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From Middle English cheeke, cheke, cheoke, choke, from Old English ċēce, ċēace, ċēoce (cheek; jaw), from Proto-Germanic *kekǭ, *kēkǭ, *kakǭ, *kaukǭ, *keukǭ (jaw; palate; pharynx), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵyewh₁- (to chew). Cognate with Saterland Frisian Sooke (cheek), West Frisian tsjeak (jaw), Dutch kaak (jaw; cheek), Swedish käke (jaw; jowl), Norwegian kjake (jaw), Old Norse kók (mouth; gullet).


  • enPR: chēk, IPA(key): /tʃiːk/
  • (file)


cheek (countable and uncountable, plural cheeks)

  1. (anatomy) The soft skin on each side of the face, below the eyes; the outer surface of the sides of the oral cavity.
    • 1596-97, William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act III Scene 2
      There are some shrewd contents in yon same paper,
      That steals the colours from Bassanio's cheek:
      Some dear friend dead; else nothing in the world
      Could turn so much the constitution
      Of any constant man. What, worse and worse!— []
  2. (anatomy, informal, usually in the plural) A buttock.
  3. (informal, uncountable) Impudence.
    You’ve got some cheek, asking me for money!
  4. (biology, informal) One of the genae, flat areas on the sides of a trilobite's cephalon.
  5. One of the pieces of a machine, or of timber or stonework, that form corresponding sides or a similar pair.
    the cheeks of a vice; the cheeks of a gun carriage
  6. (in the plural) The branches of a bridle bit.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Knight to this entry?)
  7. (metalworking) The middle section of a flask, made so that it can be moved laterally, to permit the removal of the pattern from the mould.


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cheek (third-person singular simple present cheeks, present participle cheeking, simple past and past participle cheeked)

  1. To be impudent towards.
    • 1942, Emily Carr, The Book of Small, "Sunday," [1]
      We did not like him much because he kissed us and was preachy when we cheeked pretty Tallie, who did not rule over us as Dede did []
    Don't cheek me, you little rascal!