Which Spelling Is Correct: Lost vs Loss? (Definition, Synonyms and More)

The words loss & lost can both be used correctly depending on the context of the writing or conversation. Both loss and lost have to do with the act of losing something. However, “lost” implies that something has been misplaced in the past tense.

In this post, we’ll explain the definition of lost & loss, provide common synonyms, and determine which word is more popular in published writing. Read on to learn more about these two words!

What’s The Difference Between Loss & Lost?

Lost vs Loss

The words lost & loss are closely related but have different meanings & usages. Here is a breakdown of the difference between lost and loss.

  • Loss: A noun that refers to the act or process of losing something. It indicates the absence of something that was previously possessed.
  • Lost: An adjective or past participle of the verb “to lose.” Lost describes something that was possessed in the past but cannot be located.

Understanding the distinction between “loss” and “lost” helps in choosing the appropriate word in different contexts. Just like we saw in our post comparing the phrase “sorry for your lost vs loss“, picking the wrong word can change the meaning of your sentence.

How To Use “Lost” In A Sentence

The word “lost” is used to discuss someone or something that was possessed in the past tense, but can no longer be found. Here are 5 example sentences that demonstrate how to use the word “lost”.

  1. After hours of searching, I finally found my lost phone under the couch cushions.
  2. The hiker took a wrong turn and quickly realized he was lost in the dense forest.
  3. She felt a sense of happiness after her long-lost pet was found.
  4. The team played their best, but unfortunately, they lost the championship game.
  5. He retraced his steps through the crowded streets, hoping to find the lost wallet containing his identification and credit cards.

Remember, just like we saw in our post about the phrase “look forward to seeing you“, spelling and word choice are very important!

How To Use “Loss” In A Sentence

The word “loss” should be used as a noun. It has a different part of speech than the word “lost”. Here is a list of sentence examples that demonstrate how to use the word “loss” in a sentence.

  1. The sudden loss of a loved one can be an overwhelming and heartbreaking experience.
  2. The company reported a significant financial loss due to the economic downturn.
  3. The loss of her job forced her to reevaluate her career goals and seek new opportunities.
  4. He experienced a great sense of loss when his favorite childhood bookstore closed its doors.
  5. The theft of her laptop resulted in both a material loss and the compromise of personal information.

Just like we learned in our post comparing the spelling of easier, even a small spelling mistake can ruin a well constructed sentence.

What Are The Different Types Of Losses

The two different types of losses are personal & material loss.

A personal loss refers to the emotional or psychological impact of losing someone or something that holds personal significance or value.


  • The sudden death of her best friend caused a profound personal loss, leaving her feeling a deep sense of emptiness and sadness.
  • Going through a divorce brought about a personal loss for him as he had to adjust to a new life without his partner and the shared dreams they had.

A material loss refers to the loss of physical possessions or property. Below are some common examples of material loss.


  • The house fire resulted in significant material loss, as all their belongings, furniture, and sentimental items were consumed by the flames.
  • The theft of her car was a material loss that not only caused financial strain but also left her feeling vulnerable and violated.

What Are Synonyms For Loss

Here is a list of some synonyms for the word “loss”.

  1. Defeat
  2. Failure
  3. Misplacement
  4. Forfeiture
  5. Deprivation

Popularity Analysis

Popularity of Loss & Lost

By reviewing the Google N-Gram Viewer you can see that “lost” is used more commonly in published writing. The word “loss” is used more frequently than “lost” in several different contexts. Since nouns are generally more commonly used in language than adjectives like “lost,” it is used more commonly in conversation & published writing.

Are There Popular Idioms That Use The Words “Lost” & “Loss”?

Yes, there are popular sayings and idioms that use the words “lost” and “loss”. Here are some examples you might know.

  • Make up for lost time
  • Cut your losses
  • Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all

Frequently Asked Questions

Can “loss” describe financial setbacks?

Yes, the word loss can be used to describe a financial setback. Losing money on a stock or investment would be considered a financial loss.

Is “lost” the correct spelling to use when discussing a misplaced document?

Lost is the correct word & spelling to indicate that a document has been misplaced.

The Bottom Line

By now you should be an expert on the difference between the words lost and loss. Although these words are very similar, they have different parts of speech & meanings. If you need help with other spelling rules like this consider using our own Grammer Review Software to make things easy.