Definition of lost in US English:


  • past and past participle of lose


  • 1Unable to find one's way; not knowing one's whereabouts.

    ‘Help! We're lost!’
    ‘they got lost in the fog’
    • ‘You tell me, and I'll try not to get lost again the next time I drive through.’
    • ‘A fifth member turned up late, saying he got lost sightseeing, but the other four have not been seen.’
    • ‘But when road users, who were not familiar with the area, took the route, they got lost.’
    • ‘He got lost searching for the computer room, and when he eventually did call me back, the system had already righted itself.’
    • ‘With very few houses and tourist amenities it is very easy to get lost in these mountains after dark.’
    • ‘I remember some of them quite vividly even though they got lost years and years ago.’
    • ‘Last year the amount of skiable terrain was doubled, so it was inevitable that we would get lost.’
    • ‘So even if you've been before, there's a fair chance you'll get lost or disorientated.’
    • ‘At around 5am a lost and disorientated little black and white cat had appeared in their garden.’
    • ‘Abraham, who got lost traveling to the city, was also a bit erratic with his driving on the course.’
    • ‘In a foreign environment things happen and without clear explanation you can get lost very quickly.’
    • ‘But even so, you can still get lost down the trail, and that's the general idea.’
    • ‘Even though the woodlands here are relatively small, it's easy to get lost in them if you don't follow the paths.’
    • ‘I got lost driving back home, ended up on the way to Barking rather than Baker Street.’
    • ‘At the end, she decided to stick with the Main Street, so as not to be easily lost.’
    • ‘It's easy to get lost in the old city of Damascus but don't panic: the Syrians are kind and helpful.’
    • ‘It was admittedly a much better walk though being lost as we went away from the main paths and more into proper forest.’
    • ‘The fire then merged with another started by a lost hiker signaling a helicopter.’
    • ‘However, evening had come, and he found himself thoroughly lost in the maze of crooked, narrow streets.’
    • ‘Although the team got lost driving up, they were glad they came.’
    stray, astray, off-course, off-track, off the right track, disorientated, disoriented, having lost one's bearings, adrift, going round in circles, at sea
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    1. 1.1 Unable to be found.
      ‘he turned up with my lost golf clubs’
      • ‘It's nice to know that 70 people were actually looking for the lost child, and that they knew that there was one to look for.’
      • ‘When you poke about alongside a canal there are many lost and forgotten relics to be found of the old commercial nature of the place.’
      • ‘In some cases the card is not physically lost, but the critical information is in the possession of a third party.’
      • ‘Behind the sofa is one of the places in a home where all the lost things end up.’
      • ‘Thus, owners seeking to recover their lost pets will often look to the civil law for a remedy.’
      • ‘I murmured a prayer to St. Anthony to find a lost paper, looked down, and my hand was on it.’
      • ‘And in total I've probably spent more than a year looking for lost car keys.’
      • ‘Your cultural heritage is in critical danger of being lost and forgotten forever.’
      • ‘When we look hard we find things - lost notes and four-leaf clovers, invisible to less attentive eyes.’
      • ‘When he takes the back off to mend it, he finds the lost grand.’
      • ‘If your pet is then lost or stolen, there is a good chance that your pet will be returned to you.’
      • ‘A tearful little boy cannot sleep without a lost Teddy bear - which belonged to his baby brother.’
      missing, strayed, gone astray, gone missing, mislaid, misplaced, vanished, disappeared, forgotten, nowhere to be found
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    2. 1.2 (of a person) very confused or insecure or in great difficulties.
      ‘she stood there clutching a drink, feeling completely lost’
      ‘I'd be lost without her’
      • ‘She felt lost, defeated in every aspect of herself.’
      • ‘Knowing these people helps to understand why alcohol is such a boon to the lost and the lonely.’
      • ‘At the moment though, I just feel rather lost and disorientated myself.’
      • ‘Tonight, I felt lost beyond anything I have felt the entire time I have been here.’
  • 2Denoting something that has been taken away or cannot be recovered.

    ‘if only one could recapture one's lost youth’
    • ‘With a regular program of fitness the recovery of lost flexibility and strength will be noticeable.’
    • ‘He will not be paid but he will be recompensed for lost wages.’
    • ‘The black market in the illegal fuel is estimated to cost the Government £450m in lost tax revenue a year.’
    • ‘Other footballers find a way to reintegrate themselves into the sport and recover their lost reputations.’
    • ‘Police are still undertaking further investigations and trying to recover the lost relics.’
    • ‘It will fight the case that you are actually an employee and it will attempt to recover lost revenues.’
    • ‘Bully is a disturbing film and some of its images of a lost and wasted youth are unforgettable.’
    • ‘These remarkably lenient terms will cost the council £273,000 in lost interest.’
    • ‘Back injuries result in millions of hours of lost work time and countless hours of pain for people everywhere.’
    • ‘It has also been said that some are trying to recapture lost youth after children have flown the nest.’
    • ‘Older players in the team are jealous of school-boys as they represent their lost youth.’
    • ‘It's best not to stare at children too hard these days, but listening to them I found myself in some kind of reverie for my own lost youth.’
    • ‘Smokers who quit will not recover lost lung function, but the rate of decline may revert to that of a non-smoker.’
    • ‘Is it a longing for lost youth, a remembrance of a time of discovery when emotions were running out of control?’
    • ‘Of course, in movies it is not always desirable to recover lost memories.’
    • ‘We made up lost time and arrived at Gare du Nord on time, to be loaded into taxis and driven to our hotel for baths and showers and drinks before dinner.’
    • ‘Miserably, in trying to recover his lost childhood Jackson is depriving his own kids of theirs.’
    • ‘Any nervousness quickly dissolved as we catch up on lost years.’
    • ‘In his situation I imagined I would feel angry at lost years and frustrated dreams.’
    • ‘All now turned on the outcome of John's attempt to recover his lost lands.’
    bygone, past, former, one-time, previous, old, olden, departed, vanished, forgotten, unremembered, unrecalled, consigned to oblivion, extinct, dead, lost and gone, lost in time
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    1. 2.1 (of time or an opportunity) not used advantageously; wasted.
      ‘the decision meant a lost opportunity to create 200 jobs’
      • ‘The link as shown would have fitted very well into the city centre, and one cannot but lament the lost opportunity.’
      • ‘The fact he then learnt in a couple of weeks, but simply won't read books today, is an illustration of lost opportunity.’
      • ‘Slow and stately movement is compounding the lost opportunities of earlier wasted years.’
      • ‘What is really worrying is the lost opportunity with regard to this bill.’
      • ‘The orphaned Garden Festival site became a byword in lost opportunity.’
      • ‘Over dedication to a certain plan may result in lost opportunity.’
      • ‘As a result, to varying degrees, they have all suffered years of lost opportunity.’
      • ‘It is going to be a massive era for British sport and for football not to play a part will be a lost opportunity.’
      • ‘Has the educational system improved so much that it was worth the lost opportunities?’
      • ‘The overall feeling I got from these three features was that it was a lost opportunity.’
      • ‘The fact that this didn't happen in the first two years was a lost opportunity.’
      • ‘This bill is a lost opportunity for young people who need those services.’
      • ‘I was crying at the overwhelming sense of lost opportunity, and was probably not very good company in the bar afterwards.’
      • ‘The Central meanwhile were left to bemoan their lost opportunity to strike out.’
      • ‘It also made them keen to make up for lost opportunity and learn more about where they came from.’
      • ‘The story of the aquaculture industry is one of lost opportunity under this Government.’
      • ‘This could have been a lost opportunity for my friend to make a new friend and maybe meet others through him.’
      • ‘For many in the developing world it has been a decade of lost opportunity.’
      • ‘One thing is certain; that after the passage of time nothing can be done about the lost opportunity.’
      • ‘In later years, she made up for this lost time, never missing an opportunity to add to her infamy.’
      missed, forfeited, neglected, wasted, squandered, dissipated, gone by the board
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    2. 2.2 Having perished or been destroyed.
      ‘a memorial to the lost crewmen’
      • ‘Attending the weekend were some of the survivors, crew members who had left ship before the sinking, relatives of the lost crew members and the captain of the U-Boat responsible.’
      • ‘Participants will place 29 illuminated lanterns -- one for each of the lost crew members -- around the Fitzgerald's original anchor.’
      • ‘Last week, the Australian navy took family members of the lost crew members out to the wreck site, where they held a ceremony and dropped wreaths into the water.’
      • ‘Every year the bodies of lost soldiers of World War One (1914-1918) are being unearthed.’
      • ‘The shrubbery was symbolic, and one particular tree was planted in memory of the Keller's lost son.’
      extinct, died out, defunct, vanished, gone, perished
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  • 3(of a game or contest) in which a defeat has been sustained.

    ‘the lost election of 1994’
    • ‘The only thing wrong with him was probably a bombed test or a lost contest or something.’
    • ‘Bulgaria ranks second with the same amount of points but with four lost games.’
    • ‘The highest magnitude of anything in comparison to death, in my life then, was a lost basketball game.’
    • ‘Despite the lost games and the current record, SFU players are not doing so badly.’


  • all is not lost

    • Used to suggest that there is still some chance of success or recovery.

      • ‘Listening to this, made me feel that all is not lost yet.’
      • ‘However, in spite of the gloom, government sources yesterday suggested that perhaps all is not lost.’
      • ‘Fortunately all is not lost - on the landscape front at least.’
      • ‘But all is not lost for the pretty singer who is due to give birth today, there are already a number of top record companies knocking on her door.’
      • ‘On the musical side of the Carnival, all is not lost, though.’
      • ‘Just to show that all is not lost as far as civility in Anglo-Saxon politics is concerned, let me tell a fourth story from much more recent times.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, all is not lost in this dismal scenario.’
      • ‘Regardless of what the evidence might suggest, all is not lost.’
      • ‘However, all is not lost for the field hockey team.’
      • ‘Well, it may be a mangled mess, but all is not lost.’
  • be lost for words

    • Be so surprised, confused, or upset that one cannot think what to say.

      • ‘Talking about the contribution of his son, this father was lost for words.’
      • ‘I am not known for being lost for words but there was a moment when my mouth fell open and I was silent.’
      • ‘I was lost for words - it was like a dream to see everyone helping me out.’
      • ‘John was lost for words at the prospect of the team facing the all-Ireland final.’
      • ‘‘I thought you were lost for words,’ I murmured softly to myself.’
      • ‘For perhaps the only time in their lives, you imagine, both were lost for words.’
      • ‘He said: ‘I was lost for words, I didn't envisage it, but it made me feel great.’’
      • ‘He was lost for words, waving his hands over his head as his mouth opened and closed noiselessly.’
      • ‘'It's the only time I've ever been lost for words,’ he said.’
      • ‘And then, suddenly, the devastation hit and I simply was lost for words, and I didn't really know what we could do.’
      marvel, be amazed, be filled with amazement, be filled with admiration, be astonished, be surprised, be awed, stand in awe, be full of wonder, be lost for words, not believe one's ears, not believe one's eyes, not know what to say, be dumbfounded, gape, goggle, gawk
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  • be lost on

    • Fail to influence or be noticed or appreciated by (someone)

      ‘the significance of his remarks was not lost on Scott’
      • ‘It's also a demand that is lost on even the most experienced programmers too often these days.’
      • ‘Their hosts were obviously trying to show off for them, not realizing that their gestures were lost on all but Meredith.’
      • ‘Judging by the voluminous reaction of a humbled audience, that message was lost on no one in attendance.’
      • ‘Now the art of gambling is lost on most, and I don't claim to be an expert, but there are three common strategies that people will use, with varying success.’
      • ‘Meanings, tones, implications were lost on me.’
      • ‘The logic that it was important for the two countries to stand together now appeared to be lost on no one.’
      • ‘Not surprisingly, such nuances were lost on me and my high school classmates.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, the gag was lost on almost everyone she interviewed.’
      • ‘As such, a great deal of what the film was about was lost on me; I couldn't fully appreciate what was being done.’
      • ‘The irony of these remarks can scarcely have been lost on the assembled senators.’
  • get lost

    • informal often in imperativeGo away (used as an expression of anger or impatience)

      ‘Why don't you leave me alone? Go on, get lost!’
      • ‘Then another guy began trying to arrange a date with me, and I told him to get lost.’
      • ‘They basically told him to get lost as they supposedly had more important stuff to do.’
      • ‘The man must have told him to get lost because the drunk was waving his arms about and shouting obscenities.’
      • ‘Each time I met this shameless fellow, my first instinct was to slap him and tell him to get lost.’
      • ‘Colin used to be scared at first, but now he just tells Justin to get lost.’
      • ‘I motioned the driver to get lost and move on, but he didn't get the picture.’
      go away, go, leave, depart, get going, get out, be off with you, shoo
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  • give someone up for lost

    • Stop expecting that a missing person will be found alive.

      • ‘For a full hour nothing was seen of him, and every one gave him up for lost.’
      • ‘They heard me twice and then lost sight of me and gave me up for lost.’
      • ‘Now, after months of searching, she gave him up for lost.’
      • ‘He fell ill, so deathly ill, that the doctors gave him up for lost, and the mullahs prepared to give him the last rites.’
      • ‘Now, it seems to me that anyone in the USA writing as late as October, ought to be well aware that Amelia Earhart had been given up for lost long before.’
      • ‘Meantime the people in England gave him up for lost, and the hand of the wealthy and beautiful countess became the aim of the greedy courtiers.’
      • ‘He had searched for her, but eventually had to give her up for lost.’
      • ‘He had disappeared into the jungle with an Indian woman and was gone so long, weeks, that the explorer gave him up for lost and was ready to move on when he finally reappeared out of the forest.’
      • ‘Cherokee searchers were unable to find him and gave him up for lost.’
      • ‘If a warrior didn't return for a very, very long time, about ten years, then the family would mourn and give them up for lost.’
  • make up for lost time

    • Do something faster or more often in order to compensate for not having done it quickly or often enough before.

      • ‘‘It was nice for her to see her friends and I think she's making up for lost time,’ he added.’
      • ‘Dolly and Harry have spent most of the day outside, making up for lost time.’
      • ‘My work has taken me away a great deal and I want to make up for lost time whilst I am still hopefully young and fit enough to do so.’
      • ‘Between 1900 and 1910, the gallery made up for lost time, buying and accepting gifts of 28 works by women, including oil paintings, water colours, drawing prints and a sculpture.’
      • ‘I guess when you're thrown in with a group of people for a relatively short period of time, you make up for lost time by getting to know each other quickly.’
      • ‘She's made up for lost time and hasn't stopped talking since.’
      • ‘In any case, the 23-year-old has certainly been making up for lost time since his arrival.’
      • ‘Whether the partnership can move quickly enough to make up for lost time, however, remains to be seen.’
      • ‘They are now growing at an astonishing rate, making up for lost time and prospering as a result of their low taxes and competitive economies.’
      • ‘And she is now making up for lost time - avidly studying a scrapbook of newspaper cuttings about her progress compiled by her mother.’
  • be lost to

    • Be no longer affected by or accessible to.

      ‘once a vital member of the community, he is now lost to the world’
      • ‘Unfortunately, the story of his lying seems to have been lost to all except for the right wing of the blogosphere.’
      • ‘The places to stay on Cat Island can be counted on one hand, and there is a natural West Indian charm that is lost to most Caribbean islands nowadays.’
      • ‘So absorbed is he in the craft of the art in the making, as in the glimpsed unusual vision, that he is lost to the world.’
      • ‘He is lost to the world. Do you ever feel that way? Lost or confused?’
      • ‘His look softened when he realized that I was lost to what he was saying.’
      • ‘The majority of New Zealanders do not speak Maori so the absence of any interpreter meant that the message was lost to so many listeners.’
      • ‘When someone is deep in thought, or when he is daydreaming or sleeping, he is lost to the world, and oblivious to time.’
      • ‘The age and meaning of the name is lost to history.’