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.