Definition of lose in English:


See synonyms for lose

Translate lose into Spanish

transitive verbpast participle verb lost/lôst/ /läst/

[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’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘But you know, the manufacturing jobs disappear, you lose control over your space.’
    • ‘This de-motivates people - as a result they leave the party, they lose enthusiasm, they cease to be active.’
    • ‘Schools in Bradford's most deprived areas could lose thousands of pounds of funding.’
    • ‘It's been upsetting because we have lost a lot of our local customers, who are our main supporters.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As a result, customers face losing hundreds of pounds if they no longer wish to travel.’
    • ‘Customers stood to lose a large proportion of their capital because the value of the 30 companies plunged as the stock market nosedived.’
    • ‘Players will lose time and money, people will lose jobs, and customers will lose their product.’
    • ‘Thousands of customers and suppliers lost money when the group collapsed into administration last year.’
    • ‘Businesses and service organizations were losing employees and customers weekly, daily, and eventually hourly.’
    • ‘It only takes one bad experience for you to lose a potential lifetime customer.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But he lost his building society job because he refused to remove his eyebrow piercing.’
    • ‘Workers had been warned last week that they could lose their jobs after the site lost a major contract.’
    • ‘Not only are they losing their jobs, they're losing their pensions as well.’
    • ‘Perhaps a third or more of all cropland is losing topsoil faster than new soil is forming, thereby reducing the land's inherent productivity.’
    be deprived of, suffer the loss of, no longer have, stop having
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Cause (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.’
      • ‘His plea of insanity lost him his job, and his credibility.’
      • ‘He fulfilled his duties conscientiously, but his support for the proclamation of the district as a city lost him his seat in 1950.’
      • ‘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. 1.2Be 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’
      • ‘And to those who have lost relatives and friends, be assured that you are not forgotten.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘For the thousands who had lost relatives or friends, it had the effect of a further slap in the face.’
      • ‘A friend of mine recently lost his mother to cancer after she was hospitalized for one year.’
      • ‘It seems that every week a friend of mine loses a parent.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘My heartfelt sympathy goes out to all the families who have lost sons and husbands, fathers, brothers.’
      • ‘The death of any relative is devastating but to lose three grandchildren in tragic circumstances is more than most of us could bear.’
      • ‘Both my parents lost relatives very dear to them, and the wider circle of relations has suffered some tough times too.’
      • ‘It was so horrible not only losing my father, but losing my closest friend too!’
      • ‘What about the countless German families who lost their sons and husbands during the conflict?’
      • ‘Charlie survived the war unhurt, although he lost many relatives and close friends.’
      • ‘Too many of us lose our mothers, sisters, daughters and friends to this disease.’
      • ‘And for my mother, this is a double loss, she has lost her friend, sister and daughter.’
      • ‘Many of my friends, and my wife, lost grandparents during their twenties too.’
      • ‘She lost her daughter and husband in an accident and at the time she was pregnant and miscarried.’
      • ‘Grief and pride bind the families who lost their sons, fathers, brothers, or husbands to war.’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 1.3(of a pregnant woman) miscarry (a baby) or suffer the death of (a baby) during childbirth.
      ‘am I going to lose the baby?’
      • ‘She became convinced she was losing her baby and insisted her husband take her to hospital.’
      • ‘She has reportedly been put under round-the-clock medical care over fears she could lose her unborn baby..’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She did lose her third baby however, although I have no idea if this had any connection with smoking.’
      • ‘However, Fiona fell pregnant and now wants to get through these nine months, knowing she could lose her baby.’
      • ‘I hope she doesn't lose the baby and die herself in the process.’
      • ‘But more than anything else she felt a deep sadness for the babies she had lost.’
      • ‘The woman was three months pregnant and lost her baby as a result of the collision.’
      • ‘Other women said they were attacked when pregnant and claim they lost their babies.’
      • ‘She was taken to hospital losing blood and was told by doctors she had been five months pregnant but had lost her baby.’
      • ‘At home she rebelled, ran away, did drugs, slept around, got pregnant and lost the baby.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘These problems increase their risk of not being able to get pregnant, losing a baby, or having a baby too early.’
      • ‘Jane felt particular empathy for couples who had problem pregnancies or who lost their baby.’
    4. 1.4be lostBe 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.’
      • ‘Her entire ship's company of 30 men were lost.’
      • ‘While attempting rescue a small boat manned by local men capsized and four men were lost.’
      • ‘Forty additional men were lost either from gunfire or tragic mishap.’
      • ‘Subsequently it became known that a second lifeboat and her crew were lost in the heroic attempt to relieve the same vessel.’
    5. 1.5Decrease in (body weight); undergo a reduction of (a specified amount of weight)
      ‘she couldn't eat and began to lose weight’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To lose body weight, essentially you have to burn more calories than you take in.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If you really need a number, a healthy amount of weight to lose is about one pound per week.’
      • ‘Weight management is a complex issue, so that the amount of weight lost will vary for each individual.’
      • ‘I lost some weight last year in an effort to calm down my increasingly regular heartburn.’
      • ‘They also showed trends toward losing lesser amounts of body weight.’
      • ‘The team which loses the most weight combined is the winner that week.’
      • ‘However, having lost some weight I am still not a size 10 and the dress is too tight.’
      • ‘Subsequent programmes should be based on how much weight has been lost initially.’
      • ‘If someone loses much more weight, it could be a cause for concern.’
      • ‘That helped him tone up, lose a little more weight, and feel even better.’
      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘He weighs her to make sure she is losing the amount of weight he has demanded.’
      • ‘It is imperative that he loses substantial amount of weight.’
      • ‘Become concerned if the patient begins to lose more weight than 6 pounds in 6 months.’
      • ‘I've not lost the amount of weight I hoped but I have lost some and I'm feeling a lot better for it.’
      • ‘She had tried other slimming classes but was unsuccessful as any weight she lost she put back on again quickly.’
      • ‘And that motivation, rather than the diet, might explain whatever weight they lose.’
      • ‘They should not generally be advised to lose any more weight, but I would suggest they work on their shape.’
    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.’
      • ‘They gradually fell out of step, with one clock losing 5 seconds a day in relation to the other.’
      • ‘Unfortunately the watch loses 11 seconds a 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.’
      • ‘On most days, the watch loses about 0.5 seconds.’
  • 2Become unable to find (something or someone)

    ‘I've lost the car keys’
    • ‘We lost the car keys before and I used the mini torch to help me find them again.’
    • ‘They are reminded of what they have been missing, what has been long lost or forgotten.’
    • ‘It's been lost, of course, in all the wanderings and dissolutions, which is sad.’
    • ‘Second is the fact that he is a most forgetful man and loses his all the time.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Customers, who lose their key, are asked to choose the closest model from the hundreds of samples.’
    • ‘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.’
    mislay, misplace, be unable to find
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Cease 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.’
      • ‘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."’
      • ‘Eventually emerging onto St James's Road, we lost the path.’
      • ‘Heather pushed her way through a dense growth of rhododendrons; she had completely lost the path now.’
      • ‘I began to turn away, back towards the forest that I was sure to lose myself in, but he called out in urgency.’
      • ‘For several days we lost ourselves in the labyrinth of the old centre.’
      • ‘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!’
      stray from, wander from, depart from, go astray from, fail to keep to, fail to keep in sight
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2Evade or shake off (a pursuer)
      ‘he came after me waving his revolver, but I easily lost him’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He ducks into an alleyway in an attempt to lose his pursuers, but before he can scurry over a low wall, they catch up.’
      • ‘Once there, the gunman hoped to lose his pursuers in the maze of large buildings.’
      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!’
      • ‘They need to lose that awful voiceover.’
      • ‘Oh, thank God, we get to lose that awful two-tone weave!’
      • ‘You need to lose that creep before he pressures you into more things you don't want to do.’
    4. 2.4 informal Cause (someone) to be unable to follow an argument or explanation.
      • ‘sorry, Tim, you've lost me there’
      • ‘This is where he loses me, and it's where the traditionalist argument always loses me.’
      • ‘This guy is losing me with his explanation of Mrs. Jones though.’
      • ‘I have to admit he lost me there.’
      • ‘He lost me there when he went into politician speak.’
  • 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Games between these sides have always been close encounters and so this game proved with neither side deserving to lose the game.’
    • ‘Neither side deserved to lose this game but with just three minutes left on the clock Ballyhar struck for the winner.’
    • ‘That said however neither side deserved to lose a game that was played under the most appalling conditions.’
    • ‘Neither side deserved to lose a game that see-sawed back and forth for the whole hour-plus.’
    • ‘It was a brave decision, but the correct one as neither side deserved to lose this particular game.’
    • ‘It was a pity that either side had to lose this game, as both contributed so much to a wonderful evening's entertainment.’
    • ‘Both sides, having lost their opening games to Pakistan, are without a point in the tournament.’
    • ‘After the election, he fought to keep it in the same spot, failed, and lost the race.’
    • ‘They won all four league games and lost the final to West Indies in the Triangular in Zimbabwe.’
    • ‘They failed to capitalize and ended up losing the game 6-3, coming home with the bronze medal.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Remember last year Tour lost the same game and went on to a county final success later in the year.’
    • ‘It still is a surprise when the country that invented basketball loses an international game.’
    • ‘The bottom line is that Canada hates to lose a hockey game.’
    • ‘England have defaulted a match in this tournament, but are yet to lose a game on the field.’
    • ‘They had been the champions, now they lost the fifth game of the first round at home.’
    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. 3.1Cause (someone) to fail to win (a game or contest)
      ‘that shot lost him the championship’
      • ‘His antics lost him the first game, for which he didn't arrive, and the second, which he threw away.’
      • ‘I really fear making a mistake or a wrong decision that costs us points or loses us games.’
      • ‘I was just a pawn in his game, he'd have moved on and thrown me away when I lost him his game.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 love Brady because he never misses a week and he rarely does anything to lose you games.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘That was enough to lose him that world championship he desired.’
      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’
    • ‘he lost heavily on box-office flops’
    • ‘To the best of my knowledge it still loses money so why spend even more money breaking the company up even further.’
    • ‘For the race promoter, every single event is a gamble between losing money, earning money, or just breaking even.’
    • ‘This column has always argued that economic freedom and the opportunity to make, spend and lose money is central to a creative society.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘These investors have been badly hit by the cutback in policy values and have lost substantial sums of money.’
    • ‘Despite a reported rise in advertising revenue, the paper continued to lose money.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In terms of real money, Americans are losing income faster than at any time since the Great Depression.’
    • ‘The airlines have taken away all the frills because they claim to be losing huge sums of money.’
    • ‘That means that the government would lose money with the current tax structure.’
    • ‘The society also operates a compensation scheme so clients will not lose money if funds are not recovered.’
    • ‘On the ownership side of it, I'm the one who has to control spending, especially if you're losing money.’
    • ‘Two of the seven ready meals factories were losing money.’
    • ‘He dealt with a number of restituted properties, but found he was losing money rather than profiting.’
    • ‘In fact, many of us who export are already losing money, but hoping that the dollar will drop so that our businesses will survive.’
    • ‘Although the company claims it was not losing money, profit levels were thought to have been negligible.’
    • ‘Our competitors will raise their prices because they're losing money.’
    • ‘The fund only loses money when the proposed deal is not completed for any reason.’
    • ‘None of those networks wanted to show the news because it's expensive, they lose money on it.’
  • 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 is certainly an issue I raised at the time, but time has passed and that opportunity has been lost.’
    • ‘Outside the project this investment opportunity may well be lost.’
    • ‘But trains would have to reverse on departure from both, so any advantage would be completely lost.’
    • ‘But, if we continue to bury our heads in the sand then these opportunities will be lost.’
    • ‘That opportunity has been forever lost, to the relief of those who would now live under its flight path.’
    • ‘An opportunity will be lost, and proper democracy will remain just that bit further out of reach.’
    • ‘It would be a great shame for this opportunity to be lost, mostly on the grounds of increased traffic.’
    • ‘Just when it seemed we were getting the go ahead, it looks like this opportunity might be lost.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Tying up an opponent is usually good, but it also ties up one of yours which can lose a valuable scoring opportunity.’
    • ‘Out in the hallway Tim cursed silently as the gunfire sounded, knowing that their slim advantage had just been lost.’
    • ‘The opportunity that was lost was the opportunity to challenge the Local Plan.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, she was gone in a blink of an eye and the opportunity to speak was lost.’
    • ‘Some might operate on or near the surface, losing much of their advantage.’
    • ‘If the idea of buying a sugar company scared the growers, losing such an opportunity was worse.’
    • ‘A great opportunity has been lost which would have rid our game of cynical fouling.’
    • ‘Many such opportunities would be lost if the market for generic phonenames did not exist.’
    • ‘Both chances have been lost - the first in part, the second it seems conclusively.’
    • ‘Was I saying that I needed to move faster, or else I would lose all of my chances?’
    • ‘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.’
    neglect, waste, squander, fail to grasp, fail to take, fail to take advantage of, let pass, miss, forfeit, give up, ignore, disregard
    View synonyms



/lo͞oz/ /luz/


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.

      ‘she decided she had nothing to lose by taking the initiative’
      • ‘Sentenced to die, a convicted contract killer has nothing to lose when he snatches a policeman's pistol.’
      • ‘A year ago she beat players because she adopted a youthful attitude of having nothing to lose.’
      • ‘We have nothing to lose, because we had nothing to start with.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘Nobody expects us to win and so we have nothing to lose.’
      • ‘You have nothing to lose but stand to gain peace of mind!’
      • ‘If not, I have nothing to lose by telling you the truth.’
      • ‘We've been boxed into a corner and have nothing to lose.’
      • ‘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.’
    lose heart
    • Become discouraged.

      ‘seeing all the things that had to be done, she lost heart’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘What should have happened was the next week they should have marched again, but after that march people really lost heart.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It really is like a war zone there and we are losing heart.’
      • ‘There is no reason for him to lose heart because such things have happened in the past.’
      • ‘He finds he is not fit physically for the struggle, and he loses heart and gives up.’
      • ‘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.’
    lose height
    • (of an aircraft) descend to a lower level in flight.

      ‘Despite it being a biplane, I really did need very low power settings and improbably high speeds to make it lose height.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The plane lost height very quickly with three stops on the way down.’
      • ‘It was losing height and its engine started to splutter and finally, after catching again, died away.’
      • ‘It was really getting a lot darker now so I cut back to tickover and began to lose height to come in to land.’
      • ‘You begin to lose height very quickly and it is important to take care on this descent.’
      • ‘This would cause the airplane to lose height rapidly at about 3000 feet per minute.’
      • ‘Half an hour later the airplane lost height again and the captain was on the loudspeakers once more: ‘This is your captain speaking.’’
      • ‘If you ease off the power, the plane loses height quite quickly.’
    lose it
    • Lose control of one's temper or emotions.

      • ‘in the end I completely lost it—I was screaming at them’
    lose one's marbles
    • Go insane.

    lose one's mind
    • Go insane.

      ‘She laughed, her eyes weren't focused and she seemed to have lost her mind and gone 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.’
      • ‘But in his circles all neurological problems were known as having lost one's marbles.’
      • ‘Yes, I've probably lost my mind, but if that's true, I don't really care.’
      • ‘I lost my mind and I ran back home, trying to explain it to my mom.’
      • ‘So then I went to Nantucket and lost my mind for a minute.’
      • ‘I pretty much lost my mind between March and September.’
      • ‘She looked at me as if I had lost my mind, then she looked out the window.’
      • ‘Sometimes the cause is not very clear and we think that we have lost our mind, that we are crazy.’
      • ‘A long time ago he began to lose his mind and he started imagining things that are not real.’
    lose one's way
    • 1Become lost; fail to reach one's destination.

      ‘we took a wrong turn and lost our way’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The fog causes Alec to lose his way, and the moonlight comes out when he returns to Tess sleeping.’
      • ‘On the way to Aisha, a true indigenous Berber woman, we managed to lose the way many times.’
      • ‘You cannot really lose the way since you only need stay on the top of the ridge and go up.’
      • ‘I wasn't the only one who lost the way either so just be sure to keep your wits about you.’
      • ‘Thomas ran and ran, and was able to escape from the big dog; but, by that time he had lost his way.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Lost in thought, Leon didn't realize that he had lost his way, his horse having wandered away from the group.’
      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’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘His lectures were extremely clear and well-organized; he never lost his way in complicated arguments.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘The difficult thing is doing what I do, getting hold of players who have lost their way and making them into good ones.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘I was making the point that we had really lost our way and lost the support of a lot of folks.’
    lose oneself in
    • Be or become deeply absorbed in (something)

      ‘he had been lost in thought’
      • ‘she let the music wash over her, losing herself in its beauty’
      • ‘I would shirk my daily responsibilities, lay in front of the TV for hours, smoking and losing myself in what was on.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Athletics was my refuge, something I could lose myself in.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A lone tourist baked in the sun as he lost himself in what must have been an enthralling book.’
      • ‘If there was ever an album worth losing yourself in, this is it.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The deep notes put forth by the pseudo-lute were something you could lose yourself in.’
      • ‘To be honest I wanted something that would be pleasurable, that would fill up my time, that I could lose myself 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A really quiet and disciplined audience lost themselves in symphonies of Schubert and Mozart.’
      • ‘He says, ‘Once we have lost ourselves in the world the puppets create, we accept the message without even realising that we are learning.’’
      • ‘I lost myself in the wonderful food and conversation.’
      • ‘Later that afternoon, I located the book on the library shelves upstairs, and I lost myself in re-reading the novel.’
      • ‘I sat on my bed for hours on end, with my albums and my pop magazines, and lost myself in music.’
      • ‘He soon lost himself in the dream world of cinema.’
    lose sleep
    • usually with negative Worry about something.

      ‘no one is losing any sleep over what he thinks of us’
      • ‘True, from time to time, feelings will be hurt in these discussions, but why lose sleep worrying about the self-esteem problems of politicians?’
      • ‘It is not something I lose sleep worrying about.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He lost sleep trying to find the right tone, but shedding the classical acting style helped.’
      • ‘The worst thing that the civilised world lost sleep over was the impending Millennium.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But people now losing sleep over looming crime should control the urge to adopt desperate devices, which may also cause them to lose friends.’
      • ‘The owner says he has avoided layoffs, but he's losing sleep.’
    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!’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘Go for it - you can't lose.’
      • ‘Forget the nervous breakdown Helen, take my advice and go for it girl - you can't lose.’
      • ‘He convinces you if you play the schemes right, 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.’
      • ‘Do what you love with people you care about, and you can't lose.’
      • ‘Here we will look at another Craps betting option in which, for one roll anyway, you can't lose!’
      • ‘As long as you follow this rule, 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!’

Phrasal Verbs

    lose out
    • 1Be deprived of an opportunity; be disadvantaged.

      ‘an opportunity came up and we didn't want to lose out’
      • ‘the children are losing out on regular schooling’
      be unable to take advantage of, fail to benefit from
      View synonyms
    • 2Be unsuccessful; be beaten in competition.

      ‘Heath Ledger lost out in the best actor category to Philip Seymour Hoffman’
      • ‘they were disappointed at losing out to Chicago in the playoffs’
      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


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