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[chee-puh n]
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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.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to become cheap or cheaper.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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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
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper