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Cheek Meaning: Fascinating Idioms and Symbolism

Cheek meaning is revealed clearly in the language that we use to describe our bodies. These meanings are part of our everyday consciousness and interactions. A single part of the body can be heavily laden with many different meanings. And sometimes the meanings are highly amusing as well. This is particularly true of the cheek: the fleshy part of the face on either side of the nose between the eyes and ears.

Cheek Meaning
Face Study by Cornelis de Vos (1651), Stadel Museum

Defining the Cheeks

In addition to the cheeks on the side of the face, the word “cheek” can also refer to the buttocks. In fact, “cheek” can be used for anything resembling a cheek in shape or position. The cheeks are a prominent part of the face, representing a portion of your identity to the world.

Your face reveals your innermost emotions and thoughts. Your expression is largely conveyed by the muscles of the cheeks. Are the muscles tight and tense? Is the shape of the face relaxed or distorted? Can you feel whether you are conveying happiness or bitterness?

Interestingly, the cheeks are connected to the emotions of acceptance (as in “turn the other cheek”), humor (“tongue-in-cheek”), and impudence (“cheeky retort”). See Language and Cheek Meaning below for more idiomatic uses of “cheek.”

Language and Cheek Meaning

The cheeks are prime candidates for both deep and lighthearted meanings. The list below is a sample of these idioms and metaphors.

Cheek by jowl: intimate, closely related or in close proximity

Cheeky: talk or behavior that is impertinent; insolent, bold, cocky and disrespectful

Cheek to cheek: close and affectionate.

Rosy-cheeked: a vigorous and healthful appearance

Water one’s cheeks: to cry

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Author Kathleen Karlsen

Kathleen Karlsen is a musician, artist, writer and speaker. She is the author of two books (Flower Symbols and Vocal Medicine) and over 200 articles. Kathleen, her husband Andrew and their five children live in Bozeman, Montana. More about Kathleen Karlsen.

Other resources on the web: How to Draw a Face


This article on chakra mantras includes simple Vedic mantras using the Sanskrit seed syllables. Video examples of each mantra are given. Other topics include chakra vowels and sacred toning as well as mantras to the Hindu deities associated with each chakra.