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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English chesy, equivalent to cheese +‎ -y. Doublet of caseic. Compare German käsig (cheesy).

(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium. Particularly: “How was the 'overdramatic' sense derived?”)



cheesy (comparative cheesier, superlative cheesiest)

  1. Of or relating to cheese.
    This sandwich is full of cheesy goodness.
  2. Resembling or containing cheese.
    a cheesy flavor;  cheesy nachos
    I like pizzas with a cheesy crust.
    • 1949, George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four[1], Part One, Chapter 8:
      He pushed open the door, and a hideous cheesy smell of sour beer hit him in the face.
    • 2005, Thomas Mann, “Joseph in Egypt”, in John E. Woods, transl., Joseph and His Brothers, New York: Everyman's Library, Part 3, p. 633:
      He saw skin of every shade, from obsidian black through all the stages of brown and yellow to cheesy white, he even saw yellow hair and azure-colored eyes, faces and garments of every cut—he saw humanity.
  3. (informal) Overdramatic, excessively emotional or clichéd, trite, contrived.
    a cheesy song; a cheesy movie
    The cheesy antics had everyone giggling.
    • 2010, Michael Clarkson, chapter 4, in The Secret Life of Glenn Gould: A Genius in Love, Toronto: ECW Press, page 54:
      Another night, when the local entertainers had gone home, Gould went into the empty lounge to play piano with a cheesy string of colored lights overhead and bongo drums at his side.
  4. (informal) Cheap, of poor quality.
    • 1968, Hermann Hesse, chapter 1, in Michael Roloff, Bantam Books, transl., Beneath the Wheel, published 1970, page 30:
      He would be apprenticed to some cheesy shop or become a clerk in an office and his entire life he would be one of the ordinary poor people, whom he despised and wanted to surpass.
    • 1977, Allen Ginsberg, “June 17, 1952”, in Gordon Ball, editor, Journals: Early Fifties, Early Sixties, New York: Grove Press, page 19:
      I tagged along behind this culturally accomplished beast intelligence in my scuffed handmedown shoes, unpressed illfitting post adolescent suit, dirt ringed shirt and cheesy tie, hair askew and book underarm, perspiring perhaps.
    • 2009, Roger T. Dean, The Oxford Handbook of Computer Music:
      I noticed [] that when a very cheesy synthesized violin sound plays in counterpoint with a real violin, it can quite convincingly seem as if two violins are playing.
  5. Exaggerated and likely to be forced or insincere. (of a smile or grin)
    • 2008, Jeff Spanke, Second Hand Out, page 86:
      Needless to say, toward the end of Martin's first term, the relationship he once enjoyed with President Waverly had evolved into a slapdash charade of cheap promises and cheesy smiles.
    • 2012, Ginny Felch, Photographing Children Photo Workshop:
      There is something about 5- and 6-year-olds that makes them ever-ready to pose with the big, cheesy grin with no provocation.


  • (overdramatic, excessively emotional or clichéd, trite, contrived, shoddy): cheeseball, corny, tacky

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



  • cheesy”, in OneLook Dictionary Search.