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 for To be at a loss
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Loss \Loss\ (l[o^]s; 115), n. [AS. los loss, losing, fr.
     le['i]san to lose. [root]127. See Lose, v. t.]
     1. The act of losing; failure; destruction; privation; as,
        the loss of property; loss of money by gaming; loss of
        health or reputation.
        [1913 Webster]
              Assured loss before the match be played. --Shak.
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     2. The state of losing or having lost; the privation, defect,
        misfortune, harm, etc., which ensues from losing.
        [1913 Webster]
              Though thou repent, yet I have still the loss.
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     3. That which is lost or from which one has parted; waste; --
        opposed to gain or increase; as, the loss of liquor by
        leakage was considerable.
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     4. The state of being lost or destroyed; especially, the
        wreck or foundering of a ship or other vessel.
        [1913 Webster]
     5. Failure to gain or win; as, loss of a race or battle.
        [1913 Webster]
     6. Failure to use advantageously; as, loss of time.
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     7. (Mil.) Killed, wounded, and captured persons, or captured
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     8. (Insurance) Destruction or diminution of value, if brought
        about in a manner provided for in the insurance contract
        (as destruction by fire or wreck, damage by water or
        smoke), or the death or injury of an insured person; also,
        the sum paid or payable therefor; as, the losses of the
        company this year amount to a million of dollars.
        [1913 Webster]
     To bear a loss, to make a loss good; also, to sustain a
        loss without sinking under it.
     To be at a loss, to be in a state of uncertainty.
     Syn: Privation; detriment; injury; damage.
          [1913 Webster]

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