Meanings of “Cheapskate”

The phrase “cheapskate” means a person who is despicable, or mean, or evil in such a way that others hate him. This term is also used for scrooges, pikers, penny-pinchers, or misers.

Origin of “Cheapskate”

The phrase “cheapskate” seems to have originated in the United States at the end of the 19th century. Although earlier, it used to be “cheap skates,” later its spellings were standardized. Its first reference has been found in Artie: A Story of the Streets and Town written by George Ade. It was first published in 1896. In that book, the phrase goes thus: “They get in with a lot o’ cheap skates and chase around at nights.”

Examples in Literature

Example #1

Cheapskate by Lamar Cole

Moses was an inner city cheapskate.
He was up early while everyone else was sleeping late.
Sunday was his day to be a small time thief.
He would steal one of his neighbors’ Sunday newspaper.

Leaving the neighbor with a lot of grief.
One Sunday morning he was sneaked attacked and bit by a neighbor’s dog.
He would have missed getting bit in the butt.
If there had not been a lot of fog.

This poem explains that a cheapskate person often comes across troubles when he is out. The tale of Moses presents him with a boy who takes up stealing on Sunday newspaper to satisfy his reading greed. However, it happens that the fog blinds him to the presence of a domestic dog who bites him. The humor latent in this story becomes clear by the end, with a metaphorical story in poetry to show that the character of the young boy is a cheapskate, for he cannot spend a few pennies in the newspaper.

Example #2

Cheapskate by Oliver Tree

A night robber stopped me on the freeway
No cash baby I’m a cheapskate
Worked the graveyard shift on the weekday
Split my wallet and my heart into three ways

This stanza shows how the speaker tells the story of a robber that he himself works in a graveyard in a shift and earns his ways out of this difficult life. Therefore, the robber should not expect anything from him.

Example #3

Cheapskate by Darren Crockett

An attractive African American lady wants a millionaire as her husband desirous of living a luxurious life, Keyana,. After working for some time, she earns enough to go on the hunt for such a person and met Lamont, a college student. Although their unexpected meeting is also a miracle, the nature of Lamont to hoodwink ladies come into play that Keyana seemed to have found she had been looking for. The chemistry between the two showed that both are cheapskates. Therefore, the title of the novel clearly reflects its meanings through the story of Keyana.

Example #4

How to Retire the Cheapskate Way: The Ultimate Cheapskate’s Guide to a Better, Earlier, Happier Retirement by Jeff Yeager

Jeff Yeager has written this beautiful book for retirees to save something for their rainy days. It tells how to enjoy retirement by saving a penny a day. In fact, Yeager has discussed his own retirement life plans to the expected retirees. Therefore, his suggestions seem quite useful. The word cheapskate has positive connotations in this book.

Example in Sentences

Example #1: “He is called a cheapskate because he doesn’t like to buy stuff with his own money.”

Example #2: “Rupert is behaving like he is a cheapskate at the wedding. I don’t want to invite him to any parties in the future. It’s an insult to our status, said Mindy.”

Example #3: “I have never seen such a cheapskate in him as he has acted at that time. In fact, when he had had a lot of money, he kept it in his pocket and never showed it to the people. Even his family went hungry during those days.”

Example #4: “Although he behaved like a cheapskate, he himself is not a cheapskate. In fact, being a cheapskate is beneath his character and personality. People, first, did not believe that he could be so, and later, insisted that he is not a cheapskate.”

Example #5: “If you bargain too much or ask for discounts at shopping malls, people will think you are a cheapskate.”