\ ˈchēk How to pronounce cheek (audio) \

Definition of cheek

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the fleshy side of the face below the eye and above and to the side of the mouth broadly : the lateral aspect of the head
2 : something suggestive of the human cheek in position or form especially : one of two laterally paired parts
3 : insolent boldness and self-assurance


cheeked; cheeking; cheeks

Definition of cheek (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

chiefly British
: to speak rudely or impudently to

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from cheek


cheekful \ ˈchēk-​ˌfu̇l How to pronounce cheekful (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for cheek


temerity, audacity, hardihood, effrontery, nerve, cheek, gall, chutzpah mean conspicuous or flagrant boldness. temerity suggests boldness arising from rashness and contempt of danger. had the temerity to refuse audacity implies a disregard of restraints commonly imposed by convention or prudence. an entrepreneur with audacity and vision hardihood suggests firmness in daring and defiance. admired for her hardihood effrontery implies shameless, insolent disregard of propriety or courtesy. outraged at his effrontery nerve, cheek, gall, and chutzpah are informal equivalents for effrontery. the nerve of that guy has the cheek to call herself a singer had the gall to demand proof the chutzpah needed for a career in show business

Examples of cheek in a Sentence


He kissed her on the cheek. He's got a cheek ignoring us like that.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Fans, mostly tongue-in-cheek, blamed the team's decades-long championship drought on the 1919 decision to trade legend Babe Ruth, aka the Bambino, to the rival New York Yankees. Amir Vera, Patrick Oppmann And Maria Ramirez Uribe, CNN, "Red Sox legend David Ortiz is in a Boston hospital after being shot in the Dominican Republic. Here's what we know," 11 June 2019 The tongue-in-cheek drag show and beauty pageant, a fund-raiser for the Ruth Ellis Health & Wellness Center, will find eight contestants dissing it out for the coveted title of Miss Kitty. Greg Crawford, Detroit Free Press, "The weekend: Big Bounce in Fraser, Motor City Pride, Art of Fire in Royal Oak," 5 June 2019 The Czech politician’s tongue-in-cheek wish was timely; Trump was in the same city for his state visit with the U.K. Unlike the British Royal Family, Jourová didn’t have to play nice with the president yesterday. Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, "The EU Official Who Wants a Trump Nickname: The Broadsheet," 4 June 2019 Blush in Coral, and dust it on the apples of the cheeks, blending slightly outward for a fresh look. Jennifer Tzeses, Seventeen, "3 Beauty Looks That Aren't Too Extra for Class," 25 July 2018 Cuttrell came up with the tongue-in-cheek inspiration for the dress: a mango. Glamour, "Mango Made a Gown for the Met Gala 2019—and You'll Be Able to Shop It," 6 May 2019 Storm kept the look fairly fresh-faced, emphasizing the blush tones of her gown with a nude lip and rosy cheeks. Teen Vogue, "Storm Reid Attends Prom With Sayeed Shahidi," 14 Apr. 2019 In the empty visitation room, Valera sat across from the young man with black, rectangular glasses resting on full cheeks. Allegra Abramo, The Seattle Times, "Youth often become homeless just after leaving juvenile detention. Can Washington state really stop it?," 29 Mar. 2019 In many cultures, cheek kisses are friendly ways to greet a family, friend or someone new — not just your bae. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "11 Types of Kisses to Step Up Your Makeout Game," 9 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Lydia was played by Winona Ryder, then an apple-cheeked 17-year-old in one of her first-ever movie roles, the beginning of Ryder's reign as the poster child of offbeat rebellion. Nojan Aminosharei, Harper's BAZAAR, "Beetlejuice's Sophia Anne Caruso Is Bringing Goth to Broadway," 17 Apr. 2019 Three years later, with apartment buildings now cheek-by-jowl with the club, those same residents, joined by dozens more, raised concerns in emails and public meetings about potential noise from the roof. Alan Neuhauser, Washington Post, "A D.C. strip club reopens to a changed neighborhood — of high-end condos and artisanal toast," 25 June 2018 Called Casting Couch, the piece depicts a paunchy, stubble-cheeked Weinstein seated on a chaise lounge in silk pajamas. Gwynedd Stuart, Los Angeles Magazine, "How That Sculpture of Harvey Weinstein That Was Planted in Hollywood Got Made," 4 Apr. 2018 The soldiers were hollow-cheeked and drenched in sweat despite the sub-zero temperatures and the bitter wind in Paju, just 10 miles from South Korea's border with the North. Mac William Bishop, NBC News, "North Korean ex-assassin recalls 1968: ‘The year that mattered most’," 26 Jan. 2018 Some of the old folks dance cheek to cheek, barely moving to the rhythm. Kate Siber, USA TODAY, "Dance hall days: Texas preserves a treasured tradition," 25 Sep. 2017 On the deck of his trawler, Adam Stanwood—a barrel-chested, apple-cheeked fisherman in his 40s—uncovers a black plastic tray about two-and-a-half feet by one-and-a-half. National Geographic, "Why Smuggling of This Ocean Creature May Skyrocket," 2 June 2017 The twins relax and hug each other, cheek pressed to cheek. Andrea Simakis,, "When love and loss are multiplied - remembering a brother at Twins Days: Andrea Simakis," 13 Aug. 2017 Learn about the history of some of your favorite brands, what makes champagne, well, champagne, and leave a little rosy-cheeked after a delightful tasting. Christina Liao, Vogue, "Why You Should Go to Champagne, France—And All the Houses You Should Visit," 31 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cheek.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of cheek


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1840, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cheek


Middle English cheke, from Old English cēace; akin to Middle Low German kāke jawbone

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cheek

Statistics for cheek

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cheek

The first known use of cheek was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cheek



English Language Learners Definition of cheek

: the part of the face that is below the eye and to the side of the nose and mouth
British : an attitude or way of behaving that is rude and does not show proper respect
informal : one of the two parts of the body that a person sits on


\ ˈchēk How to pronounce cheek (audio) \

Kids Definition of cheek

1 : the side of the face below the eye and above and to the side of the mouth
2 : disrespectful speech or behavior He was punished for his cheek.


\ ˈchēk\

Medical Definition of cheek

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the fleshy side of the face below the eye and above and to the side of the mouth broadly : the lateral aspect of the head

Medical Definition of cheek (Entry 2 of 2)

: to conceal (medication) in the cheek for future use On March 29, two days before she committed suicide, the staff found she had been "cheeking medications" to save them for a later overdose …— Michael O'D. Moore, The Bangor (Maine) Daily News, 12 July 2000

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on cheek

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cheek

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cheek

Spanish Central: Translation of cheek

Nglish: Translation of cheek for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cheek for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about cheek

Comments on cheek

What made you want to look up cheek? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!