Green’s Dictionary of Slang

cheese n.1


1. (US teen, also cheeserine, cheeze) money [? play on bread n.1 (2) or ? the yellow colour].

[US]‘Ned Buntline’ G’hals of N.Y. 135: As to the way in which yer emptied my pockets – yes; but not as to the time nor manner when you will restore the cheese!
[US]J.R. Lowell Biglow Papers 2nd series (1880) 20: Confed’rit bonds warn’t jest the cheese I needed.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 256: Well, if it’s too much on the cheeserine, we can vamp out easy.
[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 26: [said to a man with his hand in another’s pocket] Get away from the cheese .
[US]E. De Roo Go, Man, Go! 61: [He] thought of that assistant’s job Dick hinted at. Or is it cheese bait—for a rat?
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
Whodini ‘Friends’ [lyrics] Couldn’t trust her with cheese, let alone your keys.
[US]UGK ‘Murder’ [lyrics] We with playa’z from the South stack gee’z man / Like Ball I got to stack big cheeze man .
[UK]Guardian Rev. 20 Aug. 11: He’s going to kill everyone who gets in his way or messes with his ‘cheese’ (that’s money to you non-hood dwellers).
[UK]Dizzee Rascal ‘Face’ [lyrics] [She’s] blatantly after your cheese.
[US]Simon & Collins ‘Not for Attribution’ Wire ser. 5 ep. 3 [TV script] Where my cheese at?
Chief Keef ‘Hate Bein’ Sober’ [lyrics] My weed so strong, my cheese so long.

2. as bodily fluids and secretions [underpinned by the smell of over-ripe cheese].

(a) the smegma that accumulates around the uncircumcised penis, occas. the unwashed labia.

[UK]A. Crowley Snowdrops from a Curate’s Garden 22: This truly formidable weapon is worth a moment’s digression [...] In erection the noble owner can lick the cheese from under the prepuce.
[UK]‘J.H. Ross’ Mint (1955) 115: There’s more fucking cheese on your knob than hair on your block.
[US] in G. Legman Limerick (1953) 160: There was a young fellow from Leith / Who used to skin cocks with his teeth. / It wasn’t for pleasure / He adopted this measure, / But to get at the cheese underneath.
[US]G. Legman ‘Lang. of Homosexuality’ Appendix VII in Henry Sex Variants.
[US]Guild Dict. Homosexual Terms 7: cheese (n.): Smegma, which accumulates under the foreskin of an uncircumcised, unclean man; derived from its whitish color.
[US]E. Thompson Garden of Sand (1981) 187: You’re like your old man, only worse, and for a farmer he couldn’t raise cheese in the end of his dick!
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 43: cheese: smegma; cheezy ooze caked beneath an unclean foreskin, or about the unwashed labia minora of a woman.
[UK]Kirk & Madsen After The Ball 305: Hung, filthy, uncut loaded with cheese.
[US]Randolph & Legman Ozark Folksongs and Folklore I 176: Willie Smith favored me by belting out at the piano this one and only stanza – concerning preputial smegma, or ‘cheese’ [...] ‘Lift up your skirt, gal, an’ gimme a breeze, / What am I gonna do with all this cheese?’.
[SA]K. Cage Gayle 61/2: cheese n. smegma.
[UK]Roger’s Profanisaurus in Viz Apr. 47: clamembert n. Female equivalent of helmetdale. Fanny cheese.

(b) (US, also body cheese) secretions found between the toes.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 2: body cheese – any natural buildup of body cells. e.g. ear wax [...] I just cleaned my feet. They had large amounts of body (here, also toe) cheese.

3. in fig. uses, usu. negative.

(a) an unpleasant, incompetent, stupid person; usu. ext. as big cheese, old cheese, piece of cheese, plate of cheese, poor cheese etc.

[UK]B. Hemyng Eton School Days 67: You are such a cheese.
[US]W.C. Gore Student Sl. in Cohen (1997) 17: cheese n. 1. An ignorant, stupid person.
[US]‘Hugh McHugh’ I’m from Missouri 90: Who is Peter Grant’s opponent? A piece of cheese!
[US]G.V. Hobart Jim Hickey 36: Didn't I pipe him helping her up the steps the plate of cheese!
[US]F. Hutchison Philosophy of Johnny the Gent 5: One day they’ll be tellin’ everybody what a hunk o’ cheese the other guy is, an’ the next time you see ’em they're thicker’n Rubes around a big six wheel.
[US]‘Hugh McHugh’ Beat It 62: I found him entertaining a German nobleman — the Count Cheese von Cheese.
[US]B. Fisher A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 46: Any time a party can make you make a cheese out of yourself, you may be sure said party has your goat.
[US]T.A. Dorgan Silk Hat Harry’s Divorce Suit 18 July [synd. cartoon strip] You piece of cheese. Why don’t you trade that dome of yours for a nice Brussels sprout.
A. Baer Rabid Rudolph 4 Dec. [synd. col.] Heeza Cheese, who has the scenter job wished on him, received his goatskin at Jale.
[US]Van Loan ‘Nine Assists and Two Errors’ in Score by Innings (2004) 410: I may turn out to be quite a pitcher – and then again I may be a piece of cheese.
[US]R. Lardner ‘The Love Nest’ in Coll. Short Stories (1941) 207: Well, you are an old cheese! To make me dance alone!
[UK]‘Leslie Charteris’ Enter the Saint 45: Any time any of you bad cheeses want any more lessons in rough-housing [...] drop me a postcard.
[UK]J. Curtis There Ain’t No Justice 259: I ought to have known better. Taking up with a piece of cheese like you.
[US]J. Archibald ‘Knife Thrower’ in Popular Detective June [Internet] Why you should be cut up in chunks to bait mouse-traps with, [...] you big hunk of cheese.
[US]E. De Roo Go, Man, Go! 142: 3-B it said in the lobby. That your hole? You take us up the back way, you piece of cheese.
[Aus]D. Niland Big Smoke 172: What can he do, the silly old cheese?
[UK]W. Manus Mott the Hoople 41: He was a great cheese of a man.
[US]E. Tidyman Shaft 13: He was a big piece of cheese.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 9: weenie cheese – an insult. ‘Stop being such a weenie cheese.’.
[US]G. Indiana Rent Boy 37: Even with all his debts, Stagpole must be one of the richest cheeses in New York.

(b) as sense 3a but used joc./affectionately.

[UK]A. Day Mysterious Beggar 270: I smiled an abnegatin’ Curb-Stone-Chapel smile on him, and then handed out Takemein’s letter. The old cheese! He took it in, sure ’nough! He read it all through; v-e-r-r-y slow.
[US]Van Loan ‘“Butterfly” Boggs: Pitcher’ in Lucky Seventh (2004) 243: You’re a fine piece of cheese, I must say! Where’ve you been?
[US]S. Lewis Main Street (1921) 42: The old cheese there is Luke Dawson, the richest man in town.
[US]Dos Passos Manhattan Transfer 174: Didn’t I graduate from Columbia you big cheese, that’s more than you could do.
[US]Hope College ‘Dict. of New Terms’ [Internet] cheese n. Synonym for dork or nerd, only used affectionately. ‘I can’t believe you did that for me, you cheese!’.

(c) (US) nonsense; thus phr. no cheese, no bad thing, something ‘not to be sniffed at’.

[US]B. Fisher A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 135: In these times 50 bucks is no cheese and it behooves every wife to take a slam at that 50. [Ibid.] 151: ‘But officer, let me explain.’ ‘Aw, cheese, cheese.’.
[US]Van Loan ‘Ten-Thousand-Dollar Arm’ in Ten-Thousand-Dollar Arm 23: ‘If you win this game, I’ll give you — ’ ‘Cheese! Cheese! [...] You’ll give me nothing.’.
[US]S. Lewis Babbitt (1974) 70: I just wanted to show how many different kinds of correspondence-courses there are, instead of all the camembert they teach us in the High.
[US]R. Bissell Stretch on River 10: What a line of cheese! [W&F].
[SA]IOL News 9 Nov. [Internet] OK, all cheese aside.

(d) (US campus) something out-of-date.

[US]P. Munro Sl. U. 56: That dress you’re wearing is total cheese.

(e) (US campus) someone or something unattractive, unappealing, undesirable.

[US]Eble Sl. and Sociability 70: Cheese became a metaphor for ‘something unattractive or undesirable’.

4. (US) one’s affair, one’s concern.

[US]A. Berkman Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist (1926) 50: Why, it was none of my ‘cheese’.

5. uses based on the colour.

(a) (US) a light-skinned black person.

[US] in DARE.

(b) (drugs) crack cocaine.

[US]G. Smitherman Black Talk.
[US]UGK ‘Heaven’ [lyrics] I wonder if it’s a heaven up there for real G’s / For all the niggaz in the game that be sellin cheese.
[UK]Skepta ‘2+2x2 [lyrics] Light up the cheese, inhale, exhale, then I’m screaming fuck these niggas.
67 ‘5am Vamping’ [lyrics] Had am you were smoking on cheese.

(c) (US drugs) a combination of heroin and cold medication crushed into a powder.

Wikipedia [Internet] Cheese is a recreational drug that [...] is formed by combining heroin and crushed over-the-counter common cold medication (such as Tylenol PM). [...] Cheese may contain up to 8% heroin. The powder is snorted instead of being injected.

6. see big cheese n.

In compounds

cheeseball (n.) [ult. SE cheeseball, a recipe/product made from cheese]

(US campus) someone or something unattractive, unappealing, undesirable or not attuned to group standards.

[UK]Reeves & Mortimer Vic Reeves Big Night Out n.p.: Your wife’s playin’ midnight skittles with a cheeseball.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 2 July 16: I’m a cheeseball sometimes.
cheese champion (n.) (also cheese champ) [SE champion/champ n. (3)]

a particularly useless or second-rate person.

[NZ]N.Z. Truth 10 Feb. 11: American scribes mostly think so little of Darcy's prospective antagonist as a boxer that they usually refer to him as ‘the cheese champion.’ ‘Cheese,’ In Yankee slang, means poor of cheap.
[US]H.C. Witwer Fighting Blood 313: ‘Cheese champion,’ ‘false alarm,’ and ‘yellow’ is just a few of the labels they tacked after my name.
[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson Shearer’s Colt 183: ‘He’s a cheese champion dis Australian hoss,’ he said. ‘Why worry about heem? Even if we gave heem de fast stuff he wouldn’t beat de clerk o’ de course.’.
[US]J. Ellroy ‘Where I Get My Weird Shit’ in Destination: Morgue! (2004) 31: I [...] picked up dirt [...] Floyd Patterson – cheese champ.
cheesedick (n.) [dick n.1 (5)/dickhead n. (1)]

(US) an obnoxious person.

Dye & Stone Platoon [movie script] All right, you cheesedicks, welcome to the Nam. Follow me.
S. O’Nan Names of Dead 125: You know you still a cheesedick dumbfuck know-nothing cherry.
[US]J. Stahl Happy Mutant Baby Pills 193: The cheesedick bastard who banged my head off the marble floor of a Four Seasons bathroom.
cheese dong (n.) [dong n.1 (2)]

(US campus) a stupid, unpleasant person.

[US]P. Munro Sl. U. 56: If that cheese dong makes another stupid comment I will hit him.
Glamour 89 76: cheese dong: incredibly stupid person.
cheesehead (n.)

see separate entry.

cheesekop (n.) [Afk. kop, the head]

(S.Afr.) a bald person.

Pace n.d. 19/1: My bald head is nothing new. My partents insisted that we all shaved our heads — I’m glad they did because now the cheesekop style is the in thing.
[SA]Drum n.d. 12/1: When we formed Abashante we decided to do something extreme, so we went for the ‘cheesekop’ look.
[SA]IOL News (Western Cape) 12 Aug. [Internet] I used to be known as cheesekop because of my bald head.
cheeseman (n.)

1. (US campus) a socially inept person.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Fall.
[US]Eble Sl. and Sociability 31: As in the general vocabulary of English, slang permits the compounding of words of various grammatical classes, with the exact relationship between the parts unspecified. noun + noun is the dominant pattern: [...] cheeseman ‘socially inept person’ (man [subject] is cheezy [adjective]).

2. a womanizer [cheese n.2 (2)].

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 2: cheese man – male always preoccupied with attracting women.
cheese ridge (n.)

the part of the penis between the glans and the shaft.

[UK]Roger’s Profanisaurus in Viz 87 Dec. n.p.: cheese ridge n. The fertile area of the penis where knob cheese (qv) is cultivated. Also banjo (qv).
cheesy head (n.) [head n. (6a)]

a penis that has not been cleansed of smegma.

‘Rod of Might’ on ‘Absolute Beastiality Stories’ at [Internet] I looked at his cock, fantastically hard, the head drooling precum like piss. His foreskin was drawn back, the cheesy head stood revealed, a helmeted warrior.

In phrases

big cheese (n.)

see separate entry.

on the cheese (also on the cheeserine)

(US) unsatisfactory, in a bad way.

[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 79: Mista Johnson, don’t let ’em put this here place on the cheese. For Gawd’s sake, save us!
[US]H. Green Maison De Shine 296: An’ then the best I draw is to be bit up and put on the cheeserine until I prob’ly won’t be able to work fur a year!
[US]K. McGaffey Sorrows of a Show Girl Ch. xi: The other two acts may be on the cheese, but the first act is good.
[US] in Botkin Sidewalks of America (1954) 553: [song title] I Put Him on the Cheese.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

cheesebox (n.)

1. (US) a run-down, dilapidated vehicle.

[US]M. Levin Old Bunch (1946) 566: Why don’t you trade in that cheesebox. I trade in my chevvy every year.
[US]A. Ginsberg ‘Kaddish’ II (1961) 13: And was the driver of the cheesebox Public Service bus a member of the gang?
[US]Simon & Pelecanos ‘Amsterdam’ Wire ser. 3 ep. 4 [TV script] What the fuck’s up with that cheesebox? [i.e. a school bus].

2. a mass-produced suburban house; also attrib.

[US]Mad mag. Jan. 23: A tree that takes up so much space / Where cheesebox homes could stand in place.

3. (US campus) a computer; thus cheese, software.

[US]J. Doyle College Sl. Dict. [Internet] cheese [CMU] software. [Ibid.] cheesebox [CMU] computer.

4. the head, the mind.

[UK]Observer Mag. 12 Sept. 24: Use your cheesebox and say no, never.
cheesecake (n.)

see separate entry.

cheese-cutter (n.) [resemblance to a cheese knife]

1. an aquiline nose.

[UK]I. & P. Opie Lore and Lang. of Schoolchildren (1977) 192: There are also, according to juvenile observers, people with ‘ferret’ noses [...] ‘cheese cutters’, and ‘Rudolphs’.

2. in pl., bandy legs.

[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict.
[UK]Flash Mirror 9: Your legs would make an excellent pair of cheese-cutters.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.

3. a large, square peak on a cap; thus a flat cloth cap.

[UK]Sl. Dict.
[UK]Dundee Courier (Scot.) 13 Oct. 6/6: I carried the two hats [...] the latter a cloth one with a straight ‘cheese-cutter’.
[UK]Belfast Wkly News 21 Dec. 3/1: That young fellow with the cheese-cutter cap is ‘dodging Tommy’.
[UK](con. WW2) T. Jones Heart of Oak [ebook] I was dressed in a too-big sea-jersey knitted by my mother [...] a striped Welsh linen shirt, a cheese-cutter cap and shiny black moleskin trousers.
[UK]S. Berkoff West in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 100: The clobber of that mob / cheese-cutters and football boots.
N. Cohn ‘On Broadway’ in N.Y. mag. 6 Jan. 22/1: A tangled mop of hair spilling out from under a cheese-cutter cap.
M. Taylor in Spitalfields Life 1 Oct. [Internet] The villains [...] wore traditional gear, coat and scarf and a cheese cutter, and no-one paid any attention.

4. a (large) knife.

[UK]D. Stewart Shadows of the Night in Illus. Police News 20 July 12/3: He plunged his hand in his vest, drawing out an American bowie knife [...] ‘All right, old hoss, your cheese-cutter agin my six-shooter,’ and the one-eyed giant [...] held forth a revolver.
[UK]D. Stewart Devil of Dartmoor in Illus. Police News 22 Oct. 12/2: ‘Drink up that wine, or by holy Moses I’ll put this cheese-cutter between your ribs!’.

5. the penis.

[US]Trimble 5000 Adult Sex Words and Phrases.
cheese dagger (n.) (also ...scraper, ...slicer, ...sticker) [note US milit. use cheese-knife, a sword]

(US) a knife.

[US]‘O. Henry’ ‘The Coming-Out of Maggie’ in Four Million (1915) 80: Chuck that cheese slicer out of the window.
J.J. Meyer Deer-smellers of Haunted Mountain 204: Give your Emperor a cheese-dagger and see if he has nerve enough for harri-karri .
L. Stott Adventuring with Twelve Year Olds 74: When Jack got down he calmly took out his cheese dagger and was about to rip me open.
[US] ‘Ed Lacy’ Best that Ever Did It (1957) 81: He took a switch blade out of his pocket. [...] ‘Cliff, put that cheese sticker away,’ Louise said.
[US] (ref. to mid-1960s) B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 105: cheese-scraper (kwn San Diego, mid ’60s) knife or razor carried for protection.
cheese-eater (n.) [equation of cheese with rat n.1 (1); note Urquhart, The Complete Works of Rabelais (1653): ‘He chargeth the defendant, that he was a botcher, cheese-eater, and trimmer of man’s flesh embalmed’, where the term is a general derog.]

1. (US) a toady, a sycophant.

[US]J. O’Connor Wanderings of a Vagabond 287: Wa-al now, if Kline and me can’t clean out them cheeseeaters, I’ll never show my mug to the Pints again.

2. (US) an informer.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 42/2: Cheese-eater. (N. Y. State prisons) An informer.
[US]J. Blake letter 23 Dec. in Joint (1972) 27: The joint is full of cheese-eaters.
[US]B. Schulberg On the Waterfront (1964) 15: I worked too hard for what I got to frig around with a cheese-eater.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 794: cheese eater – An informer.
[US]E. Grogan Ringolevio 149: I never want to see you again, you cheese-eatin’ motherfucker!
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 35: Cheese Eater also Cheese Pride and Cheesey Rider Expressions used sarcastically in reference to a ‘snitch’ or ‘rat.’.
[US]Da Bomb Summer Supplement 3: Cheese-eater (n.) Someone who gives out information.
[US]Other Side of the Wall: Prisoner’s Dict. July [Internet] Cheese Eater: An informer.

3. (US black) a subservient black person who courts white affection.

[US]Ebonics Primer at [Internet] cheese-eater Definition: a white mans’s nigga. a nigga whose one goal in life is to please the white man. Example: Yo, Jerome is one cheese-eating nigga. He was the one who dropped dime on Terrell to the big boss.
cheese toaster (n.) [in an era before grills, one skewered the lump of cheese and held it to the fire]

1. a sword.

[UK]Smollett Peregrine Pickle (1964) 278: He did not value their cheese-toasters a pinch of oakum.
[UK]Smollett Humphrey Clinker (1925) I 142: But i’fackins, Mr. Clinker wa’n’t long in his debt – with a good oaken sapling he dusted his doublet, for all his golden cheese toaster.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (4th edn) II 112: Hector sha’n’t cease o’ th’ bum to kick ’em, / Or with his old cheese-toaster stick ’em.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
J.G. Lockhart Peter’s Letters 30: The powdered young puppies of plebeian pages, with their cheese- toasters bruising each others shins ever and anon.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc.
F. Chamier Spitfire 215: They are a gallant set of fellows in the boats [...] there’s young Philadelphia flourishing his cheese-toaster, as if he would spit us all.
[UK]Thackeray Virginians II Ch. 10 82: I’ll drive my cheese-toaster through his body.
J.P. Kennedy Rob of the Bowl 251: He must needs, for a fancy, put on the red coat again, and buckle his cheese-toaster to his thigh.
[UK]Dundee Courier 31 Jan. 3/3: Flourishing the ‘cheese-toaster’ in a warlike manner he raised his voice.
[UK]Barrère & Leland Dict. of Sl., Jargon and Cant.

2. a bayonet.

[US]‘Jack Downing’ Andrew Jackson 99: Give it tu ’em my lads, six inches of your cheese-toasters! [Ibid.] 102: In a wink a solder pin’d him tu the ground with his cheese-toaster.
[US]‘Bill O. Lading’ You Chirped a Chinful!! n.p.: Cheese Toaster: Bayonet.

3. (US) a large knife.

[UK]Lancaster Gaz. 29 June 4/4: His flight might possibly be accelerated by the flash of a ‘revolver’ or the insertion under his fifth rib of an ‘Arkansas cheese-toaster’.

In phrases

make the cheese more binding (v.)

(US) to intensify a situation, positively or negatively.

D.M. Shoup Marines in China (1987) 98: Lt. H —, noting my misstep, [...] fell in atop of me, thus ‘making the cheese more binding’ as per Lt. B—.
Motion Picture Herald 106 82: To make the cheese more binding this editor and theatre owner is also the town mayor, which is another thing to take some more joy out of Eddie's life.
C.Y. Harrison Nobody’s Fool 126: I asked for a check for one hundred thousand dollars. ‘Sure,’ he said, ‘if you think that’ll make the cheese more binding’.
Keating & Carter Man Who Rocked Boat 235: To make the cheese more binding, Mike's brother, Joe, was reported [...] as having said, ‘I’ve thought from the beginning that he probably fell in the river’.
R. Franken When All Is said & Done 19: Especially having thrown my knee in at the last minute to make the cheese more binding, as it were.
[US](con. 1916) G. Swarthout Tin Lizzie Troop (1978) 61: And to make the cheese more binding, he knew these things in his very guts.
M. de Jourlet Windhaven’s Triumph 312: Look, Milo [...] just to make the cheese more binding, I’m going to contribute a little something to the business at hand.
J. Valenti at [Internet] On Super Bowl Sunday, the Green Bay Packers will make the cheese more binding for the Denver Broncos. I say Packers by 14. 21 Mar. [Internet] To make the cheese more binding, readers who opt for the free version will have to put up with even bigger commercial come-ons and those infuriating pop-up frames that drive Internet readers bonkers.
R.L. Scott Letters from Hills 81: I thank that Delilah jist wants to git out of Hogwaller. Iffen she makes money to boot, well, that jist makes the cheese more binding, don’t you know.