Meaning of “cheap” in the English Dictionary

"cheap" in British English

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cheapadjective

uk /tʃiːp/ us /tʃiːp/

cheap adjective (LOW PRICE)

A1 costing little money or less than is usual or expected:

I got a cheap flight at the last minute.
Food is usually cheaper in supermarkets.
Children and the elderly are entitled to cheap train tickets.
The system is simple and cheap to operate.
During times of mass unemployment, there's a pool of cheap labour for employers to draw from.
figurative In a war, human life becomes very cheap (= seems to be of little value).

If a shop or restaurant is cheap, it charges low prices:

I go to the cheapest hairdresser's in town.
cheap and cheerful UK

cheap but good or enjoyable:

There's a restaurant round the corner that serves cheap and cheerful food.
on the cheap informal

If you get goods on the cheap, you get them for a low price, often from someone you know who works in the company or business that produces them.

More examples

cheap adjective (DRESSED SEXILY)

disapproving If you describe the way a person is dressed as cheap, you mean that it is very obvious that they are trying to sexually attract other people.

cheapadverb

uk /tʃiːp/ us /tʃiːp/

(Definition of “cheap” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"cheap" in American English

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cheapadjective [ -er/-est only ]

us /tʃip/

cheap adjective [ -er/-est only ] (COST)

costing little money or less than is usual or expected:

After World War II, the US had cheap labor, cheap energy, cheap raw materials, cheap housing, cheap food, and cheap transportation.
Used computers are dirt cheap (= very cheap).

If a place that sells goods or services is cheap, it charges low prices:

Goods that are cheap are low in price but of poor quality:

The cheap rug did not come clean.

disapproving Someone who is cheap is unwilling to spend money:

The boss is cheap – he’ll never buy a new truck if he can squeeze a few more miles out of the old one.

cheap adjective [ -er/-est only ] (CHARACTER)

considered to have a low moral character or value:

She called him a cheap thug and a liar.

(Definition of “cheap” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"cheap" in Business English

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cheapadjective

uk /tʃiːp/ us

costing little money or less than is usual or expected:

I got a cheap flight at the last minute.
Food is usually cheaper in supermarkets.
During times of mass unemployment, there's a pool of cheap labour for employers to draw from.
See also

if a store, restaurant, etc. is cheap, it charges low prices:

This is the cheapest office supplies store in the city.
See also

low in quality and low in price:

He bought some cheap shoes that fell apart after a couple of months.

US disapproving UK mean unwilling to spend money:

He's so cheap we didn't get a pay raise this year.
cheap and cheerful UK informal

cheap, but good or enjoyable:

There's a restaurant round the corner that serves cheap and cheerful food.
cheap and nasty

UK informal costing little, and of bad quality:

Spend a little more and avoid getting something that is just cheap and nasty.

cheapadverb

uk /tʃiːp/ us

for little money, or for less than is usual:

buy/sell sth cheap I bought it cheap from an internet auction site.
be going cheap

to be for sale for less than you would normally expect to pay:

Many mortgage deals are going cheap right now.
not come cheap

if you say that something does not come cheap, you mean that it is of good quality and is therefore expensive:

If you want a qualified accountant, their services don't come cheap.
on the cheap informal

if something is bought, done, or produced on the cheap, it is bought, etc. for less money than you would normally expect to pay, and is perhaps of poor quality:

This site will help you to eat well on the cheap.
Much of the refurbishment work has been done on the cheap - and it shows.

(Definition of “cheap” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)