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Lose vs. Loss: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on November 23, 2023
'Lose' is a verb meaning to misplace or fail to win, while 'loss' is a noun referring to the act or state of losing something.

Key Differences

'Lose' is a verb used to describe the action of misplacing something or failing to win. Whereas, 'loss' is a noun that refers to the state or instance of losing, often used to describe the absence or deprivation of something.
When someone cannot find something they own, they 'lose' it; this act results in a 'loss'. 'Lose' is the process, while 'loss' is the outcome or consequence of that process.
In competition, if a team does not win, they 'lose' the game, and the result is a 'loss'. Here, 'lose' is an action, and 'loss' is the state resulting from this action.
'Lose' can also mean failing to maintain something, like losing control. 'Loss' often refers to the negative consequence of such an action, like the loss of control.
Emotional experiences can involve both: one might 'lose' their patience, leading to a 'loss' of composure. 'Lose' is the active experience, while 'loss' is the resultant state or condition.

Comparison Chart

Part of Speech

Verb (action word).
Noun (describes a thing, state, or action).

Usage in a Sentence

Used to denote the action of failing to retain or win.
Used to denote the state or result of losing.


"I often lose my keys."
"The loss of my keys is frustrating."

Tense Variations

Changes form with tense: lose, lost, losing.
Generally remains the same, regardless of tense.

Related to

An action performed by a subject.
A condition or outcome experienced by a subject or object.

Lose and Loss Definitions


To misplace something and not be able to find it.
I always lose my glasses.


A disadvantage or detriment.
His departure is a big loss for the team.


To be defeated in a game or competition.
The team didn't want to lose the match.


In sports, a match in which a team or individual does not win.
The team faced a tough loss against their rivals.


To experience a reduction or diminishment of something.
The company began to lose profits last quarter.


The state of being deprived of or of being without something that one has had.
The loss of her necklace saddened her.


To fail to maintain or keep something.
He didn't want to lose his focus during the exam.


The act or instance of losing something.
The loss of data was a serious setback.


To waste or use up something unnecessarily.
We can't afford to lose time on this project.


The amount of money lost in a business or transaction.
The company reported a significant financial loss.


To be unsuccessful in retaining possession of; mislay
He's always losing his car keys.


The act or an instance of losing
Nine losses during the football season.


To be deprived of (something one has had)
Lost her art collection in the fire.
Lost her job.


One that is lost
Wrote their flooded house off as a loss.


The condition of being deprived or bereaved of something or someone
Her loss was made easier by the support of her friends.


What is the basic difference between 'lose' and 'loss'?

'Lose' is a verb indicating the action of misplacing or not winning, while 'loss' is a noun referring to the state of having lost.

Is 'lose' used in various tenses?

Yes, 'lose' changes form based on tense (lose, lost, losing).

Can 'lose' refer to a decrease in something, like weight?

Yes, 'lose' can mean to experience a reduction, as in losing weight.

Is 'lose' ever used in a positive context?

Rarely, as it typically refers to negative outcomes or actions.

How do you use 'lose' in the context of time?

'Lose' can be used to describe wasting time, like "losing time in traffic".

Is 'loss' used to describe financial deficits?

Yes, 'loss' can refer to financial deficits or reductions.

Can 'lose' and 'loss' be used interchangeably?

No, they cannot as 'lose' is an action and 'loss' is a state or result.

Does 'loss' change form like 'lose'?

No, 'loss' generally remains the same in all contexts.

Can 'loss' refer to emotional experiences?

Yes, 'loss' can describe emotional states, such as the loss of a loved one.

Does 'loss' have a metaphorical use?

Yes, it can be used metaphorically, like experiencing a loss of dignity.

Can 'lose' indicate a failure to win?

Yes, it often refers to not winning a competition or game.

Can 'loss' describe the feeling after something is gone?

Yes, it often describes the emotional state after losing something or someone.

What does it mean to 'lose your temper'?

It means to become angry or lose control of your emotions.

Can 'loss' refer to the outcome of a sports game?

Yes, 'loss' can refer to a defeat in a sports context.

What does 'lose interest' mean?

It means to stop being interested in something.

How is 'loss' perceived in business terms?

In business, 'loss' often refers to financial setbacks or deficits.

Is 'lose' used in the context of health?

Yes, such as losing weight or losing vision.

Can 'lose' be used in a physical and metaphorical sense?

Yes, 'lose' can be physical (losing an item) or metaphorical (losing hope).

How is 'loss' used in the context of death?

'Loss' can refer to the death of a person, as in the loss of a family member.

Is 'loss' used in legal contexts?

Yes, it can refer to a defeat in a legal case or loss of rights.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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