Cheer vs. Chear

By Jaxson

  • Cheer

    Cheering involves the uttering or making of sounds and may be used to encourage, excite to action, indicate approval, or welcome.

    The word cheer originally meant face, countenance, or expression, and came through Old French into Middle English in the 13th century from Low Latin cara, head; this is generally referred to the Greek καρα;. Cara is used by the 6th-century poet Flavius Cresconius Corippus, Postquam venere verendam Caesilris ante caram (In Laud em Justini Minoris). Cheer was at first qualified with epithets, both of joy and gladness and of sorrow; compare She thanked Dyomede for ale … his gode chere (Chaucer, Troylus) with If they sing … tis with so dull a cheere (Shakespeare, Sonnets, xcvii.). An early transference in meaning was to hospitality or entertainment, and hence to food and drink, good cheer. The sense of a shout of encouragement or applause is a late use. Defoe (Captain Singleton) speaks of it as a sailor’s word, and the meaning does not appear in Johnson.

    Of the different words or rather sounds that are used in cheering, “hurrah”, though now generally looked on as the typical British form of cheer, is found in various forms in German, Scandinavian, Russian (ura), French (hourra). It is probably onomatopoeic in origin. The English hurrah was preceded by huzza, stated to be a sailors word, and generally connected with heeze, to hoist, probably being one of the cries that sailors use when hauling or hoisting. The German hoch, seen in full in Hoch lebe der Kaiser, &c., the French vive, Italian and Spanish viva, evviva, are cries rather of acclamation than encouragement. The Japanese shout banzai became familiar during the Russo-Japanese War. In reports of parliamentary and other debates the insertion of cheers at any point in a speech indicates that approval was shown by members of the House by emphatic utterances of hear hear. Cheering may be tumultuous, or it may be conducted rhythmically by prearrangement, as in the case of the Hip-hip-hip by way of introduction to a simultaneous hurrah. The saying “hip hip hurrah” dates to the early 1800s. Nevertheless, some sources speculate possible roots going back to the crusaders, then meaning “Jerusalem is lost to the infidel, and we are on our way to paradise”. The abbreviation HEP would then stand for Hierosolyma est perdita, “Jerusalem is lost” in Latin.

  • Cheer (noun)

    A cheerful attitude; gaiety; mirth. from 14thc.

  • Cheer (noun)

    That which promotes good spirits or cheerfulness; provisions prepared for a feast; entertainment.

    “a table loaded with good cheer”

  • Cheer (noun)

    A cry expressing joy, approval or support such as “hurray”. from 18thc.

    “A cheer rose from the crowd.”

  • Cheer (noun)

    A chant made in support of a team at a sports event.

  • Cheer (noun)

    One’s facial expression or countenance. 13th-19thc.

  • Cheer (noun)

    One’s attitude, mood. from 14thc.

  • Cheer (noun)


    “I’m going to wear my new cheer shoes at cheer today.”

  • Cheer (verb)

    To gladden; to make cheerful; often with up.

    “We were cheered by the offer of a cup of tea.”

  • Cheer (verb)

    To infuse life, courage, animation, or hope, into; to inspirit; to solace or comfort.

  • Cheer (verb)

    To applaud or encourage with cheers or shouts.

    “The crowd cheered in support of the athletes.”

    “The crowd cheered the athletes.”

  • Chear (noun)

    obsolete form of cheer

  • Cheer (verb)

    shout for joy or in praise or encouragement

    “she cheered from the sidelines”

  • Cheer (verb)

    praise or encourage with shouts

    “the cyclists were cheered on by the crowds”

    “MPs rose to cheer the Chancellor”

  • Cheer (verb)

    give comfort or support to

    “he seemed greatly cheered by my arrival”

  • Cheer (verb)

    make or become less miserable

    “I asked her out to lunch to cheer her up”

    “he cheered up at the sight of the food”

  • Cheer (noun)

    a shout of encouragement, praise, or joy

    “a tremendous cheer from the audience”

  • Cheer (noun)

    cheerfulness, optimism, or confidence

    “an attempt to inject a little cheer into this gloomy season”

  • Cheer (noun)

    food and drink provided for a festive occasion

    “they had partaken heartily of the Christmas cheer”

Oxford Dictionary

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