Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


"Cheer up, Mary, for I seek to comfort you," answered the rejected lover.

I went an' done all I could t' cheer 'im up, an' that's all the thanks I git fer it.

Kingozi dropped his glasses to the end of its thong with a cheer.

The officers spring to their feet, wave their swords, and cheer loudly.

The tall pines themselves shook with the cheer which the yeomen raised.

Philip in vain endeavoured to cheer him up, and ate to set him the example.

They were about to cheer, but he checked it with the simple gesture of a raised hand.

The homely beauty of it smote upon him, though it could not cheer.

Niobe would have made the response with a greater show of cheer.

After this, there was a lonely home, empty of its light and cheer.


c.1200, "the face," especially as expressing emotion, from Anglo-French chere "the face," Old French chiere "face, countenance, look, expression," from Late Latin cara "face" (source of Spanish cara), possibly from Greek kara "head," from PIE root *ker- "head" (see horn (n.)). From mid-13c. as "frame of mind, state of feeling, spirit; mood, humor."

By late 14c. the meaning had extended metaphorically to "mood, mental condition," as reflected in the face. This could be in a good or bad sense ("The feend ... beguiled her with treacherye, and brought her into a dreerye cheere," "Merline," c.1500), but a positive sense (probably short for good cheer) has predominated since c.1400. Meaning "shout of encouragement" first recorded 1720, perhaps nautical slang (cf. earlier verbal sense, "to encourage by words or deeds," early 15c.). The antique English greeting what cheer (mid-15c.) was picked up by Algonquian Indians of southern New England from the Puritans and spread in Indian languages as far as Canada.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.