The cost of choosing one course of action over another. Letting your second best option pass.
Economists tend to measure opportunity cost in terms of money for simplicity's sake. However value isn't always monetary.
At the restaurant, you are presented with a desert menu. Assuming that you only eat one desert, you have the choice between chocolate mouse, ice cream and honey crepes. Let's say you prefer ice cream to chocolate mouse, but honey crepes are your favorite. If you eat a honey crepe, ice cream (which would have chosen had you not had crepes) is your opportunity cost.

Another example would be if two women that you fancied, Sarah and Alice, asked you out and you said yes to Sarah (assuming monogamy), going out with Alice is your opportunity cost.
by anthonylebrun September 22, 2008
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The value of resources and time given up relative to the best alternative. Includes the estimation of time in process. If a economy is competitive, the opportunity cost is a good indicator of the price because any change in prices is a change in the opportunity cost, which means a change in the allocation of resources.
The opportunity cost of 9/11 was huge! Lives were lost, capital was destroyed, people got when 9/11 happened there was a change in the market prices which changed the allocation of resources.
by rodan118 February 10, 2010
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(n.) the benefits and problems of not choosing an option.
You have a choice between buying a car for £30,000 or a motorbike for £18,000.

If you buy the car, the opportunity cost is £12,000 and a motorbike.

If you buy the motorbike and have some money, the opportunity cost is one car.
by Kung-Fu Jesus May 4, 2004
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Another way for an economist to say you aren't thinking enough about screwing everybody else over to make more cash.
Sasuke had a net economic loss, considering his opportunity cost of not god-modding himself by the method of ripping out his brother's eyeballs, drilling a hole in his skull so that he could rip out Kakashi's eye too, and challenging the entire Akatsuki organization to a royal rumble melee so that he could proceed to absorb all the tailed beasts and rule the planet. Possibly absorbing the planet too. All before he enrolls at the Ninja Academy.
by Ironchew June 13, 2008
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The collective benefits citizens could be enjoying today IF the Democrats had spent their time legislating instead of temper tampering from 2017 through 2020
The opportunity costs to our urban populations will probably never be completely tallied.
by Grammy44 February 6, 2020
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Opportunity cost disater or OCD is when the opportunity cost of the strategy that is choosen is greater in extent than a certified disaster would be. In many cased net loss of opportunity is huge, way beyond what occurs in a normal disaster.

Even when things are great and everyone is happy with the chosen alternative like some people are with urban sprawl, the lost opportunity of the strategy can be so large that it equals or surpassses a legally defined disaster or disaster area.
The Iraq war is an opportunity cost disaster. There are a lot of bad ideas out there but these guys put a lot of thought into making it this bad. I can't think of much worse of an alternative, but I am sure they will, as it is getting worse all the time.

Some people living in this urban sprawl think they are in paradise but this is a total opportunity cost disaster. A hurricane wipes out the crops but sprawl eventually wipes out the farm houses and crop land, covers the best soil, eliminates the ecology and native plants and animals, and put's it in a tomb of concrete and asphalt. You can everywhere but it will cost 10 dollars in gas there is no there there.
by mlhiss March 28, 2008
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