Definition of cheek in English:



  • 1Either side of the face below the eye.

    ‘tears rolled down her cheeks’
    • ‘When he smiled a dimple was visible just below his right cheek.’
    • ‘This time I sat up, raised my elbow next to my cheek and stretched the back of my arm behind my head.’
    • ‘I can see Casey kissing her cheeks, just below her eyes, and my own eyes start tearing up at that.’
    • ‘Tears began to roll down my cheeks as my stomach clenched again.’
    • ‘Her hair stuck to her cheeks, her face and eyes were red, her lip was bleeding because she bit down so hard.’
    • ‘One of his hands traced up along the side of my tearstained cheek and through my hair.’
    • ‘She put her arm round his neck, touching the side of his cheek and her fingertips stuck to its surface.’
    • ‘I rolled onto my side and propped my cheek on one hand, watching him as he stretched languidly and opened the small drawer.’
    • ‘I wipe away a tear that's somehow rolling down my cheek with the back of my hand.’
    • ‘The blow swung his head around to the side; his cheek stung long afterwards.’
    • ‘Some women also develop more hair on their chin, upper lip, cheeks, arms and legs during pregnancy.’
    • ‘He opened them again and looked into her caring eyes as he felt her hand moving from his cheek to the left side of his chest.’
    • ‘I took deep breaths of the cold wind in my face, letting it blow the hair back from my face and sting my cheeks and nose.’
    • ‘He lifted his hand and gently brushed away the tears rolling down her cheek, with his thumb.’
    • ‘He steps forward and touches my cheek, his hand neither warm nor cold against my skin.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Tears are rolling down my cheeks and Dad's face is red.’
    • ‘Tears rolled down her cheeks, but her face remained calmed and her eyes were still fixed upon Alex's.’
    • ‘He must have been studying the bruised lump on the right side of my forehead and long red cut on my cheek below.’
    • ‘As it was, I felt a burning pain on my left cheek below my eye and all over my arm.’
    1. 1.1 Either of the inner sides of the mouth.
      ‘Gabriel had to bite his cheeks to keep from laughing’
      • ‘The astringency of tannins is most perceptible on the inner cheeks; the heat of the alcohol burns in the back of the throat.’
      • ‘Participants use their kits to scrape some cells off of their inner cheek with a swab and mail it in.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2 Either of the buttocks.
      • ‘When they stood up for a hymn, he noticed that her dress was tucked into the cheeks of her posterior.’
      • ‘They slapped the cheeks of their buttocks and made facial parodies that I found embarrassing.’
      • ‘But as soon as my cheeks eased their way onto the firm, but well-cushioned seat, I was converted.’
      • ‘Or, you know, cover it up with a skirt that actually reaches below the cheeks.’
      buttocks, behind, backside, rear, rear end, seat, haunches, cheeks
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    3. 1.3 Either of two side pieces or parts arranged in lateral pairs in a structure.
      • ‘You then slice off the fat cheeks on either side of the stone.’
  • 2in singular Talk or behaviour regarded as rude or lacking in respect.

    ‘he had the cheek to complain’
    • ‘When we found out we went and they had the cheek to turn us away.’
    • ‘They had the cheek to ask me if I could work tonight.’
    • ‘I can't believe someone had the cheek to write this letter.’
    • ‘She also had the cheek to question our lack of footpaths!’
    • ‘The English agent even had the cheek to send an e-mail saying he was doing a bunk and planned to emigrate to Italy.’
    • ‘In the bar, punters were downing real ale or orange juice, and staring resentfully at the three people who'd had the cheek to light up a cigarette.’
    • ‘Here I was telling him something that was quite major and he had the cheek to be sarcastic.’
    • ‘They then had the cheek to complain that the recovery of costs against them was unfair and a hardship on them!’
    • ‘So I took great pleasure in showing her my student card - she had the cheek to wish me happy birthday!’
    • ‘They even had the cheek to threaten sanctions against clubs that refused to release players.’
    • ‘It is surprising that she had the cheek to pursue her act to the highest court of appeal.’
    • ‘He even had the cheek to object when I insisted that it had to be coloured in.’
    • ‘He had the cheek to tell workers their demand, which will mean a rise of as little as 30p an hour, was ‘exorbitant’.’
    • ‘I am upset because they had the cheek to give me a ticket - although I can see the funny side.’
    • ‘Even when things went wrong, they had enough cheek to get away with it.’
    impudence, impertinence, insolence, cheekiness, audacity, temerity, brazenness, presumption, effrontery, nerve, gall, pertness, boldness, shamelessness, impoliteness, disrespect, bad manners, unmannerliness, overfamiliarity
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[with object]British
  • Speak impertinently to.

    ‘Frankie always got away with cheeking his elders’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He was cheeking teachers for the first time since she had known him.’
    • ‘But while the Queen had to act properly, it was Fleming who spoke of improper things, made crude jokes, and cheeked the governesses and tutors.’
    • ‘You would never have cheeked me before and I simply won't have it now.’
    • ‘She didn't like it at all and cheeked her coach, who ordered her out of the gym.’
    • ‘Without a second glance she cheeked the offending driver, forgetting her windows were too darkly tinted for the person to see, and then relaxed back in her comfortable driver's seat and flicked on the radio.’
    • ‘He continues to cheek his betters, even after he has bested them.’
    • ‘They cheeked us back and we told them it wasn't a playground and shouted get out.’
    answer back to, talk back to, be cheeky to, be impertinent to
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  • cheek by jowl

    • Close together.

      ‘they lived cheek by jowl in a one-room flat’
      • ‘It stands cheek by jowl with two other delights for the boys: the Model Ships Museum and the Sport Fishing Museum.’
      • ‘Indeed, Prince Charles for many years championed ‘urban villages’ in which different types of people lived cheek by jowl.’
      • ‘And as for the urban young, even parents and those who live cheek by jowl with them in our cities have difficulties motivating them.’
      • ‘Above all, though, he was exhilarated by such a mass of people living 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.’
      • ‘Agrarian societies had considerable disparities of status, but most people lived similar lives and they lived cheek by jowl.’
      • ‘My day-to-day life is largely lived cheek by jowl with Bulgarian colleagues and friends.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘When landlord and tenant live cheek by jowl, it can all too easily wreck a holiday, says Rosie Millard’
      • ‘We have not had a problem with leopards in over 100 years in Mumbai, though the cats have lived cheek by jowl with us.’
      with each other, in conjunction, jointly, conjointly, in cooperation, cooperatively, in collaboration, in partnership, in combination, as one, in unison, in concert, concertedly, with one accord, in league, in alliance, in collusion, side by side, hand in hand, hand in glove, shoulder to shoulder, cheek by jowl
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  • cheek to cheek

    • (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’
      • ‘They danced cheek to cheek, and Jen saw his lips moving.’
      • ‘The music was slow, and the two other couples on the dance floor were slow dancing, their eyes closed, cheek to cheek.’
      • ‘That's when I realized that we were dancing cheek to cheek.’
      • ‘It doesn't go down well when you're dancing cheek to cheek.’
      • ‘He then closes his eyes and we were cheek to cheek.’
      • ‘The singer, his voice deep and husky, started singing mimicking that of Frank Sinatra, singing about us dancing cheek to cheek.’
      • ‘If nothing else, the story affords us the pleasure of watching the two dancing cheek to cheek.’
      • ‘Dancers face in the same direction (the woman's right, the man's left) and so dance almost cheek to cheek.’
      • ‘He tactfully asked Lady Lucy to sit and talk to Rupert while I danced with him, cheek to cheek.’
      • ‘He walks out onto the catwalk and pulls a woman from the audience up onstage, holds her and they dance cheek to cheek.’
  • turn the other cheek

    • Refrain from retaliating when one has been attacked or insulted.

      • ‘Are we reflecting an attitude that turns the other cheek, an attitude that goes the extra mile in the face of abuse?’
      • ‘And so this is not a pope who believes always in turning the other cheek.’
      • ‘I am done with taking the high road and turning the other cheek.’
      • ‘Good Christian values of compassion for one's enemies and turning the other cheek no longer apply.’
      • ‘It is tough being tolerant and turning the other cheek sometimes.’
      • ‘Good people cannot stop a war merely by turning the other cheek.’
      • ‘Forgiveness, turning the other cheek, are, for me, signs of strength.’
      • ‘Since then, I have cooled down and decided that was wrong and a sinful act of retaliation instead of turning the other cheek.’
      • ‘Tell them if they are really committed to a nonviolent approach to undeserved attacks, they will turn the other cheek and negotiate a solution.’
      • ‘They may not care for the theology and rituals but they do understand the tenets of Christianity based, if nothing else, on the Ten Commandments, along with lessons of turning the other cheek, the Good Samaritan etc.’


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