Cheap and cheep are two words that are pronounced in the same manner but are spelled differently and have different meanings, which makes them homophones. We will examine the definitions of cheap and cheep, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.
Cheap describes something that is economically priced, something that doesn’t cost much, something inexpensive or something that is poorly made or of inferior quality. Cheap may also describe a person who is a miser. Interestingly, when describing a consumer product as cheap, it may mean that the item is shabbily made, or it may mean that the price point is appealing. Calling a person cheap is always an insult. Cheap is an adjective, related words are cheaper, cheapest, cheaply, cheapness. The word cheap is derived from the Old English word ceap meaning a purchase.
Cheep is a peep or squeaky sound that is made by a baby bird, or a sound that resembles the squeaky sound made by a baby bird. Cheep may be used as a noun or an intransitive verb, which is a verb that does not take an object. Related words are cheeps, cheeped, cheeping. The word cheep is an imitative word, first recorded in the 1500s in Scotland.
Last week I was trying to decide what discipline I would challenge myself to take on this Lent when one of my church friends suggested that I give up being cheap for the 40-day stint. (The Tennessean)
If you want a cheap ticket to Las Vegas (who doesn’t?), you can fly United Airlines with one day’s advance purchase. (The Anchorage Daily News)
I’ve always found it curious that despite spending even more billions over decades trying to locate other forms of intelligent life we’ve had nary a cheep back; not even a single intergalactic WhatsApp message. (The Guardian)
Enjoyed reading about this idiom? Check out some others we covered: