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cheek

Line breaks: cheek
Pronunciation: /tʃiːk
 
/

Definition of cheek in English:

noun

1Either side of the face below the eye: tears rolled down her cheeks
More example sentences
  • As it was, I felt a burning pain on my left cheek below my eye and all over my arm.
  • His wheat colored hair appeared to have never been cut; reaching to his shoulders to cover up the hallow cheeks and stopping just below his jaw line.
  • He must have been studying the bruised lump on the right side of my forehead and long red cut on my cheek below.
1.1Either of the inner sides of the mouth: Gabriel had to bite his cheeks to keep from laughing
More example sentences
  • Darien had to bite the side of his inner cheek to keep from saying something insulting and cruel to her.
  • He had to bite his cheek inside his mouth, hard, to keep from laughing.
  • Participants use their kits to scrape some cells off of their inner cheek with a swab and mail it in.
2Either of the buttocks.
Example sentences
  • They slapped the cheeks of their buttocks and made facial parodies that I found embarrassing.
  • When they stood up for a hymn, he noticed that her dress was tucked into the cheeks of her posterior.
  • But as soon as my cheeks eased their way onto the firm, but well-cushioned seat, I was converted.
3Either of two side pieces or parts arranged in lateral pairs in a structure.
Example sentences
  • You then slice off the fat cheeks on either side of the stone.
4 [in singular] Talk or behaviour regarded as rude or lacking in respect: he had the cheek to complain
More example sentences
  • She also had the cheek to question our lack of footpaths!
  • They had the cheek to ask me if I could work tonight.
  • I can't believe someone had the cheek to write this letter.
Synonyms
informal brass, brass neck, neck, face, lip, mouth, cockiness
British informal sauce
Scottish informal snash
North American informal sass, sassiness, nerviness, chutzpah, back talk
informal , dated hide
British informal , dated crust, backchat
archaic malapertness, contumely
rare procacity, assumption

verb

[with object] British informal Back to top  
Speak impertinently to: Frankie always got away with cheeking his elders
More example sentences
  • When I like someone I find I do that terrible thing of giving them a bit of cheek and I am sorry to say that I cheeked the great man himself this very day.
  • They cheeked us back and we told them it wasn't a playground and shouted get out.
  • He was cheeking teachers for the first time since she had known him.
Synonyms
answer back to, talk back to, be cheeky to, be impertinent to;
informal backchat
North American informal sass, be sassy to

Origin

Old English cē(a)ce, cēoce 'cheek, jaw', of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch kaak.

More
  • The Old English word cheek, meaning both cheek and jaw, came to mean ‘rude or disrespectful behaviour’ in the mid 19th century. The sense probably comes from the idea of a person's cheeks moving as he rudely answers a superior back. Cheeky was first used around the same time. The affectionate reprimand you cheeky monkey! is particularly common in Lancashire, and is often used by the barmaid Betty Turpin in the ITV soap opera Coronation Street. A variation of the expression was popularized in the 1950s by the comedian Al Read, whose catchphrase was ‘Right, monkey!’ In cheek by jowl, meaning ‘very close together’, jowl (Old English) simply means ‘cheek’. In fact the original form of the phrase was cheek by cheek. To turn the other cheek is to make a deliberate decision to remain calm and not to retaliate when you have been attacked or insulted. The expression comes from the Gospel of Matthew: ‘But I say to ye, That ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other.’

Phrases

cheek by jowl

1
Close together: they lived cheek by jowl in a one-room flat
[from a use of jowl in the sense 'cheek'; the phrase was originally cheek by cheek]
More example sentences
  • Within the last few decades, massive land reclamation projects and astounding growth have created one of the most modern and efficient cities in the world, where shiny modern buildings stand cheek by jowl.
  • The people who live cheek by jowl in the slums next in the station include a fair share of criminals indulging in railway crimes like looting, pick-pocketing and stealing of goods of passengers and also railway property.
  • Indeed, Prince Charles for many years championed ‘urban villages’ in which different types of people lived cheek by jowl.

cheek to cheek

2
(Of two people dancing) with their heads close together in a romantic way: they were dancing cheek to cheek to a stereo in the apartment
More example sentences
  • The music was slow, and the two other couples on the dance floor were slow dancing, their eyes closed, cheek to cheek.
  • The singer, his voice deep and husky, started singing mimicking that of Frank Sinatra, singing about us dancing cheek to cheek.
  • He then closes his eyes and we were cheek to cheek.

turn the other cheek

3
Refrain from retaliating when one has been attacked or insulted.
[with biblical allusion to Matt. 5:39]
Example sentences
  • Tell them if they are really committed to a nonviolent approach to undeserved attacks, they will turn the other cheek and negotiate a solution.
  • Since then, I have cooled down and decided that was wrong and a sinful act of retaliation instead of turning the other cheek.
  • Are we reflecting an attitude that turns the other cheek, an attitude that goes the extra mile in the face of abuse?

Derivatives

cheeked

1
adjective
[in combination]: rosy-cheeked

Definition of cheek in:

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