cheeky

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From cheek +‎ -y.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

cheeky (comparative cheekier, superlative cheekiest)

  1. (informal) Impudent; impertinent; impertinently bold, often in a way that is regarded as endearing or amusing.
    • 1899, Rudyard Kipling, chapter 4, in Stalky & Co.:
      "Shut up," said Harrison. "You chaps always behave as if you were jawin' us when we come to jaw you."
      "You're a lot too cheeky," said Craye.
    • 1909, P. G. Wodehouse, chapter 7, in The Swoop! or How Clarence Saved England:
      The Young Turks, as might have been expected, wrote in their customary flippant, cheeky style.
  2. (informal, Britain) Indulged in.
    • 2009, Amy Huberman, Hello, Heartbreak, Penguin UK →ISBN
      Although sometimes I'd award myself a cheeky McDonald's hangover treat if I did well.
    • 2010, Richard Herring, How Not to Grow Up: A Coming of Age Memoir. Sort of., Random House →ISBN, page 285
      It was a massive struggle to resist the lure of a cheeky beer, but I held firm.
    • 2011, John Donoghue, Police, Crime & 999, Troubador Publishing Ltd →ISBN, page 7
      It transpired that Mrs Egg had been cooking dinner when she discovered Mr Singlet making himself a sandwich. I don't know about you but it does seem a little bit naught after she's gone to all that effort. Naughty yes but hardly a crime and certainly not enough to warrant a 999 call. Yet that's what she had done. That's why we had left our own dinner, charged through rush hour traffic, disrupted commuters on their way home – all for a cheeky sandwich.
    • 2011, James Goss, Torchwood: First Born, Random House →ISBN, page 20
      The great thing was it gave him a little bit of freedom and me the chance to sneak a cheeky nap.
  3. (Australian Aboriginal) Poisonous (of animals such as snakes), dangerous, cunning, violent, potent.
    • 1994, Victoria Katherine Burbank, Fighting Women: Anger and Aggression in Aboriginal Australia, Univ of California Press →ISBN, page 57
      A death adder is cheeky, a tree snake quiet. Wasps are only cheeky if you hold them in your hand.
    • 1995, Richard Shine, Australian Snakes: A Natural History, Cornell University Press →ISBN, page 176
      There is no doubt that many have been killed by large elapids, and that Aborigines treat such 'cheeky' snakes (and colubrids of similar appearance) with great respect.

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