Cheap



[cheep] /tʃip/

adjective, cheaper, cheapest.
1.
costing very little; relatively low in price; inexpensive:
a cheap dress.
2.
costing little labor or trouble:
Words are cheap.
3.
charging low prices:
a very cheap store.
4.
of little account; of small value; mean; shoddy:
cheap conduct; cheap workmanship.
5.
embarrassed; sheepish:
He felt cheap about his mistake.
6.
obtainable at a low rate of interest:
when money is cheap.
7.
of decreased value or purchasing power, as currency depreciated due to inflation.
8.
stingy; miserly:
He’s too cheap to buy his own brother a cup of coffee.
adverb
9.
at a low price; at small cost:
He is willing to sell cheap.
Idioms
10.
cheap at twice the price, exceedingly inexpensive:
I found this old chair for eight dollars—it would be cheap at twice the price.
11.
on the cheap, Informal. inexpensively; economically:
She enjoys traveling on the cheap.
/tʃiːp/
adjective
1.
costing relatively little; inexpensive; good value
2.
charging low prices: a cheap hairdresser
3.
of poor quality; shoddy: cheap furniture, cheap and nasty
4.
worth relatively little: promises are cheap
5.
not worthy of respect; vulgar
6.
ashamed; embarrassed: to feel cheap
7.
stingy; miserly
8.
(informal) mean; despicable: a cheap liar
9.
cheap as chips, See chip (sense 11)
10.
(informal) dirt cheap, extremely inexpensive
noun
11.
(Brit, informal) on the cheap, at a low cost
adverb
12.
at very little cost
adj.

“low in price, that may be bought at small cost,” c.1500, ultimately from Old English noun ceap “traffic, a purchase,” from ceapian (v.) “trade,” probably from an early Germanic borrowing from Latin caupo “petty tradesman, huckster” (see chapman).

The sense evolution is from the noun meaning “a barter, a purchase” to “a purchase as rated by the buyer,” hence adjectival meaning “inexpensive,” the main modern sense, via Middle English phrases such as god chep “favorable bargain” (12c., a translation of French a bon marché).

Sense of “lightly esteemed, common” is from 1590s (cf. similar evolution of Latin vilis). The meaning “low in price” was represented in Old English by undeor, literally “un-dear” (but deop ceap, literally “deep cheap,” meant “high price”).

The word also was used in Old English for “market” (cf. ceapdæg “market day”), a sense surviving in place names Cheapside, East Cheap, etc. Related: Cheaply. Expression on the cheap is first attested 1888. Cheap shot originally was U.S. football jargon for a head-on tackle; extended sense “unfair hit” in politics, etc. is by 1970. German billig “cheap” is from Middle Low German billik, originally “fair, just,” with a sense evolution via billiger preis “fair price,” etc.

adjective

Related Terms

dirt cheap, on the cheap

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