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Related to loss: Deadweight loss, Lossa
loss of face
The state or circumstance of having lost the respect of other people, as due to having done something improper or unacceptable. After my terrible loss of face in front of the in-laws, I knew I couldn't return to their home for the foreseeable future.
write off (one's) losses
1. To record one's financial losses during the accounting process. We've had such a rough third quarter that being able to write off our losses for a tax break is the only upside.
2. By extension, to move on from a situation that has gone badly. I started out as an engineering major, but after failing all of my classes, I decided to write off my losses and switch to communications.
acceptable damageand acceptable losses
Euph. casualties or destruction inflicted by an enemy that is considered minor or tolerable. At present, the enemy's first-strike capability would produce acceptable damage. The general indicated that the fifty thousand casualties were within the range of acceptable losses.
See also: damage
at a loss (for words)
Fig. unable to speak; speechless or befuddled. I was so surprised that I was at a loss for words. Tom was terribly confused—really at a loss.
cut one's losses
to do something to stop a loss of something. I knew I had to do something to cut my losses, but it was almost too late. Sell some of the high-priced stuff to cut your losses.
a total loss. My investment was a dead loss. This car is a dead loss after the accident.
One man's loss is another man's gain.
Prov. When one person loses something, another person gets it. (You can substitute appropriate names or pronouns for the phrases one man's and another man's, as in the second example.) Mike found a five-dollar bill on the sidewalk. "One man's loss is another man's gain," he thought to himself, as he took the money. Jane: Andy just got fired. Jill: I know. And Andy's loss is my gain; I'm getting promoted to his job!
throw someone for a loss
to cause someone to be uncertain or confused. (Often passive.) The stress of being in front of so many people threw Ann for a loss. She forgot her speech. It was a difficult problem. I was thrown for a loss for an answer.
at a loss
unable to know how to act or what to do He felt totally at a loss about how to proceed with the making of a dictionary.
at a loss for words
unable to think of something to say lost for words If I was alone with her, I'd feel at a loss for words.
Usage notes: usually this happens because you are surprised
cut your losses
to stop wasting time or money on something by ending your connection to it When a project is failing, you've got to learn to cut your losses and move on.
cut your losses
to stop doing something that is already failing in order to reduce the amount of time or money that is being wasted on it I wasn't benefiting from the course and it was costing so much that I thought I'd better cut my losses.
be a dead loss
1. (informal) if something or someone is a dead loss, they disappoint you because they are of bad quality or because they are not able to do what you want them to do The meeting was a dead loss. We didn't come to a single decision. He may have been a great poet, but he was a dead loss as a husband.
2. (informal) to be very bad at a particular activity or subject (sometimes + at ) I was an absolute dead loss at sport when I was at school.
be at a loss
to not know what to do or say (usually + to do sth) He won't accept financial help from me so I'm at a loss to know what to do. For once I found myself completely at a loss for words. (= I did not know what to say)
at a loss
1. Below cost, as in The store was doing so badly that it was selling merchandise at a loss.
2. Puzzled, perplexed, in a state of uncertainty, as in When his letters were returned unopened, John was at a loss as to what to do next. This usage was originally applied to hounds who had lost the scent or track of their prey. [Mid-1600s]
3. at a loss for words. Unable or uncertain as to what to say. For example, Father's tirade left us all at a loss for words. [Late 1600s]
cut one's losses
Withdraw from a losing situation, as in They decided to close down the unprofitable branch and cut their losses. This expression uses cut in the sense of "reduce" (also see cut down, def. 2).
1. A total loss, as in They've changed the currency, so these old coins are a dead loss. [Early 1700s]
2. A worthless person or thing; also, an utter waste of time. For example, With an injured knee he's a dead loss to the team, or It rained every day, so our week at the beach was a dead loss. [1920s]
cut one’s losses
tv. to do something to stop a loss of something. I knew I had to do something to cut my losses, but it was almost too late.
cut (one's) losses
To withdraw from a losing situation.
at a loss
1. Below cost: sold the merchandise at a loss.
2. Perplexed; puzzled: I am at a loss to understand those remarks.