[chee-puh n]
See more synonyms for cheapen on
verb (used with object)
  1. to make cheap or cheaper.
  2. to lower in esteem; bring into contempt: Constant swearing cheapened him.
  3. to decrease the quality or beauty of; make inferior or vulgar: She cheapened the dress by adding a fringe to it.
  4. Archaic. to bargain for.
verb (used without object)
  1. to become cheap or cheaper.

Origin of cheapen

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 formscheap·en·er, nounun·cheap·ened, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cheapen

Contemporary Examples of cheapen

  • In 2012, the “Israel-right-or-wrong” crowd continued to cheapen the very serious issue of anti-Semitism.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Top Ten Issues The ADL Ignored

    Lara Friedman

    December 17, 2012

  • The first are books that bring added value to the popular, the second cheapen the whole proposition of publishing.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The $5 Million Ghost Story

    Celia McGee

    October 3, 2009

Historical Examples of cheapen

British Dictionary definitions for cheapen


  1. to make or become lower in reputation, quality, etc; degrade or be degraded
  2. to make or become cheap or cheaper
Derived Formscheapener, 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

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