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a shout of encouragement, approval, congratulation, etc.:
The cheers of the fans filled the stadium.
a set or traditional form of shout used by spectators to encourage or show enthusiasm for an athletic team, contestant, etc., as rah! rah! rah!
something that gives joy or gladness; encouragement; comfort:
words of cheer.
a state of feeling or spirits:
Their good cheer overcame his depression.
gladness, gaiety, or animation:
full of cheer and good spirits.
food and drink:
tables laden with cheer.
Archaic. facial expression.
cheers, (used as a salutation or toast.)
to salute with shouts of approval, congratulation, triumph, etc.:
The team members cheered their captain.
to gladden or cause joy to; inspire with cheer (often followed by up):
The good news cheered her.
to encourage or incite:
She cheered him on when he was about to give up.
to utter cheers of approval, encouragement, triumph, etc.
to become happier or more cheerful (often followed by up):
She cheered up as soon as the sun began to shine.
Obsolete. to be or feel in a particular state of mind or spirits.
be of good cheer, (used as an exhortation to be cheerful):
Be of good cheer! Things could be much worse.
with good cheer, cheerfully; willingly:
She accepted her lot with good cheer.
Contemporary Examples

It was a happening, a celebration of “La Julia,” as the Italians called her, who dished up advice along with bonhomie and cheer.
She Taught Me to Cook—and Called Me a Klutz Sandra McElwaine August 5, 2009

What a town,” someone wrote after the Soviet premier visited, “They cheer Khrushchev and boo Willie Mays.
Baseball’s Greatest Player? Allen Barra February 18, 2010

To see his perhaps greatest novel opened out line by line makes you want to cheer out loud.
Charles Dickens Bicentenary: Why We Should Care Jimmy So February 6, 2012

The fact that a panel of outside experts was consulted does not cheer me up.
The Green Stimulus’ Red Ink David Frum December 2, 2012

To prove we’re not total Grinches, we will also give credit where it’s due and cheer the best surprises.
The Enraging Emmy Nominations: 20 Snubs and Surprises Kevin Fallon July 9, 2014

Historical Examples

“I have not heard anything like a cheer since I have been out of the house,” said Caleb.
The First Capture Harry Castlemon

“cheer up, Mary, for I seek to comfort you,” answered the rejected lover.
The Wives of The Dead Nathaniel Hawthorne

I could say nothing to cheer her, either then, or later, though I often looked in at the flat and did my best.
To Tell You the Truth Leonard Merrick

I went an’ done all I could t’ cheer ‘im up, an’ that’s all the thanks I git fer it.
Chip, of the Flying U B. M. Bower

The tobacco was to gratify my men, who said of all things they most wanted to cheer them was something to smoke.
The Discovery of the Source of the Nile John Hanning Speke

(usually foll by up) to make or become happy or hopeful; comfort or be comforted
to applaud with shouts
when tr, sometimes foll by on. to encourage (a team, person, etc) with shouts, esp in contests
a shout or cry of approval, encouragement, etc, often using such words as hurrah! or rah! rah! rah!
three cheers, three shouts of hurrah given in unison by a group to honour someone or celebrate something
happiness; good spirits
state of mind; spirits (archaic, except in the phrases be of good cheer, with good cheer)
(archaic) provisions for a feast; fare

c.1200, “the face,” especially as expressing emotion, from Anglo-French chere “the face,” Old French chiere “face, countenance, look, expression,” from Late Latin cara “face” (source of Spanish cara), possibly from Greek kara “head,” from PIE root *ker- “head” (see horn (n.)). From mid-13c. as “frame of mind, state of feeling, spirit; mood, humor.”

By late 14c. the meaning had extended metaphorically to “mood, mental condition,” as reflected in the face. This could be in a good or bad sense (“The feend … beguiled her with treacherye, and brought her into a dreerye cheere,” “Merline,” c.1500), but a positive sense (probably short for good cheer) has predominated since c.1400. Meaning “shout of encouragement” first recorded 1720, perhaps nautical slang (cf. earlier verbal sense, “to encourage by words or deeds,” early 15c.). The antique English greeting what cheer (mid-15c.) was picked up by Algonquian Indians of southern New England from the Puritans and spread in Indian languages as far as Canada.

late 14c., “to cheer up, humor, console;” c.1400 as “entertain with food or drink,” from cheer (n.). Related: Cheered; cheering. Sense of “to encourage by words or deeds” is early 15c. Which had focused to “salute with shouts of applause” by late 18c. Cheer up (intransitive) first attested 1670s.

Related Terms

bronx cheer

cheer on
cheer up


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