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Alternative formsEdit


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 caupō (tradesman, innkeeper), related to Ancient Greek κάπηλος (kápēlos, huckster), likely a common Mediterranean borrowing into several IE languages, more at caupō. 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), Norwegian Nynorsk kjøpa (to buy, purchase), Icelandic kaup (purchase, bargain), kaupa (to purchase); also borrowed as Finnish kauppa (shop, trade).


cheap (countable and uncountable, plural cheaps)

  1. (obsolete) Trade; traffic; chaffer; chaffering.
  2. (obsolete) A market; marketplace.
  3. Price.
  4. (obsolete) A low price; a bargain.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Shakespeare
      The sack that thou hast drunk me would have bought me lights as good cheap at the dearest chandler's in Europe.
  5. Cheapness; lowness of price; abundance of supply. (Can we add an example for this sense?)


cheap (comparative cheaper, superlative cheapest)

  1. Low and/or reduced in price.
    • (Can we date this quote?) 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, in 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”, in 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.
  2. Of poor quality.
  3. Of little worth.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Dryden
      You grow cheap in every subject's eye.
  4. (slang, of an action or tactic in a game of skill) Underhand or unfair.
    the cheap trick of hiding deadly lava under pushable blocks
  5. (informal, chiefly derogatory) Stingy; mean; excessively frugal.
    Insurance is expensive, but don't be so cheap that you risk losing your home because of a fire.
  6. (finance) Trading at a price level which is low relative to historical trends, a similar asset, or (for derivatives) a theoretical value.
    The ETF is trading cheap to NAV right now; we can arb this by buying the ETF and selling the underlying constituents.
Related termsEdit
See alsoEdit
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 Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


cheap (third-person singular simple present cheaps, present participle cheaping, simple past and past participle cheaped)

  1. (intransitive, obsolete) To trade; traffic; bargain; chaffer; ask the price of goods; cheapen goods.
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To bargain for; chaffer for; ask the price of; offer a price for; cheapen.
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To buy; purchase.
  4. (transitive, obsolete) To sell.

Derived termsEdit

Usage notesEdit

Use of cheap as a verb has been surpassed by cheapen.


cheap (comparative more cheap, superlative most cheap)

  1. Cheaply.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Milton to this entry?)





cheap m

  1. Lenited form of ceap.



  1. past indicative analytic of ceap