General English


  • adjective not costing a lot of money or not expensive


  • (written as Cheap)
    A description applied to a currency that is being offered at a lower price than the value suggested by analysis of market conditions. Identification of "cheap" foreign exchange opportunities, with the intention to sell after the price is "corrected" or adjusted upward to the appropriate value, is a component of many investment strategies.

Origin & History of “cheap”

The adjectival use of cheap in English is quite recent, but the word itself goes back a long way. Its ultimate source is the Latin noun caupō ‘tradesman’, which was borrowed into Germanic in prehistoric times. among its descendants were German kaufen ‘buy’, Old English cēapian ‘trade’ (the possible source of chop, as in ‘chop and change’), and the Old English noun cēap ‘trade’. In middle English times this came to be used in such phrases as good chepe, meaning ‘good bargain’, and by the 16th century an adjectival sense ‘inexpensive’ had developed. The original sense ‘trade’ is preserved in the personal name Chapman, which until the 19th century was an ordinary noun meaning ‘trader’ (it is the source of chap ‘fellow’).