We propose a general cryptographic primitive called lossy trapdoor functions (lossy TDFs), and we use it to develop new approaches for constructing several important cryptographic tools, including (injective) trapdoor functions, collision-resistant hash functions, oblivious transfer, and chosen ciphertext-secure cryptosystems (in the standard model). All of these constructions are simple, efficient, and black-box. We realize lossy TDFs based on a variety of cryptographic assumptions, including the hardness of the decisional Diffie–Hellman (DDH) problem and the hardness of the “learning with errors” problem (which is implied by the worst-case hardness of various lattice problems). Taken together, our results resolve some long-standing open problems in cryptography. They give the first injective TDFs based on problems not directly related to integer factorization and provide the first chosen ciphertext-secure cryptosystem based solely on worst-case complexity assumptions.