From Middle English cheep, chepe / chepen, chep, cheap / cheapien, chapien, from Old English cēap (“cattle, purchase, sale, traffic, business, bargain, gain, payment, value, price, goods, possessions, property, market, saleable commodities, trade”), ċēapian (“to bargain, chaffer, trade, to contract for the purchase or sale of, buy, bribe, endeavor to bribe”), from Proto-Germanic *kaupaz, *kaupô (“inn-keeper, merchant”), Proto-Germanic *kaupōną, *kaupijaną (“to buy, purchase”), from Latin caupo (“tradesman, innkeeper, huckster”), cauponari (“to traffic, trade”), from Proto-Indo-European *kaup-, *ḱaup-, *kwap-, *ḱwap- (“merchant”), related to Ancient Greek κάπηλος (kápēlos, “huckster”). Cognate with Scots chepe (“to sell”), chape (“sale price”), North Frisian keap (“purchase”), West Frisian keap (“purchase, buy, acquisition”), Dutch koop (“buy, purchase, deal”), kopen (“to buy, purchase, shop”), Low German kopen (“to buy”), German Kauf (“trade, traffic, bargain, purchase, buy”), kaufen (“to buy”), Swedish köp (“bargain, purchase”), köpa (“to buy, purchase”), Icelandic kaup (“purchase, bargain”), kaupa (“to purchase”), Finnish kauppa (“shop”).
cheap (plural cheaps)
- Trade; traffic; chaffer; chaffering.
- A market; marketplace.
- A low price; a bargain.
- The sack that thou hast drunk me would have bought me lights as good cheap at the dearest chandler's in Europe.
- Cheapness; lowness of price; abundance of supply.
- Low and/or reduced in price.
- John Locke
- Where there are a great sellers to a few buyers, there the thing to be sold will be cheap.
1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 3, The Mirror and the Lamp:
- One saint's day in mid-term a certain newly appointed suffragan-bishop came to the school chapel, and there preached on “The Inner Life.” He at once secured attention by his informal method, and when presently the coughing of Jarvis […] interrupted the sermon, he altogether captivated his audience with a remark about cough lozenges being cheap and easily procurable.
2013 July 20, “Out of the gloom”, The Economist, volume 408, number 8845:
- [Rural solar plant] schemes are of little help to industry or other heavy users of electricity. Nor is solar power yet as cheap as the grid. For all that, the rapid arrival of electric light to Indian villages is long overdue. When the national grid suffers its next huge outage, as it did in July 2012 when hundreds of millions were left in the dark, look for specks of light in the villages.
- John Locke
- Of poor quality.
- Of little worth.
- You grow cheap in every subject's eye.
- (slang, of an action or tactic in a game of skill) underhand; dubious.
- (derogatory) Frugal; stingy.
- Insurance is expensive, but don't be so cheap that you risk losing your home because of a fire.
- (low/reduced in price): bargain, inexpensive, frugal, no frills, priced-off
- (of poor quality): flimsy
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.
- (intransitive, obsolete) To trade; traffic; bargain; chaffer; ask the price of goods; cheapen goods.
- (transitive, obsolete) To bargain for; chaffer for; ask the price of; offer a price for; cheapen.
- (transitive, obsolete) To buy; purchase.
- (transitive, obsolete) To sell.
Use of cheap as a verb has been surpassed by cheapen.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Milton to this entry?)
- Lenited form of ceap.
- Lenited form of ceap.