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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. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for cheapen
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I do remember the tendency of silver to cheapen, but the ruin of the brick industry has escaped me.

    Over the Plum Pudding John Kendrick Bangs
  • It wont do to cheapen your work by putting a small price on it.

  • In such a case it was the bounden duty of Parliament to end the law's delays and cheapen the procedure.

    William Pitt and the Great War John Holland Rose
  • He was never known to bargain for a book or to endeavour to cheapen it.

    The Book-Hunter in London William Roberts
  • How man does cheapen God's plan of things; leaves out the kernel, and keeps only an empty shell sometimes.

    Quiet Talks on Prayer S. D. (Samuel Dickey) Gordon
  • They cheapen, he complained, by their imports sassafras from its proper price of 20s.

    Sir Walter Ralegh William Stebbing
  • Adulteration is also practiced when made-over materials or waste is used to cheapen the cost.

    Clothing and Health Helen Kinne
  • It is their purpose to increase importation in order to cheapen prices.

    Speeches of Benjamin Harrison Benjamin Harrison
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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