\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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Paddleboarding is a young sport, and each year boards seem to become lighter, cheaper, and more finely tuned. Dylan Silver, Outside Online, "The Best Stand-Up Paddleboards of 2018," 5 July 2018 So a burger made from these cuts is cheap, flavorful, and a win all around. Cara Nicoletti, GQ, "Why You Shouldn't Bother with Fancy Burger Mixes," 3 July 2018 Also, look for grills with innards are also made with stainless steel — especially the grates and burners — instead of cheaper, less durable materials like cast iron or sheet steel. Richard A. Marini, San Antonio Express-News, "S.A.’s money’s no object, high-end outdoor kitchens," 2 July 2018 That’s still cheaper than borrowing costs just 10 years ago. Tom Hudson, miamiherald, "Mortgage costs building up," 1 July 2018 There are lots and lots of different Pi cases available, from cheap, creaky plastic numbers to sleeker aluminum versions to specialty cases with active cooling systems. Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica, "Guidemaster: One-upping the NES Classic Edition with the Raspberry Pi 3 and RetroPie," 30 June 2018 That could change very quickly — say, a trade for Damian Lillard (interesting rumor) or acquiring Carmelo Anthony on the cheap. Bruce Jenkins,, "LeBron James’ Lakers may win someday, but not now," 7 July 2018 The Warriors did well to get him on the cheap, rather than to keep relying on JaVale McGee and Zaza Pachulia at center. Nick Talbot, San Antonio Express-News, "Writers’ Roundtable: How the Spurs’ and NBA free agency is shaping up," 7 July 2018 To find the cheapest available dates, search in Google Flights and use the calendar tool. Bridget Hallinan, Condé Nast Traveler, "Flight Deal: U.S. to Toronto from $202 Round-Trip," 18 June 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cheap

Dictionary Entries near cheap








Statistics for cheap

Last Updated

31 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cheap

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cheap



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.

Keep scrolling for more

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 express warning or disapproval

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!