A derogatory term for a miserly or parsimonious person. Used largely in countries of Southeast Asia, it likely originated in Vietnam during the Vietnam War to refer to American GIs (who called soldiers of the Viet Cong "Charlie") unwilling to spend extravagantly at bars, restaurants, or for prostitutes. Buy us a round of drinks, don't be a cheap Charlie!
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.