Idiom: tongue in cheek; used as an adjective or adverb
Helen: What did you get me for my
Rick: Tickets to see One Direction!
Helen: You’re kidding, right?
Rick: No. You
said you liked them.
Helen: Yeah, but I said it tongue in cheek. I can’t believe you
took me seriously!
I’ll admit, I’m kind of glad. I
thought it was a strange band for a 35-year-old woman to like.
Helen: Yeah, well, hopefully you can sell
them and buy me a real present.
Meaning: When an American says that something was said “tongue on cheek,” it means that
the statement is meant to be understood as ironic and humorous. It can be used as an adverb (as above) or an
adject. In the example above, Rick
believed Helen when she said she liked the boy band One Direction, but he
didn’t realize she was making a joke, so he bought her tickets for her birthday.
This is a common problem when Americans
say things “tongue in cheek.” Here is another example using the
phrase as an adjective:
Jen: Hey John. How was your weekend?
the opera on Saturday, and then…
Jen: Wait, you mean that wasn’t a tongue in cheek text? You really took
your grandmother to the opera?
John: Yeah, she and I both love Bizet,
and they’re doing Carmen. It’s a great
production. I thought it was strange
that you responded back with “LOL.”
Jen: I didn’t realize you liked opera.
Huh, you learn something new every day.
Meaning: In this case, John told Jen via text that he was going to
an opera with his grandmother, but Jen thought the text John sent was a
“tongue in cheek” joke, so she responded with “LOL”
(“Laugh Out Loud”). In this
case, John was not being ironic as he actually likes opera. Notice that this example uses the expression as
an adjective, whereas the previous example used the expression as an adverb.
This week, we have been covering
strange/humorous American idioms in honor of our new favorite blog, Venezuela Sayings.
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