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[cheer] /tʃɪər/
a shout of encouragement, approval, congratulation, etc.:
The cheers of the fans filled the stadium.
a set or traditional form of shout used by spectators to encourage or show enthusiasm for an athletic team, contestant, etc., as rah! rah! rah!
something that gives joy or gladness; encouragement; comfort:
words of cheer.
a state of feeling or spirits:
Their good cheer overcame his depression.
gladness, gaiety, or animation:
full of cheer and good spirits.
food and drink:
tables laden with cheer.
Archaic. facial expression.
cheers, (used as a salutation or toast.)
verb (used with object)
to salute with shouts of approval, congratulation, triumph, etc.:
The team members cheered their captain.
to gladden or cause joy to; inspire with cheer (often followed by up):
The good news cheered her.
to encourage or incite:
She cheered him on when he was about to give up.
verb (used without object)
to utter cheers of approval, encouragement, triumph, etc.
to become happier or more cheerful (often followed by up):
She cheered up as soon as the sun began to shine.
Obsolete. to be or feel in a particular state of mind or spirits.
be of good cheer, (used as an exhortation to be cheerful):
Be of good cheer! Things could be much worse.
with good cheer, cheerfully; willingly:
She accepted her lot with good cheer.
Origin of cheer
1175-1225; Middle English chere face < Anglo-French; compare Old French chiere < Late Latin cara face, head < Greek kárā head
Related forms
cheerer, noun
cheeringly, adverb
uncheered, adjective
uncheering, adjective
well-cheered, adjective
3. solace. 5. joy, mirth, glee, merriment. 9. applaud. 10. exhilarate, animate. Cheer, gladden, enliven mean to make happy or lively. To cheer is to comfort, to restore hope and cheerfulness to (now often cheer up, when thoroughness, a definite time, or a particular point in the action is referred to): to cheer a sick person; She soon cheered him up. To gladden does not imply a state of sadness to begin with, but suggests bringing pleasure or happiness to someone: to gladden someone's heart with good news. Enliven suggests bringing vivacity and liveliness: to enliven a dull evening, a party. 11. inspirit.
10. discourage, depress. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for cheering
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • At seven o'clock, A.M. of that day, they were aroused from a lethargy by the cheering cry of the steersman, "there's a sail!"

  • There was a distant sound of yelling and cheering and shouting.

  • "And like as not they heard us cheering when we glimpsed the lake, and cleared out in a big hurry," Ethan went on to say.

  • Then followed wrestling, bout after bout, and cheering from the crowd.

    Buried Cities, Part 2 Jennie Hall
  • He bowed to our young guest and kissed her hand and sat down in the midst of our cheering.

    The Light in the Clearing Irving Bacheller
British Dictionary definitions for cheering


(usually foll by up) to make or become happy or hopeful; comfort or be comforted
to applaud with shouts
when tr, sometimes foll by on. to encourage (a team, person, etc) with shouts, esp in contests
a shout or cry of approval, encouragement, etc, often using such words as hurrah! or rah! rah! rah!
three cheers, three shouts of hurrah given in unison by a group to honour someone or celebrate something
happiness; good spirits
state of mind; spirits (archaic, except in the phrases be of good cheer, with good cheer)
(archaic) provisions for a feast; fare
See also cheers
Derived Forms
cheerer, noun
cheeringly, adverb
Word Origin
C13 (in the sense: face, welcoming aspect): from Old French chere, from Late Latin cara face, from Greek kara head
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 cheering



c.1200, "the face," especially as expressing emotion, from Anglo-French chere "the face," Old French chiere "face, countenance, look, expression," from Late Latin cara "face" (source of Spanish cara), possibly from Greek kara "head," from PIE root *ker- "head" (see horn (n.)). From mid-13c. as "frame of mind, state of feeling, spirit; mood, humor."

By late 14c. the meaning had extended metaphorically to "mood, mental condition," as reflected in the face. This could be in a good or bad sense ("The feend ... beguiled her with treacherye, and brought her into a dreerye cheere," "Merline," c.1500), but a positive sense (probably short for good cheer) has predominated since c.1400. Meaning "shout of encouragement" first recorded 1720, perhaps nautical slang (cf. earlier verbal sense, "to encourage by words or deeds," early 15c.). The antique English greeting what cheer (mid-15c.) was picked up by Algonquian Indians of southern New England from the Puritans and spread in Indian languages as far as Canada.


late 14c., "to cheer up, humor, console;" c.1400 as "entertain with food or drink," from cheer (n.). Related: Cheered; cheering. Sense of "to encourage by words or deeds" is early 15c. Which had focused to "salute with shouts of applause" by late 18c. Cheer up (intransitive) first attested 1670s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for cheering


Related Terms

bronx cheer

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with cheering


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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