than most of us could bear.’
      • ‘My heartfelt sympathy goes out to all the families who have lost sons and husbands, fathers, brothers.’
      • ‘What about the countless German families who lost their sons and husbands during the conflict?’
      • ‘Many of my friends, and my wife, lost grandparents during their twenties too.’
      • ‘Both my parents lost relatives very dear to them, and the wider circle of relations has suffered some tough times too.’
      • ‘And to those who have lost relatives and friends, be assured that you are not forgotten.’
      • ‘It seems that every week a friend of mine loses a parent.’
    3. 1.3 (of a pregnant woman) miscarry (a baby) or suffer the death of (a baby) during childbirth.
      • ‘These problems increase their risk of not being able to get pregnant, losing a baby, or having a baby too early.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At home she rebelled, ran away, did drugs, slept around, got pregnant and lost the baby.’
      • ‘She was taken to hospital losing blood and was told by doctors she had been five months pregnant but had lost her baby.’
      • ‘Other women said they were attacked when pregnant and claim they lost their babies.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I hope she doesn't lose the baby and die herself in the process.’
      • ‘She did lose her third baby however, although I have no idea if this had any connection with smoking.’
      • ‘She became convinced she was losing her baby and insisted her husband take her to hospital.’
      • ‘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 has reportedly been put under round-the-clock medical care over fears she could lose her unborn baby..’
      • ‘However, Fiona fell pregnant and now wants to get through these nine months, knowing she could lose her baby.’
      • ‘Jane felt particular empathy for couples who had problem pregnancies or who lost their baby.’
    4. 1.4be lost Be destroyed or killed, especially through accident or as a result of military action.
      ‘a fishing disaster in which 19 local men were lost’
      • ‘The ship had 5 officers and 33 men on board when sunk, of whom 2 officers and 24 men were lost.’
      • ‘Twelve men were lost and the ship abandoned; she later sank while under tow in the South Atlantic.’
      • ‘Forty additional men were lost either from gunfire or tragic mishap.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘While attempting rescue a small boat manned by local men capsized and four 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’
      • ‘Subsequent programmes should be based on how much weight has been lost initially.’
      • ‘They also showed trends toward losing lesser amounts of body weight.’
      • ‘And that motivation, rather than the diet, might explain whatever weight they lose.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It is imperative that he loses substantial amount of weight.’
      • ‘Weight management is a complex issue, so that the amount of weight lost will vary for each individual.’
      • ‘Become concerned if the patient begins to lose more weight than 6 pounds in 6 months.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The team which loses the most weight combined is the winner that week.’
      • ‘That helped him tone up, lose a little more weight, and feel even better.’
      • ‘However, having lost some weight I am still not a size 10 and the dress is too tight.’
      • ‘They should not generally be advised to lose any more weight, but I would suggest they work on their shape.’
      • ‘He weighs her to make sure she is losing the amount of weight he has demanded.’
      • ‘If someone loses much more weight, it could be a cause for concern.’
      • ‘I've not lost the amount of weight I hoped but I have lost some and I'm feeling a lot better for it.’
      • ‘To lose body weight, essentially you have to burn more calories than you take in.’
      • ‘If you really need a number, a healthy amount of weight to lose is about one pound per week.’
      • ‘She had tried other slimming classes but was unsuccessful as any weight she lost she put back on again quickly.’
      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘I lost some weight last year in an effort to calm down my increasingly regular heartburn.’
    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’
      • ‘It also depends on the constancy of its rate; meaning, that a watch gains or loses the exact same amount of time each day.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘On most days, the watch loses about 0.5 seconds.’
      • ‘They gradually fell out of step, with one clock losing 5 seconds a day in relation to the other.’
    7. 1.7lose itinformal Lose control of one's temper or emotions.
      ‘in the end I completely lost it—I was screaming at them’
      • ‘Sadly, Hunter loses it completely in the next paragraph.’
      • ‘He could have lost it completely and run off screaming into the night, with no one at all on his tail.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This scene is particularly important since in the very act of proving his manhood, the hero loses it completely.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Josie rose to me, to keep me from losing it completely, but she was too slow.’
      • ‘If I see something that slightly resembles a spider, I'll freak out and lose it right on the spot.’
      • ‘The last thing she remembered before losing it completely was moving away from town.’
      • ‘Any suggestions that she was losing it are hereby completely rescinded.’
      • ‘I don't know what triggered it this time around, or what it is that keeps holding me back from losing it completely.’
      • ‘This was it, for me - the moment that I lost it and started crying uncontrollably.’
      • ‘I like that scene where Eva completely loses it and throws Kevin across the room and breaks his arm.’
      • ‘As they watched us, mainlanders would shake their heads and wonder whether we had lost it completely.’
      • ‘If he calls her Tracey I will lose it completely and burst out laughing.’
      • ‘He completely loses it, and lays his head down on the table, enjoying the moment.’
      • ‘There is a moment in the book when Patrick completely loses it.’
      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’
    • ‘Second is the fact that he is a most forgetful man and loses his all the time.’
    • ‘It's been lost, of course, in all the wanderings and dissolutions, which is sad.’
    • ‘We lost the car keys before and I used the mini torch to help me find them again.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘So, arriving ahead of time, I lose myself for 10 minutes down a path really called Dunwoman's Lane.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘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."’
      • ‘For several days we lost ourselves in the labyrinth of the old centre.’
      • ‘Heather pushed her way through a dense growth of rhododendrons; she had completely lost the path now.’
      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’
      • ‘Once there, the gunman hoped to lose his pursuers in the maze of large buildings.’
      • ‘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.’
      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!’
      • ‘Oh, thank God, we get to lose that awful two-tone weave!’
      • ‘They need to lose that awful voiceover.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This is where he loses me, and it's where the traditionalist argument always loses me.’
      • ‘He lost me there when he went into politician speak.’
      • ‘I have to admit he lost me there.’
    5. 2.5lose oneself in/be lost in Be or become deeply absorbed in (something)
      ‘he had been lost in thought’
      • ‘I would shirk my daily responsibilities, lay in front of the TV for hours, smoking and losing myself in what was on.’
      • ‘The deep notes put forth by the pseudo-lute were something you could lose yourself in.’
      • ‘He soon lost himself in the dream world of cinema.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A lone tourist baked in the sun as he lost himself in what must have been an enthralling book.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He says, ‘Once we have lost ourselves in the world the puppets create, we accept the message without even realising that we are learning.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A really quiet and disciplined audience lost themselves in symphonies of Schubert and Mozart.’
      • ‘Athletics was my refuge, something I could lose myself 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.’
      • ‘To be honest I wanted something that would be pleasurable, that would fill up my time, that I could lose myself in.’
      • ‘Later that afternoon, I located the book on the library shelves upstairs, and I lost myself in re-reading the novel.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I sat on my bed for hours on end, with my albums and my pop magazines, and lost myself in music.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If there was ever an album worth losing yourself in, this is it.’
      absorb, engross, occupy, engage, involve, engulf, bury
      View synonyms
  • 3Fail to win (a game or contest)

    no object ‘they lost by one vote’
    ‘the Bears lost the final game of the series’
    • ‘New Jersey took a 21-point lead into the final period of that contest yet lost the game.’
    • ‘It was a pity that either side had to lose this game, as both contributed so much to a wonderful evening's entertainment.’
    • ‘It was a brave decision, but the correct one as neither side deserved to lose this particular game.’
    • ‘They had been the champions, now they lost the fifth game of the first round at home.’
    • ‘After the election, he fought to keep it in the same spot, failed, and lost the race.’
    • ‘It still is a surprise when the country that invented basketball loses an international game.’
    • ‘Games between these sides have always been close encounters and so this game proved with neither side deserving to lose the game.’
    • ‘The bottom line is that Canada hates to lose a hockey game.’
    • ‘They failed to capitalize and ended up losing the game 6-3, coming home with the bronze medal.’
    • ‘Neither side deserved to lose this game but with just three minutes left on the clock Ballyhar struck for the winner.’
    • ‘Neither side deserved to lose a game that see-sawed back and forth for the whole hour-plus.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The Cork side have lost all four games to date, so on all known form this should result in a Naas victory.’
    • ‘That said however neither side deserved to lose a game that was played under the most appalling conditions.’
    • ‘Remember last year Tour lost the same game and went on to a county final success later in the year.’
    • ‘Both sides, having lost their opening games to Pakistan, are without a point in the tournament.’
    • ‘They won all four league games and lost the final to West Indies in the Triangular in Zimbabwe.’
    • ‘They failed to reach the knock out stages after narrowly losing the group games.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘England have defaulted a match in this tournament, but are yet to lose a game on the field.’
    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. 3.1 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.’
      • ‘That was enough to lose him that world championship he desired.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His antics lost him the first game, for which he didn't arrive, and the second, which he threw away.’
      • ‘You have to realize that you missing one shot or turning the ball over one time is not going to lose you a game.’
      • ‘I was just a pawn in his game, he'd have moved on and thrown me away when I lost him his 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 love Brady because he never misses a week and he rarely does anything to lose you games.’
      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 $500,000 a month’
    no object ‘he lost heavily on box-office flops’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘That means that the government would lose money with the current tax structure.’
    • ‘Two of the seven ready meals factories were losing money.’
    • ‘The society also operates a compensation scheme so clients will not lose money if funds are not recovered.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They were told that the paper was losing money and there were no other interested buyers.’
    • ‘For the race promoter, every single event is a gamble between losing money, earning money, or just breaking even.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In fact, many of us who export are already losing money, but hoping that the dollar will drop so that our businesses will survive.’
    • ‘He dealt with a number of restituted properties, but found he was losing money rather than profiting.’
    • ‘None of those networks wanted to show the news because it's expensive, they lose money on it.’
    • ‘In terms of real money, Americans are losing income faster than at any time since the Great Depression.’
    • ‘Our competitors will raise their prices because they're losing money.’
    • ‘Although the company claims it was not losing money, profit levels were thought to have been negligible.’
    • ‘Despite a reported rise in advertising revenue, the paper continued to lose money.’
    • ‘The fund only loses money when the proposed deal is not completed for any reason.’
    • ‘These investors have been badly hit by the cutback in policy values and have lost substantial sums of money.’
    • ‘The airlines have taken away all the frills because they claim to be losing huge sums of money.’
    • ‘To the best of my knowledge it still loses money so why spend even more money breaking the company up even further.’
  • 5Waste or fail to take advantage of (time or an opportunity)

    ‘they lost every chance to score in the first inning’
    ‘he lost no time in attacking his opponent's tax proposals’
    • ‘It would be a great shame for this opportunity to be lost, mostly on the grounds of increased traffic.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, she was gone in a blink of an eye and the opportunity to speak was lost.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Tying up an opponent is usually good, but it also ties up one of yours which can lose a valuable scoring opportunity.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘That opportunity has been forever lost, to the relief of those who would now live under its flight path.’
    • ‘Just when it seemed we were getting the go ahead, it looks like this opportunity might be lost.’
    • ‘But trains would have to reverse on departure from both, so any advantage would be completely lost.’
    • ‘Many such opportunities would be lost if the market for generic phonenames did not exist.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Both chances have been lost - the first in part, the second it seems conclusively.’
    • ‘The opportunity that was lost was the opportunity to challenge the Local Plan.’
    • ‘An opportunity will be lost, and proper democracy will remain just that bit further out of reach.’
    • ‘If the idea of buying a sugar company scared the growers, losing such an opportunity was worse.’
    • ‘Was I saying that I needed to move faster, or else I would lose all of my chances?’
    • ‘It is certainly an issue I raised at the time, but time has passed and that opportunity has been lost.’
    • ‘Some might operate on or near the surface, losing much of their advantage.’
    • ‘Outside the project this investment opportunity may well be lost.’
    • ‘But, if we continue to bury our heads in the sand then these opportunities will be lost.’
    neglect, waste, squander, fail to grasp, fail to take, fail to take advantage of, let pass, miss, forfeit, give up, ignore, disregard
    View synonyms


See loose


  • have nothing to lose

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

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We have nothing to lose, because we had nothing to start with.’
      • ‘We've been boxed into a corner and have nothing to lose.’
      • ‘If not, I have nothing to lose by telling you the truth.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘A year ago she beat players because she adopted a youthful attitude of having nothing to lose.’
  • lose heart

    • Become discouraged.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He finds he is not fit physically for the struggle, and he loses heart and gives up.’
      • ‘It really is like a war zone there and we are losing heart.’
      • ‘What should have happened was the next week they should have marched again, but after that march people really 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There is no reason for him to lose heart because such things have happened in the past.’
      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.

      • ‘If you ease off the power, the plane loses height quite quickly.’
      • ‘It was really getting a lot darker now so I cut back to tickover and began to lose height to come in to land.’
      • ‘The plane lost height very quickly with three stops on the way down.’
      • ‘Despite it being a biplane, I really did need very low power settings and improbably high speeds to make it lose height.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You begin to lose height very quickly and it is important to take care on this descent.’
      • ‘Half an hour later the airplane lost height again and the captain was on the loudspeakers once more: ‘This is your captain speaking.’’
      • ‘This would cause the airplane to lose height rapidly at about 3000 feet per minute.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It was losing height and its engine started to splutter and finally, after catching again, died away.’
  • 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.’
      • ‘Sometimes the cause is not very clear and we think that we have lost our mind, that we are crazy.’
      • ‘She laughed, her eyes weren't focused and she seemed to have lost her mind and gone insane.’
      • ‘Yes, I've probably lost my mind, but if that's true, I don't really care.’
      • ‘I pretty much lost my mind between March and September.’
      • ‘A long time ago he began to lose his mind and he started imagining things that are not real.’
      • ‘But in his circles all neurological problems were known as having lost one's marbles.’
      • ‘So then I went to Nantucket and lost my mind for a minute.’
      • ‘She looked at me as if I had lost my mind, then she looked out the window.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The worst thing that the civilised world lost sleep over was the impending Millennium.’
      • ‘It's a brave move and I must admit I have lost sleep over it.’
      • ‘I struggled with this and even lost sleep over it.’
      • ‘When she was five, I lost sleep over sending her to kindergarten.’
      • ‘The owner says he has avoided layoffs, but he's losing sleep.’
      • ‘It is not something I lose sleep worrying about.’
      • ‘He lost sleep trying to find the right tone, but shedding the classical acting style helped.’
      • ‘But people now losing sleep over looming crime should control the urge to adopt desperate devices, which may also cause them to lose friends.’
      • ‘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 lost; fail to reach one's destination.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I wasn't the only one who lost the way either so just be sure to keep your wits about you.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘On the way to Aisha, a true indigenous Berber woman, we managed to lose the way many times.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The fog causes Alec to lose his way, and the moonlight comes out when he returns to Tess sleeping.’
      1. 1.1No longer have a clear idea of one's purpose or motivation in an activity or business.
        ‘the company has lost its way and should pull out of general insurance’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘I was making the point that we had really lost our way and lost the support of a lot of folks.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘‘It is clear that the Government have lost their way on law and order,’ he writes.’
        • ‘They began as Keynesian demand management adherents but lost their way during the economic crisis of the 1970's to finish up mild monetarists.’
        • ‘But to me, it says a lot more about how newspaper editors - and not readers - have lost their way.’
        • ‘The difficult thing is doing what I do, getting hold of players who have lost their way and making them into good ones.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
  • you can't lose

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

      ‘we're offering them for only $5.00—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!’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘As long as you follow this rule, you can't lose!’
      • ‘Do what you love with people you care about, and you can't lose.’
      • ‘Go for it - you can't lose.’
      • ‘He convinces you if you play the schemes right, you can't lose.’
      • ‘Forget the nervous breakdown Helen, take my advice and go for it girl - you can't lose.’
      • ‘In other words, you can't lose, and you can only gain.’
      • ‘You should bet the table limit, because you can't lose.’
      • ‘Here we will look at another Craps betting option in which, for one roll anyway, you can't lose!’

Phrasal Verbs

  • lose out

    • 1Be deprived of an opportunity to do or obtain something; 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘Without milk and eggs, you are losing out on nutrients,’ she says.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      be unable to take advantage of, fail to benefit from
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Be beaten in competition or replaced by.
        ‘they were disappointed at losing out to Chicago in the playoffs’
        • ‘That's very similar to the arguments made by labor and farm groups in the U.S. concerned about losing out to competitors.’
        • ‘‘But the fear of losing out in this new competition exists on both sides,’ he declared.’
        • ‘In a competitive market, companies that miss the boat on sensible energy efficiency investments will lose out to their more forward-looking competitors.’
        • ‘I was a little disappointed to see them lose out to NeXT.’
        • ‘If supervisors fail to put data on costs, sales, and revenue to good use, their companies will lose out to competitors who do.’
        • ‘Meanwhile the Junior Girls suffered a similar fate in their competition losing out also to the eventual winners in the semi-final, this time to a golden goal in extra time.’
        • ‘Publishers of medical journals should feel encouraged to make the content of their journals available as full text to avoid losing out to their competitors.’
        • ‘Public sector banks will lose out to competition’
        • ‘In a round robin competition they lost out by just one ace at the Semi-final stage.’
        • ‘If your business is not appearing on these search engines then you are losing out to your competitors that are looking for what you do.’


Old English losian ‘perish, destroy’, also ‘become unable to find’, from los ‘loss’.