cheap·​en | \ˈchē-pən \
cheapened; cheapening\ˈchēp-​niŋ, ˈchē-​pə-​ \

Definition of cheapen 

transitive verb

1 [ obsolete English cheap to price, bid for ] archaic

a : to ask the price of

b : to bid or bargain for

2a : to make cheap in price or value

b : to lower in general esteem

c : to make tawdry, vulgar, or inferior

intransitive verb

: to become cheap

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Examples of cheapen in a Sentence

products cheapened by sloppy workmanship Using the national flag in advertising only cheapens it. Poor marketing can cheapen a brand name. I thought that the show cheapened the lives of the people it portrayed. The wedding ceremony was cheapened by the best man's tasteless jokes.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Studios and major cinema owners deserve some blame for cheapening the theatrical experience. New York Times, "Does It Matter if You See a Film in a Theater or at Home?," 8 May 2018 And does this cheapen the experience of Steve's dramatic death scene in the first film? David Betancourt,, "Is a major 'Wonder Woman' character back from the dead for the sequel?," 13 June 2018 The smartphone has democratized and arguably cheapened, like so much else, this particular form of expression. Laren Stover, New York Times, "The Selfie That Dares to Go There," 7 July 2018 Never mind that the restaurant has a blah location — just another of those cookie-cutter strip centers that dot and cheapen suburbia. Tim Smith,, "Stanford Kitchen a welcome addition to Owings Mills dining scene," 5 July 2018 Politicians can cheapen — and ruin — public dialogue without fear of immediate retribution. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "In firing Chris Bosio, Detroit Tigers prove that words still matter," 28 June 2018 While engaging with customers in a snarky way has helped Wendy’s so far, companies need to be careful not to take things too far in the quest for social media fame. Outdoing the last tweet could cheapen the brand. Courtney Becker,, "Wendy's sassy twitter feed is fun and sets the bar for fast-food chains," 15 June 2018 Simply calling a beer a lager, a term given to any beer which is fermented with a lager yeast, cheapens the whole category. Markus Haas, San Antonio Express-News, "Fact or fiction: When good beers lie," 19 Apr. 2018 Others say the company is looking to cut costs, and that the change will cheapen the value of the pricey $ dolls. Caroline Alkire, Good Housekeeping, "[UPDATE]: Parents Are Overjoyed They Can Take American Girl Dolls' Underwear Off Again," 23 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cheapen.' 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 cheapen

1562, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Statistics for cheapen

Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cheapen

The first known use of cheapen was in 1562

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More Definitions for cheapen



English Language Learners Definition of cheapen

: to cause (something) to be of lower quality

: to cause (something) to have or to seem to have less value, meaning, or importance


cheap·​en | \ˈchē-pən \
cheapened; cheapening

Kids Definition of cheapen

: to cause to be of lower quality, value, or importance Products are cheapened by poor workmanship.

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More from Merriam-Webster on cheapen

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cheapen

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cheapen

Spanish Central: Translation of cheapen

Nglish: Translation of cheapen for Spanish Speakers

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