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[chee-puh n] /ˈtʃi pən/
verb (used with object)
to make cheap or cheaper.
to lower in esteem; bring into contempt:
Constant swearing cheapened him.
to decrease the quality or beauty of; make inferior or vulgar:
She cheapened the dress by adding a fringe to it.
Archaic. to bargain for.
verb (used without object)
to become cheap or cheaper.
Origin of cheapen
obsolete English
1555-65; cheap + -en1; replacing Middle English chepen (> obsolete English cheap (v.)) to price, bargain, Old English cēapian to bargain, trade, buy; cognate with Old Norse kaupa, Gothic kaupōn, German kaufen
Related forms
cheapener, noun
uncheapened, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for cheapen
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He loved with single heart and refused to cheapen himself or his love.

    White Fang Jack London
  • To quote or to individualize would be to cheapen this vast offering.

  • He was never known to bargain for a book or to endeavour to cheapen it.

    The Book-Hunter in London William Roberts
  • At "cheapen the cost" his big ears twitched as if they had been tickled.

    The Plum Tree David Graham Phillips
  • It wont do to cheapen your work by putting a small price on it.

  • It is the market of young lecturers, whom you may cheapen here at all rates and sizes.

    Microcosmography John Earle
  • Her Uncle Tom and Winifred seemed to jeer at her, to cheapen her.

    The Rainbow D. H. (David Herbert) Lawrence
  • They cheapen, he complained, by their imports sassafras from its proper price of 20s.

    Sir Walter Ralegh William Stebbing
British Dictionary definitions for cheapen


to make or become lower in reputation, quality, etc; degrade or be degraded
to make or become cheap or cheaper
Derived Forms
cheapener, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for cheapen

1570s, "ask the price of," from cheap (adj.) + -en (1). Meaning "lower the price of" is from 1833, but figuratively, "to lower in estimation" is from 1650s. Related: Cheapened; cheapening.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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