Definition of cheap in English:


Line breaks: cheap
Pronunciation: /tʃiːp


  • 1Low in price, especially in relation to similar items or services: local buses were reliable and cheap
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    • There is a huge difference between an online bookmaker and a firm who offer services in cheap flights, car hire and internet cafés.
    • That could, in turn, cause prices of oil to slump to the detriment of the Saudi economy and its ability to provide cheap public services.
    • I've read most of it so can strongly recommend books like this that detail the places to visit, cost and includes tips on where to go for great service and a cheap deal.
  • 1.1Charging low prices: a cheap restaurant
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    • Some coffee shops and cheap restaurants were open, and even the city's double-decker public buses were moving in very light traffic.
    • It's not a cheap restaurant, and nor does it need to be.
    • Its restaurants were good and cheap and its pubs overpopulated.
  • 1.2Inexpensive because of inferior quality: cheap, shoddy goods
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    • We may well be starting to develop a taste for better coffee, but only 30 per cent of the beans we import are quality arabica, the rest being cheap, inferior robusta.
    • In addition, cheap, inferior food which floods into this country from abroad undercuts quality home produce and increases the downward pressure on farm gate prices.
    • That is, that it's providing cheap labor instead of quality, but more expensive labor.
    poor-quality, second-rate, third-rate, substandard, low-grade, inferior, common, vulgar, shoddy, trashy, rubbishy, tawdry, tinny, brassy, worthless, meretricious, cheap and nasty, cheapjack, gimcrack, Brummagem, pinchbeck
    informal cheapo, junky, tacky, kitsch, not up to much
    British informal naff, duff, ropy, grotty, rubbish, twopenny-halfpenny
    North American informal a dime a dozen, tinhorn, two-bit, dime-store
    British vulgar slang crap, crappy
    North American vulgar slang chickenshit
    archaic trumpery
  • 2Of little worth because achieved in a discreditable way requiring little effort: her moment of cheap triumph
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    • Finally he did achieve a cheap tabloid immortality, but this CD won't raise his status.
    • The cheap thrills aren't worth the self-inflicted lobotomy one must perform to enjoy them.
    • It hurts, but now I just remind myself that they don't know anything about me, and that I am worth more than their cheap laughs.
  • 2.1Deserving contempt: a cheap trick
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    • She deserves and should expect nothing but ridicule for this newest cheap trick.
    • How are we supposed to teach our kids about sportsmanship and fair play if this coach constantly gets away with his cheap tricks and abusive behavior?
    • There is something strangely mesmerising about a snake-charmer's snake but, at the end of the day, you realise it is just another cheap trick.
  • 2.2North American informal Miserly: she’s too cheap to send me a postcard
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    • The answer is they are greedy and cheap, just like the executives of the supermarket.
    • He is nothing but a cheap penny-pincher who has gone out of his way to alienate himself from Chicago fans.
    • I've got an etiquette question because I can't decide if I'm being cheap and greedy or thoroughly modern.


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  • At or for a low price: a house that was going cheap because of the war
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    • Ah - there's an idea… pork joints going cheap for Christmas anyone?
    • Gary spotted electric trimmers going cheap and brought them home, so both he and Lewis ended up with really short cuts.
    • However, at just under €400,000 before tax and transport costs, it could be a while before you see any going cheap.


cheap and cheerful

British Simple and inexpensive.
More example sentences
  • They want something that is cheap and cheerful that does the job.
  • It seems that everyone involved has forgotten the golden rule for success in promoting any entertainment business - the customer is always right and the customer wants it cheap and cheerful, which a single channel could deliver.
  • GM crops can increase productivity, improve crop quality and end the reliance on chemical pesticides; they are cheap and cheerful, need little maintenance and protect the crops' gene bank.

cheap and nasty

British Of low cost and bad quality: the materials can seem a bit cheap and nasty
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  • They are cheap and nasty, and limit the sound quality enormously.
  • Rather than being cheap and nasty and unstable (like everything else at that store), they seem to be actually quite sturdy and rather pleasing on the eye.
  • People should be made to realise that a bike is a serious investment, or they're going to buy something cheap and nasty and not enjoy the cycling experience as much as if they'd spent a bit more.

(as) cheap as chips

British informal Very inexpensive: the second-hand copies are cheap as chips [as modifier]: cheap-as-chips jewellery
More example sentences
  • Cheap as chips, each drank champagne and vodka tonics all night.
  • My cheap as chips special edition will now be shipping Monday not last Thursday as MS didn't deliver all the stock.
  • Daytime TV ad slots are cheap as chips.

cheap at the price (or • humorous at half the price)

British Well worth having, regardless of the cost: as an investment for the future, the books are cheap at the price
More example sentences
  • If, at last, we begin to see just how counter-productive and wasteful our farming policies have become, the cost of this latest compensation will have been cheap at the price.
  • I would suggest £200 for a ten-year personal licence is hardly excessive - £20 per year seems cheap at the price.
  • Not just deeply relevant, but cheap at the price.

on the cheap

informal At low cost: proper care cannot be provided on the cheap
More example sentences
  • Seven fuel cheats were counting the cost of trying to do their driving on the cheap.
  • But can I do this on the cheap, or does it cost a lot of money to put this together?
  • My generation has become used to living on the cheap - expensive housing, education and cost of living has seen to this.



More example sentences
  • Almost done with packing… of course, we had to make a run in search of a cheapish suitcase, since we bought way too many books during our sojourn in London.
  • The meat was indeed delicious, far better quality than you would expect in a cheapish sandwich, and cooked to perfection.
  • After a nasty couple of hours when it looked like we were going to have to drive I found some cheapish tickets online and we're going by train.


More example sentences
  • It is time councils were compelled to resort to the private sector when it can deliver more efficiently and cheaply.
  • New York's transport system is geared up to get masses of people round the city quickly, cheaply and easily.
  • They decided to move to rural France where they could live cheaply and allow Rankin to concentrate on his fiction.


More example sentences
  • Vulgarity and cheapness has been a problem for me, so nudity, no.
  • There is nothing wrong with cheapness, it can be cheerful, stylish and welcoming; but not if it is shoddy.
  • It allows deep significance to be read into mediocrity, vacuity, cheapness, meanness.


late 15th century: from an obsolete phrase good cheap 'a good bargain', from Old English cēap 'bargaining, trade', based on Latin caupo 'small trader, innkeeper'.

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Pronunciation: ˌkɒlərəˈtjʊərə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody