cheap·​en | \ ˈchē-pən How to pronounce cheapen (audio) \
cheapened; cheapening\ ˈchēp-​niŋ How to pronounce cheapening (audio) , 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

Brandopolis respects no boundaries, even if familiar landmarks are cheapened as a result. John King,, "Goodbye, San Francisco. Hello, Brandopolis," 30 June 2019 Without wage earners, or when workers’ time and labor are cheapened for easy sale, who will be the market for the products of these industries? Marilynne Robinson, Harper's magazine, "Is Poverty Necessary?," 10 June 2019 The result is that, of the dozens of speaking parts in this nearly 400-page book, only Burgh’s lingers in memory, and even his is cheapened by a lame Freudian backstory involving a dead father and a bad day at Guadalcanal. Jackson Arn, WSJ, "‘Goodbye to Tenth Street’ Review: A Final Sweeping," 15 Feb. 2019 Like all things in synthetic biology, these tools will continue to improve, cheapen, and miniaturize with extraordinary speed. George Church, Ars Technica, "We should create a global DNA threat-detection network to fight future pathogens," 19 June 2019 Why educate a public to reason and reflect, to base their thinking as citizens on some sense of history, when industry wants them to be trained to meet quite different needs, meanwhile flooding the labor pool with their kind and cheapening wages? Marilynne Robinson, Harper's magazine, "Is Poverty Necessary?," 10 June 2019 That means engineers can afford to cheapen the magnets and scale down the design to meet a particular power target. Matthew Jancer, Popular Mechanics, "Speaking of Spokes: The Design That Could Change How Electric Car Motors Are Made," 20 Nov. 2018 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

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

12 Jul 2019

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 How to pronounce cheapen (audio) \
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

Comments on cheapen

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