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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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First published 1941 (SND Vol. II). Includes material from the 1976 and 2005 supplements.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

CHEEK, n. and v. As in St.Eng., but note the following specifically Sc. usages.

I. n.

1. The side of anything, esp. the side of a fire-place or the side-post or jamb of a door. Gen.Sc. Also found in Eng. dial. (E.D.D.).Crm. 1933 D. A. Mackenzie Stroopie Well 3:
When these [bannocks] were thoroughly fired, they were placed on the “cheeks” of the fire-place.
Ags. 1776 C. Keith Farmer's Ha' 4:
They a' drive to the ingle cheek, Regardless o' a flan o' reek.
Rxb. 1923 Kelso Chron. (5 Jan.) 4/2:
“Now daud the snaw off your feet,” and immediately ensued the sound of toeplates and heel-plates coming into contact with the stone door-cheeks.
Slk. 1831 Hogg Songs 104:
How dear the lair on yon hill cheek.

Hence cheek-stane (stone), n. comb., one of the two upright stones which support a grate (Abd.19 1939; Kcb.10 1938, -stone).Sc. [1826] R. Chambers Pop. Rhymes (1870) 103:
The auld priest was lying snoring wi' his head against the chimney-piece. . . . Jock ga'e him a whack wi' the honey-pig on the head, thinking it was the cheek-stane.
ne.Sc. 1952 John R. Allan North-East Lowlands of Scotland (1974) 186:
Three or four young men sitting on wooden chairs round the fire; the maid on the cheekstone at one side; I on the cheekstone at the other ...

2. Combs.: (1) cheek-blade, “the cheek-bone” (Sc. 1808 Jam.; Rxb. 1923 Watson W.-B.); †(2) cheek-bone, “the bridle of the twelve-oxen plough” (Bnff. 1898 E.D.D.). This form derives from a mistake in E.D.D. for cheek-lone (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 25). The second element is obscure; †(3) cheek-haffit, the side of the face; †(4) cheek-rack, the same as (2) above; (5) cheek-warmer, a tobacco-pipe, specif. a clay pipe with a short broken-off stem so that the bowl is held close to the cheek. Gen.Sc.; (6) cheek-wind, talk, esp. of a voluble boastful sort, empty verbosity.(3) Sc. 1824 Scott St Ronan's W. ii.:
There is a sair change on his cheek-haffit since I saw him last.
(4) Bnff. 1902 J. Grant Agric. in Bnffsh. 150 Years Ago 12:
The coulter and sock were of iron, as was also the cheek rack, or staple, near the beam end.
Abd.(D) 1877 W. Alexander North. Rural Life in 18th Cent. vi.:
The only parts [of the plough] made of iron were the coulter and “sock”; and the “cheek-rack” or bridle (if such there were).
(5) m.Sc. 1933 J. Ressich Thir Braw Days 40:
[He] turned awa' his heid tae hae a bit draw at a cheek-warmer he had in his nieve.
(6) Sc. 1794 Tam Thrum Look Before Ye Loup II. 5:
If it hadna been for that chield's cheek-wind, I might ha'e been a member o' the British Convention.
Sc. 1827 C. I. Johnstone Eliz. de Bruce I. vi.:
He'll ha'e nae change as usual, but routh o' cheek wind.

3. Phrase: cheek-for-chow(l), -chou(l), -chew, -jowl, cheek by jowl, close together; very friendly (Cai.7 (-chowl), Abd.2, Fif.10, Kcb.10 (-chow) 1939). Often found in dim. cheekie-for-chow(ie) (Bnff.2, Abd.19 1939), also cheek jowey (Mearns3 1920), esp. in ne.Sc. The form chow for cheek is given for ne.Rxb. by Watson W.-B. (1923), obsol.Sc. 1728 Ramsay Poems II. 31:
Our Laird himsell wa'd aft take his Advice. E'en Cheek for Chew he'd seat him 'mang them a'.
Sc. 1822 Scott F. Nigel xxvii.:
It is not seemly to stand cheek-for-chowl confronting us that gate. [Also cheek for choul (1818 Rob Roy xiv.).]
Sc. 1874 A. Hislop Sc. Anecdotes 3:
Followers cheekie for chow, and sidie by sidie.
Ork.(D) 1880 Dennison Orcad. Sk. Bk. 101:
Sae in they geed an doon they sat, Baith cheek for chow taegither.
Bnff. c.1927 (per Abd.4):
They widna speak yesterday, bit they are cheekie-for-chowie the day.
Fif. 1884 “S. Tytler” St Mungo's City I. vii.:
You'll be cheek for jowl with Drysdale Ha'.
Edb. 1788 J. Macaulay Poems 146:
Gang cheek for chou, whare'er we stray, By sable night, or glare o' day.
Rxb. 1821 A. Scott Poems 135:
Till up wi' Bonnie, chow for cheek, His hosts he marshall'd fine.

4. A specially built portion of a dry-stone wall (see quot.). Gall. 1957 F. Rainsford-Hannay Dry Stone Walling 76:
The usual skill is shown when building up a steep slope. "Heads" are built at frequent intervals. In Scotland they would be called "cheeks" or solid pieces of single walling against which the rest of the work can lean.

II. v.

1. To play a curling-stone or bowl so as to make it lie alongside another. Cf. Cheek-stone.Kcb.10 1939:
Come and cheek 'm.

2. “To flatter” (Abd. 1790 A. Shirrefs Poems, Gl.; Bnff.5 1926).

3. Followed by: (1) in wi' (wee), to court the favour of; known to Bnff.2 and Abd. correspondents (1939); (2) up, to use insolent language to (Ags.2, Slg.3 1939); given as slang Eng. in Farmer and Henley in sense of “to answer saucily”; (3) up till (to), “to make love to” (Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 25, — till); known to Cai.7, Abd.9, Fif.10, Slg.3 and Kcb. correspondents (1939).(1) Bnff. 1866 Gregor D.Bnff. 25:
He cheekit in wee the aul' man, an' he left something till 'im.
Bnff.2 1939:
Leeb tried to cheek in wi' the mistress, bit a'body saw throw her fine.

Hence cheekin'-in, adj., given to flattery, sly.Bnff. 1866 Gregor D. Bnff. 25:
He's a cheekin'-in mannie.
(2) Ib.:
The twa loons cheekit up ane anither, till a heeld doon ma hehd.
Bnff.2 1939:
The smatchit cheekit up the grieve till he got a scoor on the side o' the heid.
(3) Bnff.2 1939:
The new demmie wisna a week aboot the toon fan she began to cheek up till the foreman.
Edb. 1895 J. Tweeddale Moff iv.:
She's cheeking up to the men already.

4. In ploughing: to hold the plough canted too much to the left, i.e. “with the left still lower than the right” (Arg.1 1937).

[O.Sc. has cheke, cheik, etc., a side piece or part; esp. one or other of the side-posts of a door or gate, from 1375; also cheikblaid, a jaw-bone, c.1500–c.1512, and cheeky for chow, 1665, as in phr. above (D.O.S.T.).]

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"Cheek n., v.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2024 <>



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