General English


  • noun the amount of money paid to acquire, produce or maintain something, e.g. the money paid for materials, labour and overheads in the manufacture of a product produced and sold by a business
  • verb to cause money to be spent or lost


  • The total expenditure in dollars approved after the completion of a project.


  • noun the value of the inputs (i.e. the amount of money) which are used to produce a good or service
  • verb to have a particular monetary value

Information & Library Science

  • noun the amount of money needed to buy, do or make something

Origin & History of “cost”

In Latin, something that cost a particular price literally ‘stood at or with’ that price. The Latin verb constāre was formed from the prefix com- ‘with’ and stāre ‘stand’ (a relative of English stand). In vulgar Latin this became *costāre, which passed into English via Old French coster (the derived noun arrived first, the verb a couple of decades later). The adjective costly is a 14th century formation.