tongue in cheek
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(with) tongue in cheek
Humorous or intended as a joke, though seeming or appearing to be serious. I thought it was obvious that my comments were tongue in cheek, but I guess I delivered them with too much of a straight face, because it seems like I offended several people at the party. The zombie movie, very much with tongue in cheek, gives a clever criticism of American consumerism.
tongue in cheek
COMMON If a remark or piece of writing is tongue in cheek, it is meant to be funny and is not meant to be taken seriously. I think people are taking all this more seriously than we intended. It was supposed to be tongue in cheek. Note: You can also say that someone is talking or writing with tongue in cheek or with their tongue in their cheek. If Howard said that, it must have been with tongue in cheek. Labour MPs, some with their tongue firmly in their cheeks, judged the result to have been a great success. Note: Tongue-in-cheek can also be used before a noun. The advert was meant to be a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek approach. We never intended to offend anyone.
(with) tongue in cheekspeaking or writing in an ironic or insincere way.
This expression originated in the fuller form put or thrust your tongue in your cheek , meaning ‘speak insincerely’. At one time, putting your tongue in your cheek could also be a gesture of contempt, but that shade of meaning has disappeared from the modern idiom.
(with) tongue in ˈcheek(also with your tongue in your ˈcheek) if you say something with your tongue in your cheek, you are not being serious and mean it as a joke: I never know if Charlie’s serious or if he’s speaking with tongue in cheek. ♢ a tongue-in-cheek remark OPPOSITE: in all seriousness
tongue in cheekand 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.
tongue in cheek, with
To speak ironically or mockingly; slyly insincere. Presumably this term originally referred to the mocking facial expression resulting from poking one’s tongue in one’s cheek. It dates from the first half of the nineteenth century. H. McLeave used it in Borderline Case (1979): “‘Only for those people who have something sinister to hide,’ he said, tongue-in-cheek.”
See also: tongue