at the expense of somebody/something

at the expense of

1. The financial responsibility of (a particular person or group). Once I learned that the trip was at the expense of my department, I decided to go.
2. To the detriment or disadvantage of (someone). I was furious when I heard the other kids telling jokes at the expense of my little brother.
See also: expense, of
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

at the expense of someone or something

Fig. to the detriment of someone or something; to the harm of someone or something. He had a good laugh at the expense of his brother. He took a job in a better place at the expense of a larger income.
See also: expense, of
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

at the expense of

Also, at one's expense.
1. Paid for by someone, as in The hotel bill for the sales force is at the expense of the company. [Mid-1600s]
2. To the detriment or injury of a person or thing, as in We can't speed up production at the expense of quality, or The laughter was all at Tom's expense. [Late 1600s]
See also: expense, of
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

at the expense of somebody/something

causing damage or loss to somebody/something else: We could lower the price, but only at the expense of quality.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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