at the expense of somebody/something

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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

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

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

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.
References in periodicals archive ?
Malvey said most superintendents find the time to be in the various school buildings and attend school events, "but it's at the expense of something else that has to be put on hold.
If we're serious about transformational childcare, it's got to be prioritised and, most likely, at the expense of something else, given how tight public cash is.
If you are redirecting brain resources to help with hearing, that probably comes at the expense of something else--like working memory.
The risk of letting a shiny whizbang feature take the spotlight at the expense of something mundane but critical such as permissions is real, and this can have serious costs over time.
He said: "One of the problems with the national curriculum has been that, until relatively recently, it has been too full and if you brought another subject in it would be at the expense of something else.
Deciding what you'll do at the expense of something else is the very essence of strategy.
No matter what it is called, the group represents a requirement that is unfilled unless a component chief decides to accept it at the expense of something else.
And we all know that without an increase in the top line, this increase must come at the expense of something else," said Rep.
Stephen loves motor crossing, so if we can't get it back, I will probably get another one for Stephen at some stage but it will be at the expense of something else.
Implementing the recommendations will probably come at the expense of something else," he says.
I think I know what the city is willing to support, but not at the expense of something that does not make sense for the community.
Of course you can live your dreams but not at the expense of something that's over 100 years old.