tic

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(with) tongue in cheek

in a way that is not serious, although it appears to be Karl explained, tongue in cheek, that he was busy with housecleaning.
See also: cheek, tongue

tongue in cheek

  also with your tongue in your cheek
if you say something tongue in cheek, what you have said is a joke, although it might seem to be serious 'And we all know what a passionate love life I have!' he said, tongue in cheek.
See bite tongue, find tongue, hold tongue, loosen tongue
See also: cheek, tongue

tongue in cheek

and TIC
phr. & comp. abb. a phrase said when the speaker is joking or not being sincere. My comment was made TIC. Don’t take me seriously.
See also: cheek, tongue

TIC

verb