\ˈchēp \

Definition of cheap 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1a : charging or obtainable at a low price a good cheap hotel cheap tickets

b : purchasable below the going price or the real value

c : depreciated in value (as by currency inflation) cheap dollars

2a : of inferior quality or worth : tawdry, sleazy cheap workmanship

b : stingy My uncle was too cheap to pay for dinner.

c : contemptible because of lack of any fine, lofty, or redeeming qualities feeling cheap I felt cheap, full of shame and guilt

3 : gained or done with little effort a cheap victory talk is cheap

4 of money : obtainable at a low rate of interest



Definition of cheap (Entry 2 of 3)

: for little cost : cheaply was able to buy it cheap "It all seems to centre round that bust of Napoleon which I bought for this very room about four months ago. I picked it up cheap from Harding Brothers, two doors from the High Street Station."— Arthur Conan Doyle



Definition of cheap (Entry 3 of 3)

on the cheap

: at minimum expense : cheaply did the job on the cheap

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Other Words from cheap


cheapish \ˈchē-​pish \ adjective
cheapishly adverb
cheaply \ˈchē-​plē \ adverb
cheapness noun

Examples of cheap in a Sentence


I always buy the cheapest brand of cereal. curtains made of cheap material He wears a cheap watch that's always breaking. This gas station is cheaper than the one by the highway. Don't be cheap—buy good quality tires for your car.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Similarly, Energy Vault wants to build a system of six cranes, which will electrically stack heavy bricks into a tower when electricity is cheap and plentiful. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Battery idea: Hydroelectric pumped storage, but with bricks," 18 Nov. 2018 There’s a conversation to be had about this in the era of deepfakes when cheap and easy image manipulation means that seeing is believing is no longer gospel. Bijan Stephen, The Verge, "The White House used a doctored video to tell a lie," 8 Nov. 2018 So yeah, on price, the Dell XPS 13 is actually cheaper and has a larger SSD. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Here's how much slower (and faster?) Apple's new MacBook Air is than Dell's XPS 13," 2 Nov. 2018 Meanwhile, cheap and easy repairs make older phones last longer but depress demand for the latest and greatest, which might not have a whole lot to offer considering its price tag. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Motorola Backs the Right to Repair with Kits for Your Phone," 24 Oct. 2018 Whatever the details are, hopefully the makeup will be part of some of Ulta's killer sales, because Kylie's products are never cheap and rarely marked down. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "OMG Kylie Cosmetics is Coming to Ulta Stores This Holiday Season," 30 Aug. 2018 And there's quick and easy (and cheap) way to inject some fresh energy into your summer rotation: Throw on a fresh pair of sunglasses. Shilpa Prabhakar Nadella, Glamour, "30 Sunglasses Under $50 for a Midsummer Outfit Tune-up," 19 July 2018 Free is still not cheap enough for most people, because cost is not what holds them back actively or passively. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Oculus co-founder: “Free is still not cheap enough” for current VR tech," 1 Nov. 2018 On the other hand, the plan might let some individual coal plants keep going for years by making refurbishment cheaper. Jennie Neufeld, Vox, "Vox Sentences: The Trump administration is not down with CPP," 23 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cheap.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cheap


1509, in the meaning defined at sense 1b


1569, in the meaning defined above


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cheap


see cheap entry 3


Middle English chep, from Old English cēap trade; akin to Old High German kouf trade; both ultimately from Latin caupo tradesman

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Statistics for cheap

Last Updated

28 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cheap

The first known use of cheap was before the 12th century

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English Language Learners Definition of cheap

: not costing a lot of money

: of low quality : not worth a lot of money

: charging low prices


\ˈchēp \
cheaper; cheapest

Kids Definition of cheap

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : not costing much a cheap meal

2 : charging low prices a cheap hotel

3 : worth little : of low quality cheap perfume

4 : gained without much effort a cheap victory

5 : having little self-respect I feel cheap lying to her.

6 : not willing to share or spend money : stingy my cheap uncle

Other Words from cheap

cheaply adverb



Kids Definition of cheap (Entry 2 of 2)

: at low cost They'll sell cheap.

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More from Merriam-Webster on cheap

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cheap

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cheap

Spanish Central: Translation of cheap

Nglish: Translation of cheap for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cheap for Arabic Speakers

Comments on cheap

What made you want to look up cheap? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to enclose within walls

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