expense ex‧pense [ɪkˈspens] noun
1. [countable, uncountable] ACCOUNTING an amount of money that a business or organization has to spend on something:

• Most advertisers look upon advertising as an expense and not an investment, which is a mistake.

• The company's cost-cutting program is expected to reduce expenses by $28 million next year.

acˌcrued exˈpense [countable usually plural] ACCOUNTING
the value of goods or services that were bought by a business or organization during a particular period of time, even if it pays for them in a later period
ˌcapital exˈpense [countable usually plural] ACCOUNTING COMMERCE
money that a business or organization spends on investing in new equipment, buildings etc, rather than on running the business or producing goods:

• With plans for new airport facilities and aircraft, the airline is facing a lot of capital expenses.

diˌrect exˈpense [countable usually plural] ACCOUNTING
money that is spent directly on making one particular product or performing one particular service, rather than money spent on general costs, such as management costs
enterˈtainment exˌpense [countable usually plural] ACCOUNTING
money that a business or organization spends on taking customers to restaurants, bars, theatres etc, as a way of making business deals easier to complete:

• Entertainment expenses are bona fide business expenses only when someone besides you or your employee is being entertained.

ˌfixed exˈpense [countable usually plural] ACCOUNTING
money that a business or organization has to pay that does not change with the amount of goods or services it produces or sells
ˌgeneral exˈpense also ˌgeneral and adˈministrative exˈpense [countable usually plural] ACCOUNTING
money that is spent on the general running of a business or organization, rather than money spent on producing goods or selling services:

• Operating profit was knocked down 15% by higher sales, administrative and general expenses.

ˈhandling exˌpense [countable usually plural] ACCOUNTING TRANSPORT
the extra costs of buying and selling goods, for example packaging, shipping, storing, and insurance:

• Last year sales of paintings totalled £1.3 million, out of which the administration and handling expenses had to be paid.

ˌindirect exˈpense [countable usually plural] ACCOUNTING
money that is spent on general costs, such as management costs, rather than money spent directly on making one particular product or performing one particular service
ˈinterest exˌpense [countable usually plural] ACCOUNTING
money that a business or organization has to spend on paying interest on money that it has borrowed:

• Planned debt reductions will reduce annual interest expenses by about $15 million.

ˈmarketing exˌpense [countable usually plural] ACCOUNTING MARKETING
money that a business or organization spends on advertising and marketing:

• Research and development went from $28 million to $45 million, while sales and marketing expenses increased even more.

ˈoverhead exˌpense also ˈoperating exˌpense ACCOUNTING [countable usually plural]
other names for general expense:

• A reduction in overhead expenses would free funds for workers' pay.

ˈsales exˌpense also ˈselling exˌpense [countable usually plural] ACCOUNTING MARKETING
the money that a business or organization spends on selling its products, for example running sales offices, paying salespeople etc:

• The company's first-quarter earnings are likely to be hurt by higher selling expenses related to new marketing programs.

ˈtravel exˌpense also ˈtravelling exˌpense [countable usually plural] ACCOUNTING TRAVEL
money that a business or organization spends to pay for its employees to travel to attend meetings etc
2. expenses [plural] ACCOUNTING money that an employee spends while doing their job on things such as travel and food, and which their employer then pays back to them:

• Come on, have another drink — it's on expenses.

• He gets an annual salary of $1.5 million; in addition he gets reimbursed for travel and other expenses.

* * *

expense UK US /ɪkˈspens/ noun
[C or U] ACCOUNTING an amount of money that a person or business spends in order to do something: a big/major expense »

Waste disposal is a major expense for us.

cut down on/reduce/cut expense »

We need to cut down on our expenses.

cover/meet expenses »

He said the business needed to borrow to meet future expenses.

bear/incur an expense »

In your tax return you can include tax-deductible expenses incurred as a result of employment.


a business/operating/running expense


legal/medical/administrative expenses

unnecessary/additional/extra expense »

Money can be moved into the account without the unnecessary expense of being converted into sterling.

[U] the large amount of money that something costs: »

Buying a bigger car has proved to be well worth the expense.


He just had his office remodelled at great expense.


Having gone to the expense of hiring an exhibition stand, you need to make the most of the selling opportunity.

expenses — Cf. expenses
all expenses paid — Cf. all expenses paid
at sb's expense — Cf. at sb's expense
on expenses — Cf. on expenses
spare no expense — Cf. spare no expense
See also ACCRUED EXPENSE(Cf. ↑accrued expense), CAPITAL EXPENSE(Cf. ↑capital expense), DIRECT EXPENSE(Cf. ↑direct expense), ENTERTAINMENT EXPENSES(Cf. ↑entertainment expenses), FIXED EXPENSE(Cf. ↑fixed expense), GENERAL EXPENSE(Cf. ↑general expense), HANDLING EXPENSE(Cf. ↑handling expense), INDIRECT EXPENSE(Cf. ↑indirect expense), INTEREST EXPENSE(Cf. ↑interest expense), MARKETING EXPENSE(Cf. ↑marketing expense), OPERATING EXPENSE(Cf. ↑operating expense), OVERHEAD EXPENSE(Cf. ↑overhead expense), SALES EXPENSE(Cf. ↑sales expense), TRAVEL EXPENSE(Cf. ↑travel expense)
expense UK US /ɪkˈspens/ verb [T] ACCOUNTING
to show the full amount of money paid for something as a cost in a company's accounts, rather than showing it as a lower and lower amount over a period of time: »

The accounting rule allows research-and-development costs to be instantly expensed or deducted from profits.

Financial and business terms. 2012.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • expense — ex·pense 1 n: financial burden or outlay; specif: an item of business outlay chargeable against revenue for a specific period busi·ness expense: an expense made in furtherance of one s business esp. as part of the cost of operating a business in… …   Law dictionary

  • Expense — Ex*pense , n. [L. expensa (sc. pecunia), or expensum, fr. expensus, p. p. of expendere. See {Expend}.] 1. A spending or consuming; disbursement; expenditure. [1913 Webster] Husband nature s riches from expense. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. That which… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • expense — [ek spens′, ikspens′] n. [ME < Anglo Fr < LL expensa (pecunia), paid out (money) < L expensum, neut. pp. of expendere: see EXPEND] 1. Obs. the act of expending; a spending or using up 2. financial cost; fee; charge 3. any cost or… …   English World dictionary

  • expense — late 14c., from Anglo Fr. expense, O.Fr. espense money provided for expenses, from L.L. expensa disbursement, outlay, expense, prop. neut. pl. pp. of L. expendere to weigh out money, to pay down (see EXPEND (Cf. expend)). The verb is 1909, from… …   Etymology dictionary

  • expense — ► NOUN 1) the cost incurred in or required for something. 2) (expenses) specific costs incurred in the performance of a job or task. 3) something on which money must be spent. ● at the expense of Cf. ↑at the expense of …   English terms dictionary

  • expense — cost, *price, charge …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • expense — [n] cost, payment amount, assessment, bite*, bottom line*, budget, charge, consumption, debit, debt, decrement, deprivation, disbursement, duty, expenditure, forfeit, forfeiture, insurance, investment, liability, loan, loss, mortgage, obligation …   New thesaurus

  • Expense — Expenses redirects here. For the row about members expenses in the UK Parliament which started about May 2009, see United Kingdom Parliamentary expenses scandal. Accountancy Key concepts Accountant · Accounting period ·… …   Wikipedia

  • expense — noun 1 cost/money spent on sth ADJECTIVE ▪ considerable, enormous, great, huge, significant, vast ▪ added, additional, extra …   Collocations dictionary

  • expense — ex|pense [ ık spens ] noun *** 1. ) count an amount of money you spend in order to buy or do something: Rent is our biggest expense. You can claim part of your telephone bill as a business expense. traveling/medical/legal expenses a factory s… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

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