cheese·​par·​ing | \ ˈchēz-ˌper-iŋ How to pronounce cheeseparing (audio) \

Definition of cheeseparing

1 : something worthless or insignificant
2 : miserly economizing

Other Words from cheeseparing

cheeseparing adjective

Did you know?

Those familiar with William Shakespeare's history play Henry IV may recall how the portly Falstaff remembered the thin Justice Shallow "like a man made after supper of a cheese-paring." Falstaff's unusual food simile is one not easily forgotten, and people began to associate cheese-parings (bits of cheese trimmed off a larger portion) with other things of little significance and value. In the 19th century, the meaning of cheeseparing was extended to "miserly economizing." (Presumably, the practice of paring off the rind so as to waste the minimum of cheese was viewed as an excessive form of frugality.)

Examples of cheeseparing in a Sentence

Ebenezer Scrooge is portrayed as a taskmaster so dedicated to cheeseparing that he would prefer that his employees freeze to death rather than splurge on heat.

First Known Use of cheeseparing

1800, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About cheeseparing

Time Traveler for cheeseparing

Time Traveler

The first known use of cheeseparing was in 1800

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About cheeseparing

Dictionary Entries Near cheeseparing



cheese pitch

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for cheeseparing

Cite this Entry

“Cheeseparing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jul. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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