Main definitions of cheese in US English:

: cheese1cheese2cheese3

cheese1

noun

  • 1A food made from the pressed curds of milk.

    ‘grated cheese’
    as modifier ‘a cheese sandwich’
    ‘a slice of cheese’
    • ‘Exclude dairy foods - milk and cheese are possible irritants to the lungs as they produce large amounts of mucus.’
    • ‘She says she can find animal-free alternatives for staples such as meat, bread, milk, cheese, butter, yoghurt, and ice cream in the local supermarket.’
    • ‘CLA is found in beef and some other meats, as well as in dairy products such as milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt.’
    • ‘To test my theory I've decided to eliminate all food made with cheese, butter or milk from his diet.’
    • ‘Another common intolerance is to dairy products, including cow's milk, cheese, yoghurt and cream.’
    • ‘Good sources of calcium include dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream and tofu.’
    • ‘As for taste and texture, soy cheese and soy yogurt are virtually indistinguishable from cow's milk varieties.’
    • ‘Milk, butter, cheese and yogurt are an integral part of the Irish diet.’
    • ‘What are you gonna do with all that butter, milk and cheese?’
    • ‘She made a ham and cheese sandwich and drank milk.’
    • ‘Most are not eating enough cereals, breads, potatoes, milk, cheese and dairy products.’
    • ‘Eat a well-balanced diet including high calcium foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and green leafy vegetables.’
    • ‘Kyla should make sure she has cereal, yogurt, cheese and/or milk every day.’
    • ‘We didn't even go downstairs for lunch, though Mom brought up grilled cheese sandwiches and milk for us.’
    • ‘I'm proud to say that I am part of an industry that produces some of the best milk, cheese, butter, cream and yogurt in the world.’
    • ‘Milk, cheese and butter could play havoc with cholesterol and do nasty things to the arteries.’
    • ‘Surely it is also dedicated to getting people to buy as much milk, cheese, butter, yogurt and ice cream as possible?’
    • ‘After stocking the land with dairy cows, they became self-supporting in butter, milk and cheese.’
    • ‘It is important to eat several servings of calcium-rich foods daily, such as milk, cheese and yogurt.’
    • ‘In summer it was normal to live on milk, butter, cheese curds and whey, while in autumn a number of cattle were killed, their beef being salted to eat during the winter.’
    1. 1.1 A complete molded mass of cheese with its rind, often in a round flat shape.
      ‘a 50-pound, muslin-wrapped cheese’
      • ‘I remember rubbing the mould from beautiful unpasteurised washed rind cheeses with a soft cloth.’
      • ‘Cut the rind off soft cheeses like Brie to reduce their fat content.’
      • ‘Your cheese was cut with a wire from a whole cheese; your butter was cut from a block using a long knife and so on and so on.’
      • ‘This is the first year that there was a special category for washed rind cheeses.’
      • ‘This cheese has a bloomy rind and a fluffy, mellow center.’
      • ‘Cheese was cut with a wire on a wooden handle from a large round cheese.’
    2. 1.2 A round flat object resembling a cheese.
  • 2informal The quality of being too obviously sentimental.

    ‘the conversations tend too far toward cheese’

Phrases

  • hard cheese

  • say cheese

    • Said by a photographer to encourage the subject to smile.

      • ‘I was told to smile, hey look at the camera and smile, and say cheese.’
      • ‘All of them paste their best smiles and say cheese.’
      • ‘Tiger was photographed so often he almost knew when to turn to say cheese!’
      • ‘Well if they will encourage the proliferation of CCTV what do they expect us to do: smile and say cheese?’
      • ‘And, though the English say cheese, the Koreans say fermented cabbage (kim chi).’
      • ‘Once a firm favourite, apparently just one in five of us now say cheese when we are having our photograph taken, putting it just third in the top ten.’

Origin

Old English cēse, cȳse, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch kaas and German Käse; from Latin caseus.

Pronunciation

cheese

/CHēz//tʃiz/

Main definitions of cheese in US English:

: cheese1cheese2cheese3

cheese2

(also big cheese)

noun

informal
  • An important person.

    ‘he was a big cheese in the business world’
    • ‘I should have been flattered, my doctor being the big cheese now.’
    • ‘Virtually everybody in the factory - the boss, or should I say the big cheese, included - is gathered round, transfixed by the Japanese Grand Prix.’
    • ‘Someone recommended I talk to them because they were the big cheeses when it comes to films.’
    • ‘Somehow, I don't think you'd get that with an audience of big cheeses.’
    • ‘The big cheese thinks his star parties too much.’
    • ‘That has been the question on the lips of each of the big cheeses in charge.’
    • ‘So he was someone not to be crossed - he was a big cheese.’
    • ‘It is owned by an impossibly handsome young man who is a big cheese with an impeccably fashionable retail/restaurant group.’
    • ‘In my scarlet red neckerchief, I really thought I was a big cheese.’
    • ‘What worries me is that I think I'll be working directly under one of the really big cheeses.’

Origin

1920s: probably via Urdu from Persian čīz ‘thing’: the phrase the cheese was used earlier to mean ‘first-rate’ (i.e. the thing).

Pronunciation

cheese

/CHēz//tʃiz/

Main definitions of cheese in US English:

: cheese1cheese2cheese3

cheese3

verb

British
informal
  • Exasperate, frustrate, or bore.

    ‘that really cheesed off Ricky’
    • ‘What cheeses me off is all the ‘journalists’ who uncritically covered the IPO and gave the investment banks and money managers a platform from which to attempt to manipulate the market like that.’
    • ‘And is it your impression that irrigators are open to that reality, or does it cheese them off?’
    • ‘It's the existence of the rich that cheeses them off.’
    • ‘No one wanted to go on the record with these sentiments and cheese them off just yet, but one said: ‘They're targeting a market that doesn't necessarily want it.’’
    • ‘As far as I am concerned, I am cheesed off with the result, but I am not just here for this game and five or six others.’
    • ‘See, as a tax payer, I am bailing out these stupid companies… and that cheeses me off.’
    • ‘It really used to cheese me off at first, because I don't think music is about colour, I think music is about passion.’
    • ‘This isn't fatal, but grants him the ability to turn into a big, dumb green guy whenever someone cheeses him off.’
    • ‘To say they are cheesed off with the share market, the government, the company and all the other players puts it mildly.’
    • ‘What cheeses me off, of course, is that these offers are available only to those who can be provided with a service at minimum cost and thus maximum profit to the service provider.’
    • ‘There is a lot of support in the town and they are cheesed off with the arrogance of the Liberal Democrats.’
    • ‘The men put them up in tents and, because they're city girls, this really cheeses them off.’
    • ‘More people are going down this route because they are cheesed off that they have to pay crazy prices for a bigger property.’
    • ‘I had to call in sick for about four days, which really cheesed me off.’
    • ‘She will be cheesed off if I have to tell her that I didn't get my homework on relative minors done.’

Phrases

  • cheese it!

    • 1informal Used to urge someone to stop doing something.

    • 2informal Used to urge someone to run away.

      ‘Cheese it, here comes Mr Madigan!’

Origin

Early 19th century (in the archaic phrase cheese it, used to urge someone to stop doing something): the current use dates from the 1940s. Both uses are of uncertain origin.

Pronunciation

cheese

/CHēz//tʃiz/