Word of the Day: cheer

Word of the Day
August 8, 2016
cheer (noun, verb)
/tʃɪr/ sound icon
Cheering fans
A cheer is a shout of encouragement and any other special shout or song used by fans of an athletic team or a contestant in a competition. Cheer is also a feeling of animation and optimism and something that gives comfort and joy. Sometimes it is also used to mean the hospitality provided by someone, such as food and drink served at a party. As a verb, to cheer means 'to encourage someone by shouting or chanting' or 'to make someone happy and give them comfort.'


Example sentences
The team ran out onto the field to the cheers of the crowd.
Harry took cheer from his small success and decided he would continue to pursue his dream.
Jane's kind words gave me cheer.
The tables were laden with cheer, ready for everyone to start feasting.
The fans were cheering their team.
Patrick had been feeling sad, but the sight of the children playing in the garden cheered him.


Words often used with cheer
good cheer: a positive or optimistic outlook, especially in the phrase be of good cheer. Example: "Be of good cheer; we've nearly finished!" Nowadays this is considered a more archaic way to talk, but you might see it in old novels.
Multi-word forms
cheer on: encourage with cheers. Example: "Beth was running her first marathon and her friends were waiting near the finish line to cheer her on."
cheer up: to feel or make someone feel more cheerful. Example: "Whenever I have a bad day, I call my best friend and she always cheers me up." "Cheer up! I know everything will get better soon!"
Did you know?
Cheers, always in the plural, is used as a toast when drinking alcohol. Normally those drinking clink, or hit, their glasses together and say "Cheers!" In the UK, cheers is also used colloquially to mean 'thank you,' so if someone gives you something, you might say "Cheers." Also in the UK, and still colloquially, it is sometimes used to mean goodbye, so when you leave somewhere you can say "Cheers! See you later!"
Other forms
cheerer (noun), cheeringly (adverb), cheerleader (noun)
Cheer can be traced back all the way to the Ancient Greek word kárā (head), through the Late Latin cara, also meaning 'face or head.' It reached the British Isles through the Anglo-French chere (also 'face') around the year 1200. By the mid-13th century, it had taken on the meaning of 'spirit, mood, humor' (in a good or bad sense). Since the early 15th century, only the positive sense has prevailed. The meaning of 'shout of encouragement' appeared in the early 18th century. As a verb, it has been in use since the late 14th century, with the meaning 'to entertain with food or drink' appearing around the year 1400. Its use as a greeting is very old: it is a shortened form of what cheer, which was first recorded in the 14th century.
Cheer in other languages
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