loss


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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.
See also: face, loss, of

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.
See also: loss, off, write

at a loss

1. Totally perplexed. I'm at a loss as to how they lost that game after having a five-goal lead. Can anyone decipher what he means? I'm at a loss.
2. Below cost or without profiting. I think the store is going to close soon—it's been selling items at a loss for a long time. Most restaurants operate at a loss for a long time before they start turning a profit.
See also: loss

at a loss for words

Unable to speak or articulate a coherent thought. I'm so disappointed that I'm actually at a loss for words.
See also: loss, word

be a dead loss

slang To be unsuccessful in a certain area or pursuit. I thought I could reconcile with my mother, but our phone call was a dead loss. My drawing is a mess—I'm a dead loss as an artist. Don't put him on our team, he's a dead loss at basketball!
See also: dead, loss

be at a loss

To be uncertain of how to proceed or what to do or think. Your behavior is absolutely unacceptable. I'm at a loss as to what to do with you. Now that the whole schedule has been rearranged, I'm at a loss.
See also: loss

acceptable damage

Destruction or casualties that are considered reasonable because they happen in the context of a war or military attack. Many would argue that even one lost life should not be considered acceptable damage. The general considered the destruction of the tanks to be acceptable damage since his soldiers returned from the mission alive and uninjured.
See also: acceptable, damage

acceptable losses

Destruction or casualties that are considered reasonable because they happen in the context of a war or military attack. The general considered the destruction of the tanks to be acceptable losses since his soldiers returned from the mission alive and uninjured. Many would argue that any lost lives should not be considered acceptable losses
See also: acceptable, loss

a dead loss

1. One who is unsuccessful in a certain area or pursuit. I thought I could reconcile with my mother, but our phone call was a dead loss. My drawing is a mess—I'm a dead loss as an artist. Don't put him on our team, he's a dead loss at basketball!
2. A complete loss, usually financially. I'm not surprised that venture turned out to be a dead loss—I always thought the owner was a fraud.
See also: dead, loss

cut (one's) losses

To leave a troubling or failing situation before it gets worse. Man, this venture is going nowhere—I think we're better off cutting our losses than agreeing to rent this space for another year.
See also: cut, loss

lost for words

Unable to speak or articulate a coherent thought, typically because one is surprised or in shock. When I got the call that my straight-A-student daughter had been arrested for breaking into the school, I was lost for words. When I found out that my coworkers had taken a collection to help pay for my medical bills, I was lost for words.
See also: lost, word

acceptable damage

 and 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: acceptable, 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.
See also: 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.
See also: cut, loss

dead loss

a total loss. My investment was a dead loss. This car is a dead loss after the accident.
See also: dead, loss

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!
See also: another, gain, loss, one

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.
See also: loss, throw

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]
See also: loss

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).
See also: cut, loss

dead loss

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]
See also: dead, loss

at a loss

COMMON If you are at a loss, you do not know what to do or say in a particular situation. These women are at a loss to know where to go for help. With over 190 different recipes for more than 100 varieties of pasta, Rosa is never at a loss for something to cook.
See also: loss

a dead loss

If you describe someone or something as a dead loss, you think that they are completely useless. For them the nearly-new car is a dead loss because it loses value more quickly. I have always been a dead loss at competitive sports and games.
See also: dead, loss

cut your losses

COMMON If you cut your losses, you decide to stop spending time, energy, or money on an activity or situation on which you have already spent a lot without having any success. Competition in the market was so strong, we decided to cut our losses and close the business. Only you can decide if you should push on to the end of your degree or cut your losses and get out.
See also: cut, loss

lost for words

or

at a loss for words

COMMON If you are lost for words or at a loss for words, you are so amazed, shocked, or sad that you do not know what to say or how to express your feelings in words. She looked shocked and was, for a moment, lost for words. They were all waiting for me to say something. But for the first time in my life I felt at a loss for words. Note: You can also say that you are stuck for words. I was astonished to have been given the award — I was stuck for words.
See also: lost, word

cut your losses

abandon an enterprise or course of action that is clearly going to be unprofitable or unsuccessful before you suffer too much loss or harm.
The sense of cut here is probably ‘sever yourself from’ rather than ‘reduce in size’.
1991 Jane Smiley A Thousand Acres Ginny is eternally hopeful, you know. She never cuts her losses. She always thinks things could change.
See also: cut, loss

a dead ˈloss

a person or thing that is useless or a complete failure: This television is a dead loss; the picture fades completely after five minutes.
See also: dead, loss

at a ˈloss

(informal) uncertain about what to do or how to do something: We’re at a loss to know what to do with all this food from the party yesterday.I was completely at a loss. I couldn’t understand the instructions.
See also: loss

at a ˌloss for ˈwords

unable to say anything: He’s never at a loss for words, in fact it’s difficult sometimes to stop him talking.I was completely at a loss for words. I had never been spoken to like that in my whole life.
See also: loss, word

cut your ˈlosses

stop doing something that is not successful before the situation becomes even worse: When our rent went up we decided to cut our losses and close the store.
See also: cut, loss

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.
See also: cut, loss

cut (one's) losses

To withdraw from a losing situation.
See also: cut, loss

at a loss

1. Below cost: sold the merchandise at a loss.
2. Perplexed; puzzled: I am at a loss to understand those remarks.
See also: loss
References in periodicals archive ?
They state that the loss corporation must either specifically identify the ownership interest so distributed by the Sec.
The functional currency of the Section 987 QBU will also be a marked item included in the assets for which section 987 gain or loss is determined.
An osmotic/electrolytic alteration caused by hemodialysis can result in (1) a loss of outer hair cells and spiral ganglion in the cochlea, (2) collapse of the endolymphatic space, and (3) edema and atrophy of the specialized auditory cells.
3 (Rentable Area less Usable Area) divided by Rentable Area equals the Loss Factor.
An approach to the management of unintentional weight loss in elderly people.
There are three basic ways primary insurers can obtain catastrophe protection: purchase traditional catastrophe reinsurance, issue catastrophe bonds or purchase an industry loss warranty.
Beyond refuge: Coping with vision and heating loss in later life.
Mutations in some of the genes produce hearing loss alone.
Also, to test the effect of holding time on strontium and boron loss, experiments were carried out on melts held in a 660-lb (300-kg) electric furnace.
It has long been recognized that the incidence and prevalence of vision loss increases with age (National Society to Prevent Blindness, 1980; Nelson, 1987; Kirchner, 1985).
For example, a replacement value policy is the wrong choice for a factory that would be drastically changed after a major casualty loss due to either choice or changes in building and safety codes.
Defective genes can also pass along traits such as hearing loss or speech and language disorders.
As with the loss of a loved one, these realities invoke mourning' and will require grief work for functional adaptations that will lead to continued professional satisfaction.
Meanwhile, the benefit to be made from loss sales has diminished, thanks to cuts in the corporate tax rate that were part of the 1986 Tax Reform Act.
Marks a New Benchmark for the World's Fastest-Growing Weight Loss Program, Which Continues to Expand Its Reach While Helping Millions of Americans Lose Weight and Get Healthy