Definition of costly in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈkɒs(t)li/

adjective (costlier, costliest)

1Costing a lot; expensive: major problems requiring costly repairs
More example sentences
  • This scared her because she feared not following through might one day be costly in terms of her job.
  • As in real life, a managerial appointment made in haste could end up being financially costly in the long run.
  • Legal processes are costly in terms of both the fees and the management time involved.
expensive, dear, high-cost, high-priced, highly priced, big-budget, overpriced, exorbitant, extortionate, immoderate, extravagant;
lavish, rich, deluxe, choice, fine, exquisite;
valuable, priceless, worth its weight in gold, worth a king's ransom;
informal steep, pricey
1.1Causing suffering, loss, or disadvantage: the government’s biggest and most costly mistake
More example sentences
  • This will teach him very early in life that some mistakes are costly and cannot afford to be made again.
  • With hindsight it might have been a costly mistake but we put the education of our students first and foremost.
  • It seems the council missed out on an opportunity and made a costly mistake.
catastrophic, ruinous, disastrous, calamitous, cataclysmic, devastating, crippling, crushing, fatal, lethal, damaging, harmful, injurious, deleterious, woeful, grievous, lamentable, dire, awful, terrible, unfortunate
literary direful



Example sentences
  • Scarcity and resulting costliness confined its use chiefly to precious metalworking, where it was employed as a flux to cleanse surfaces of oxides and reduce melting temperatures to aid welding and soldering.
  • The relative costliness of labor encouraged labor-saving mechanization; the scarcity of capital made it worthwhile to build machines cheaply and use them intensively.
  • The goals of this program are to limit the frequency, severity and costliness of asthma exacerbations through extensive education of physicians, children and caregivers.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: cost¦ly

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.