Definition of cheapjack in English:



  • A seller of cheap inferior goods, typically a hawker at a fair or market.

    • ‘The days when the farmer was the cheapjack are over.’
    • ‘However, it can scarcely have always been so, unless every fairground showman, circus performer, strolling player, cheapjack and Punch and Judy man in history was gay, which seems somewhat unlikely.’
    • ‘A cheapjack calling himself Dr Marigold took pity on this deaf and dumb child who resembled his daughter who had died.’


North American
  • Of inferior quality.

    • ‘The director decided to take ‘the opportunity to beat his cheapjack imitators at their own game’.’
    • ‘I looked forward to that, and began reading avidly, but soon the sonnets went off into a very cheapjack self parody, and I thought oh, how easy!’
    • ‘But the cheapjack production values and inconsistent animation constitute serious and sad disappointments.’
    • ‘It was a cheapjack company that paid writers and artists at rates ranging from poor to involuntary servitude, then printed their wares on presses that were outmoded.’
    • ‘And so, you find the bizarreness of a funeral being transformed into a cheapjack political rally - and none of the participants realizing how utterly ghastly that looks to normal people.’
    poor-quality, second-rate, third-rate, substandard, low-grade, inferior, common, vulgar, shoddy, trashy, rubbishy, tawdry, tinny, brassy, worthless, meretricious, cheap and nasty, cheapjack, gimcrack, brummagem, pinchbeck
    View synonyms


Mid 19th century: from cheap + jack.