Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Language: Old English
Origin: losian 'to destroy or be destroyed, to lose'

lose

verb
     
lose S1 W1 past tense and past participle lost
1

stop having attitude/quality etc

[transitive] to stop having a particular attitude, quality, ability etc, or to gradually have less of it [↪ loss]:
I've lost my appetite.
lose confidence/interest/hope etc
The business community has lost confidence in the government.
Carol lost interest in ballet in her teens.
Try not to lose heart (=become sad and hopeless) - there are plenty of other jobs.
lose face (=stop having as much respect from other people)
A settlement was reached in which neither side lost face.
lose weight/height/speed etc
You're looking slim. Have you lost weight?
The plane emptied its fuel tanks as it started losing altitude.
lose your sight/hearing/voice/balance etc
Mr Eyer may lose the sight in one eye.
The tour was postponed when the lead singer lost his voice.
Julian lost his balance and fell.
lose your touch (=become less skilled at doing something you used to do well)
This latest movie proves Altman is by no means losing his touch.
By the time the ambulance arrived, Douglas had lost consciousness.
lose all sense of time/direction/proportion etc
When he was writing, he lost all sense of time.
lose sight of something (=forget an important fact about a situation)
We must never lose sight of the fact that man must work in harmony with nature.
2

not win

[intransitive and transitive] to not win a game, argument, election, war etc [≠ win; ↪ defeat]:
They played so badly they deserved to lose.
Klinger lost his seat in the election.
Arkansas just lost three games in a row.
He just can't bear to lose an argument.
lose to
The Beavers have dropped only one game since losing to Oregon in January.
lose (something) by 1 goal/10 votes/20 points etc
The government lost by one vote.
The Communist candidate lost by a whisker (=a very small amount).
Freddie died in 1982 after losing his battle against AIDS.
lose somebody something
It was a rash decision, and it lost him the race (=caused him to lose the race).
3

cannot find something

[transitive] to become unable to find someone or something:
I've lost the tickets for tonight's show.
I followed her on foot, but lost her in the crowd.
It was thought the manuscript had been lost forever.
be/get lost in the post British English be/get lost in the mail American English
The parcel must have got lost in the post.
lose track of something/somebody (=stop knowing where someone or something is)
He lost track of her after her family moved away.
lose sight of something/somebody (=stop being able to see someone or something)
Don't try to walk in a heavy snowstorm as you may lose sight of your vehicle.
lost property
4

stop having something

[transitive] if you lose something that is important or necessary, you then no longer have it, especially because it has been taken from you or destroyed [↪ loss]:
David's very upset about losing his job.
Hundreds of people lost their homes in the floods.
My family lost everything in the war.
He was over the limit and will lose his licence.
90 naval aircraft were lost and 31 damaged.
lose a chance/opportunity
If you hesitate, you may lose the opportunity to compete altogether.
lose something to somebody/something
We were losing customers to cheaper rivals.
She was about to lose her husband to a younger woman.
California has lost 90% of its wetlands to development.
lose an arm/leg/eye etc
He lost his leg in a motorcycle accident.
He's lost a lot of blood but his life is not in danger.
lose somebody something
the mistakes which lost him his kingdom (=caused him to lose his kingdom)
5

death

[transitive]
a)

lose your life

to die:
a memorial to honor those who lost their lives in the war
b) if you lose a relative or friend, they die - use this when you want to avoid saying the word 'die' [↪ loss]:
One woman in Brooklyn lost a husband and two sons in the gang wars.
Sadly, Anna lost the baby (=her baby died before it was born).
lose somebody to cancer/AIDS etc
He lost his father to cancer (=his father died of cancer) last year.
Peter was lost at sea when his ship sank.
6

money

[intransitive and transitive] if you lose money, you then have less money than you had before [↪ loss]
lose on
The company is in debt after losing an estimated $30 million on its dotcom enterprise.
Creditors and investors stand to lose (=risk losing) vast sums after the company's collapse.
A lot of people lost their shirts (=lost a lot of money) on Ferraris in the Eighties.
It's a great deal - we can't lose!
lose somebody something
The stock market crash lost the banks £70 million (=caused them to lose £70 million).
7

have nothing to lose

spoken if you have nothing to lose, it is worth taking a risk because you cannot make your situation any worse:
You might as well apply for the job - you've got nothing to lose.
have nothing to lose but your pride/reputation etc
The working class has nothing to lose but its chains. (=disadvantages, restrictions etc).
have a lot/too much to lose (=used to say that you could make your situation much worse)
These youngsters know they have too much to lose by protesting against the system.
8

time

[transitive]
a) if you lose time, you do not make progress as quickly as you want to or should
lose time/2 days/3 hours etc
Vital minutes were lost because the ambulance took half an hour to arrive.
In 1978, 29 million days were lost in industrial action.
Come on, there's no time to lose (=do not waste time).
lose no time in doing something (=do something immediately)
Murdock lost no time in taking out a patent for his invention.
b) if a watch, clock etc loses time, it runs too slowly and shows an earlier time than it should [≠ gain]
9

lose your way/bearings

a) to stop knowing where you are or which direction you should go in:
I lost my way in the network of tiny alleys.
b) to become uncertain about your beliefs or what you should do:
The company seems to have lost its way of late.
10

lose touch (with somebody/something)

a) if two people lose touch, they gradually stop communicating, for example by no longer phoning or writing to each other:
I've lost touch with all my old school friends.
They lost touch when Di got married and moved away.
b) if you lose touch with a situation or group, you are then no longer involved in it and so do not know about it or understand it:
They claim the prime minister has lost touch with the party.
It sometimes appears that the planners have lost touch with reality.
11

lose your temper/cool/rag

to become angry
lose your temper/cool/rag with
Diana was determined not to lose her temper with him.
12

lose your head

to become unable to behave calmly or sensibly:
You've all heard that Nadal lost his head over a girl?
13

lose your mind

to become crazy [= go crazy, go mad]:
Nicholas looked at her as if she'd lost her mind.
14

lose it

spoken informal
a) to become very angry and upset:
She completely lost it with one of the kids in class.
b) also lose the plot to become crazy or confused:
I could see people thinking I'd totally lost the plot.
15

lose yourself in something

to be paying so much attention to something that you do not notice anything else:
She listened intently to the music, losing herself in its beauty.
16

escape

[transitive] if you lose someone who is chasing you, you manage to escape from them:
There's a better chance of losing him if we take the back route.
17

confuse somebody

[transitive] spoken informal to confuse someone when you are trying to explain something to them:
Explain it again - you've lost me already.
18

remove something

[transitive] to remove a part or feature of something that is not necessary or wanted:
You could lose the last paragraph to make it fit on one page.
19

lose something in the translation/telling

to be less good than the original form:
The joke loses something in the translation.
lost2

➔ lose count

at count2 (3)

➔ lose sleep over something

at sleep2 (4)

lose out

phrasal verb
to not get something good, valuable etc because someone else gets it instead:
The deal will ensure that shareholders do not lose out financially.
lose out to
He lost out to Roy Scheider for the lead role.
lose out on
Workers who don't take up training may lose out on promotion.

Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.

Explore our topic dictionary