from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An important person.
  • noun A solid food prepared from the pressed curd of milk, often seasoned and aged.
  • noun A molded mass of this substance.
  • noun Something resembling this substance in shape or consistency.
  • transitive verb To stop.
  • idiom (cheese it) To look out. Often used in the imperative.
  • idiom (cheese it) To get away fast; get going. Often used in the imperative.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun See sage cheese.
  • noun A term sometimes used to describe a poor thin cheese made from whey.
  • noun A local derisive name for any skim-milk cheese of poor quality. Also called white-oak cheese and basswood cheese.
  • noun The thing; the correct or proper thing; the finished or perfect thing: always with the definite article.
  • To become cheese: as, the cheesing of milk.
  • noun The curd or casein of milk, coagulated by rennet or some acid, separated from the serum or whey, and pressed in a vat, hoop, or mold.
  • noun A mass of pomace or ground apples pressed together in a cider-press.
  • noun The inflated appearance of a gown or petticoat resulting from whirling round and making a low courtesy, supposed to resemble a large cheese; hence, a low courtesy.
  • noun plural Same as cheese-cake, 3.
  • To stop.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The curd of milk, coagulated usually with rennet, separated from the whey, and pressed into a solid mass in a hoop or mold.
  • noun A mass of pomace, or ground apples, pressed together in the form of a cheese.
  • noun colloq. The flat, circular, mucilaginous fruit of the dwarf mallow (Malva rotundifolia).
  • noun A low courtesy; -- so called on account of the cheese form assumed by a woman's dress when she stoops after extending the skirts by a rapid gyration.
  • noun a cake made of or filled with, a composition of soft curds, sugar, and butter.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a black dipterous insect (Piophila casei) of which the larvæ or maggots, called skippers or hoppers, live in cheese.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a minute mite (Tryoglyhus siro) in cheese and other articles of food.
  • noun a press used in making cheese, to separate the whey from the curd, and to press the curd into a mold.
  • noun (Bot.) a plant of the Madder family (Golium verum, or yellow bedstraw), sometimes used to coagulate milk. The roots are used as a substitute for madder.
  • noun a vat or tub in which the curd is formed and cut or broken, in cheese making.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun uncountable A dairy product made from curdled or cultured milk.
  • noun countable Any particular variety of cheese.
  • noun countable A piece of cheese, especially one moulded into a large round shape during manufacture.
  • noun uncountable, colloquial That which is melodramatic, overly emotional, or cliché, i.e. cheesy.
  • noun uncountable, slang Money.
  • noun countable, UK In skittles, the roughly ovoid object that is thrown to knock down the skittles.
  • noun countable, slang, baseball A fastball.
  • noun uncountable, slang A dangerous mixture of black tar heroin and crushed Tylenol PM tablets. The resulting powder resembles grated cheese and is snorted.
  • noun vulgar, slang Smegma.
  • noun technology Holed pattern of circuitry to decrease pattern density.
  • verb To prepare curds for making cheese.
  • verb technology To make holes in a pattern of circuitry to decrease pattern density.
  • interjection photography Said while being photographed, to give the impression of smiling.
  • verb slang To stop; to refrain from.
  • verb slang To anger or irritate someone, usually in combination with "off".
  • verb gaming, slang To use an unsporting tactic; to repeatedly use an attack which is overpowered or difficult to counter
  • verb gaming To use an unconventional, all-in strategy to take one's opponent by surprise early in the game (especially for real-time strategy games)
  • noun slang Wealth, fame, excellence, importance.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a solid food prepared from the pressed curd of milk
  • noun erect or decumbent Old World perennial with axillary clusters of rosy-purple flowers; introduced in United States
  • verb wind onto a cheese


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Perhaps from Urdu chīz, thing, from Persian, from Old Persian *ciš-ciy, something; see kwo- in Indo-European roots.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English chese, from Old English cȳse, from Germanic *kasjus, from Latin cāseus.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Origin unknown.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English chese, from Old English ċēse, ċīese ("cheese"), from Proto-Germanic *kāsijaz (“cheese”), from Latin cāseus ("cheese"), from Proto-Indo-European *kwat- (“to ferment, become sour”). Cognate with West Frisian tsiis ("cheese"), Dutch kaas ("cheese"), German Käse ("cheese"). Also related to Old English hwaþerian ("to roar, foam, surge"), Swedish dialect hvå ("foam"), Albanian kos ("yoghurt"), Latvian kūsāt ("to boil"), Old Church Slavonic квасъ (kvasŭ, "leaven; sour drink"), Sanskrit  (kváthati, "it boils").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Probably from Persian چيز (čīz, "thing").


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  • As in the

    June 27, 2007

  • from persian cis-ciy "something"

    July 17, 2007

  • SoG, thank you for linking to the Cheese Shop Sketch.

    July 17, 2007

  • See mice.

    September 9, 2007

  • Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.

    -- Gilbert K. Chesterton, 1910, Alarms and Discursions

    November 22, 2007

  • But what about Ontario's Chaucer of Cheese, James McIntyre?

    Ode on the Mammoth Cheese

    Weight over seven thousand pounds.

    We have seen thee, queen of cheese,

    Lying quietly at your ease,

    Gently fanned by evening breeze,

    Thy fair form no flies dare seize.

    All gaily dressed soon you'll go

    To the great Provincial show,

    To be admired by many a beau

    In the city of Toronto.

    Cows numerous as a swarm of bees,

    Or as the leaves upon the trees,

    It did require to make thee please.

    And stand unrivalled, queen of cheese.

    May you not receive a scar as

    We have heard that Mr. Harris

    Intends to to send you off as far as

    The great world's show at Paris.

    Of the youth beware of these,

    For some of them might rudely squeeze

    And bite your cheek, then songs or glees

    We could not sing, oh! queen of cheese.

    We'rt thou suspended from balloon,

    You'd cast a shade even at noon,

    Folks would think it was the moon

    About to fall and crush them soon.

    November 25, 2007

  • That's the thing with McIntyre's poems - nobody can stop at just one:

    Oxford Cheese Ode

    The ancient poets ne'er did dream

    That Canada was land of cream,

    They ne'er imagined it could flow

    In this cold land of ice and snow,

    Where everything did solid freeze,

    They ne'er hoped or looked for cheese.

    A few years since our Oxford farms

    Were nearly robbed of all their charms,

    O'er cropped the weary land grew poor

    And nearly barren as a moor,

    But now the owners live at ease

    Rejoicing in their crop of cheese.

    And since they justly treat the soil,

    Are well rewarded for their toil,

    The land enriched by goodly cows,

    Yie'ds plenty now to fill their mows,

    Both wheat and barley, oats and peas

    But still their greatest boast is cheese.

    And you must careful fill your mows

    With good provender for your cows,

    And in the winter keep them warm,

    Protect them safe all time from harm,

    For cows do dearly love their ease,

    Which doth insure best grade of cheese.

    To us it is a glorious theme

    To sing of milk and curds and cream,

    Were it collected it could float

    On its bosom, small steam boat,

    Cows numerous as swarm of bees

    Are milked in Oxford to make cheese.

    November 25, 2007

  • Dairy Ode

    Our muse it doth refuse to sing

    Of cheese made early in the spring,

    When cows give milk from spring fodder

    You cannot make a good cheddar.

    The quality is often vile

    Of cheese that is made in April,

    Therefore we think for that reason

    You should make later in the season.

    Cheese making you should delay

    Until about the first of May.

    Then cows do feed on grassy field

    And rich milk they abundant yield.

    Ontario cannot compete

    With the Northwest in raising wheat,

    For cheaper there they it can grow

    So price in future may be low.

    Though this a hardship it may seem,

    Rejoice that you have got the cream,

    In this land of milk and honey,

    Where dairy farmers do make money.

    Utensils must be clean and sweet,

    So cheese with first class can compete,

    And daily polish up milk pans,

    Take pains with vats and with milk cans.

    And it is important matter

    To allow no stagnant water,

    But water from pure well or stream

    The cow must drink to give pure cream.

    Canadian breeds 'tis best to pair

    With breeds from the shire of Ayr,

    They thrive on our Canadian feed

    And are for milking splendid breed.

    Though 'gainst spring cheese some do mutter,

    Yet spring milk also makes bad butter,

    Then there doth arise the query

    How to utilize it in the dairy.

    The milk it floats in great spring flood

    Though it is not so rich and good,

    Let us be thankful for this stream

    Of milk and also curds and cream.

    All dairymen their highest aims

    Should be to make the vale of Thames,

    Where milk doth so abundant flow,

    Dairyland of Ontario.

    November 25, 2007

  • I heard on NPR recently that this word is also used to describe a new kind of inexpensive heroin that's snorted (I think--don't remember anymore) and affordable for middle schoolers. Eesh.

    April 3, 2008

  • I read an article about cheese the drug a while back and assumed it was a hoax along the lines of cake.

    April 3, 2008

  • The Top 10 British Cheese Makers?

    January 24, 2009

  • Public School Slang: Dandy

    April 14, 2009

  • "A dessert without cheese is like a beautiful woman with one eye." - Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, in his preface to Physiologie du goût one of the classic gastronomy texts.

    September 24, 2009

  • As the proud caretaker of a gorgeous little dog with one eye, I got a bone to pick with this Brillat-Savarin dude. You tell him, from me, he can bring it.

    ... even though I really like cheese. (So does my dog.)

    September 24, 2009

  • Should have known that fireworks would ensue over the one-eyed comment. But don't forget that one-eyed comes often with an eyepatch, and eyepatches mean pirates! Funny how even a cheese discussion can devolve to piracy, or lunacy even!

    September 24, 2009

  • I wish I had a nickel for everyone who suggested I put an eyepatch on my dog and call him a scurvy cur. *sigh* Do we do this to other cancer survivors?!

    Umbrage!! Umbrage, I say!

    Note: see marathon of phony umbrage taking.

    September 24, 2009

  • I cast no aspersions on your bubele c_b! I was a papa to a 3-legged rescue corgi dog and another corgi whose nether-region was limp, and their mistress, until recently.

    September 24, 2009

  • Right, that's why it's phony umbrage. :)

    Wait... "whose nether-region was limp"?? Nevermind, I probably don't want to know! :)

    September 25, 2009

  • Don't mind 'splaining, c_b - the dog's was limp. That and the heart of its mistress had grown cold to me, despite a ring and a set of vows, as happens these days with altogether too much frequency. And that's all I have to say about that, as Forrest Gump would say!

    September 25, 2009

  • I... uh... I knew you meant the dog. I wasn't sure what... uh... nevermind.

    My dog doesn't have any balls, if that makes you feel better.

    My, this conversation has taken a turn... :)

    September 25, 2009

  • Added. :)

    September 25, 2009

  • I feel better already!!!!

    September 25, 2009

  • Now to find me a cheese to slice and savor....

    September 25, 2009

  • Fortunately, Schwa Man has enough balls for everyone.

    September 25, 2009

  • Hope those are cheese balls!

    September 25, 2009

  • Schwa Man does, indeed, have balls.

    They don't have to be cheese balls, do they? Can they be whiskey balls?

    September 25, 2009

  • c_b: Have you considered neuticles?

    September 25, 2009

  • I consider them ridiculous. Does that count? ;) Thinking about whiskey balls makes me happy though. Mmm... whiskey balls...

    Okay, I've been wondering about these tags for a couple days now. Can someone explain LGTB as a tag on the word cheese? (Note: if the answer can be found on Urban Dictionary, please don't tell me. I don't want to have nightmares.) Or public school, for heaven's sake?

    September 25, 2009

  • Keep that dog away from the whiskey balls!

    September 25, 2009

  • And, to bring this discussion almost back 'round to the word itself, let me introduce you to sheese.

    September 26, 2009

  • I once had a rescue kitten who developed a fever so high that his nervous system was damaged so his entire hindquarters went all floppy!

    He had already been emasculated, so it really didn't hurt him in the recreational realm, it just made it really sad to watch him run.

    *jump-jump-flop! jump-jump-flop!*

    September 26, 2009

  • Reminds me of my own rescue cat, Stumpy, now sadly deceased, who was found limping along the side of the Westchester Expressway (where he had probably been thrown out of a car), minus his tail and with a broken hindpaw.

    Here he is, in happier (?) days:

    Stumpy in a tutu

    September 26, 2009

  • Roughly speaking, at least half of all photographs should be titled 'Stumpy In A Tutu'.

    September 26, 2009

  • My condolences! How we abuse the weakest creatures so freely is beyond me! My Hank, described below, sadly met his untimely end on the highway beside my parents house

    "when an instrument of fate would not wait for his flopping gait."

    September 26, 2009

  • Roughly speaking, at least half of all photographs should be titled 'Stumpy In A Tutu'.

    The problem was that, the first time I took him to the vet in Secaucus I was ashamed to admit that I had christened him 'Stumpy'. So I pretended his name was 'Sputnik'. He had an identity complex for years. When I moved to San Francisco, I saw an opportunity to rectify the situation. Unfortunately, it was not to be - the first two weeks in California, he had to be boarded at the Belmont kitty condos until my furniture arrived. Naturally, before taking him in, they required his vet records from NJ. So 'Sputnik' he had to remain, for veterinary purposes.

    Let this be a lesson to all Wordies: one tiny little lie can follow you all the way across a continent. "Oh what a tangled web we weave...."

    September 26, 2009

  • "We'rt thou suspended from balloon,

    You'd cast a shade even at noon,

    Folks would think it was the moon

    About to fall and crush them soon".

    I'm sorry, I just have to draw attention once again to the sheer genius of these lines. I mean, what would *you* think if you saw a three-ton cheese suspended from balloon?

    Sure, last night I had a brief dalliance with Donne. and I've cast a few admiring glances Herrick's way. But when I read these lines by James McIntyre, why I swan, I just swoon all over again. He's got it over that Scottish hack McGonagall any day.

    September 26, 2009

  • Wait--I'm still at the Secaucus comment.

    October 1, 2009

  • that cheese and Gs should both be AAVE colloquialisms for money is one of my favourite coincidences

    November 25, 2009

  • Four holy women transformed by cheese

    January 2, 2010

  • There's an iPhone app called Cheese or Font in which you are presented with a word, then you must decide whether it is, well, you know, a cheese or a font. I know it sounds easy, I mean Caslon obviously wouldn't be a cheese, but when you're faced with Alverca or Itceras, well....

    January 3, 2010

  • Ha! Love it.

    January 4, 2010

  • Oh! Cheese or Font is here, too. Now everyone can play.

    January 4, 2010

  • OMG! This is so much fun! I think I'm hooked... I suck at it, but I'm hooked!

    January 4, 2010

  • Heehee! I'm hooked too.

    January 5, 2010

  • Umbrage! I knew that cute cat picture over on Stumpy the cat looked familiar.

    October 19, 2011

  • Isn't that Sputnik in the other photo?

    October 19, 2011

  • Sputnik would be a propos as its meaning is "together with". (see my comment of July 2007). Say cheese please!

    October 19, 2011

  • For cheese lovers: (excellent picture dictionary and learning tool)

    August 28, 2012

  • "The inflated appearance of a gown or petticoat resulting from whirling round and making a low courtesy, supposed to resemble a large cheese; hence, a low courtesy."


    March 29, 2013

  • #cdcwtfbbq

    March 29, 2013

  • There's more fun in the comments over on head cheese, of course.

    March 29, 2013

  • "A corpse is meat gone bad. Well and what's cheese? Corpse of milk."

    - James Joyce.

    January 9, 2014

  • Re: cheese as the archetypal peasant food, see comment on dairy.

    November 27, 2017