Green’s Dictionary of Slang

cheese n.1


1. [mid-19C+] (US teen, also cheeserine, cheeze) money [? play on bread n.1 (2) or ? the yellow colour].

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

(a) [mid-19C+] the smegma that accumulates around the uncircumcised penis, occas. the unwashed labia.

(b) [1920s+] (US, also body cheese) secretions found between the toes.

3. in fig. uses, usu. negative.

(a) [late 19C+] an unpleasant, incompetent, stupid person; usu. ext. as big cheese, old cheese, piece of cheese, plate of cheese, poor cheese etc.

(b) [late 19C+] as sense 3a but used joc./affectionately.

(c) [1950s] (US) nonsense; thus phr. no cheese, no bad thing, something ‘not to be sniffed at’.

(d) [1980s+] (US campus) something out-of-date.

(e) [1980s+] (US campus) someone or something unattractive, unappealing, undesirable.

4. [late 19C–1910s] (US) one’s affair, one’s concern.

5. uses based on the colour.

(a) [1970s] (US) a light-skinned black person.

(b) [1990s+] (drugs) crack cocaine.

(c) [2000s] (US drugs) a combination of heroin and cold medication crushed into a powder.

6. see big cheese n.

In compounds

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

[1990s+] (US campus) someone or something unattractive, unappealing, undesirable or not attuned to group standards.

cheese champion (n.) (also cheese champ) [SE champion/champ n. (3)]

[1910s+] a particularly useless or second-rate person.

cheese dong (n.) [dong n.1 (2)]

[1980s+] (US campus) a stupid, unpleasant person.

cheesehead (n.)

see separate entry.

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

[1990s+] (S.Afr.) a bald person.

cheeseman (n.)

1. [1980s+] (US campus) a socially inept person.

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

cheese ridge (n.)

[1990s+] the part of the penis between the glans and the shaft.

cheese tube (n.)

[1990s+] the urethra.

cheesy head (n.) [head n. (6a)]

[1990s+] a penis that has not been cleansed of smegma.

In phrases

big cheese (n.)

see separate entry.

on the cheese (also on the cheeserine)

[late 19C–1940s] (US) unsatisfactory, in a bad way.

stack cheese (v.) [stack v. (5)]

[2010s] (US) to make money.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

cheesebox (n.)

1. [1930s–50s] (US) a run-down, dilapidated vehicle.

2. [1960s] a mass-produced suburban house; also attrib.

3. [1980s] (US campus) a computer; thus cheese, software.

4. [1990s+] the head, the mind.

cheesecake (n.)

see separate entry.

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

1. [mid-19C] an aquiline nose.

2. [mid-19C] in pl., bandy legs.

3. [late 19C+] a large, square peak on a cap; thus a flat cloth cap.

4. [1900s] a (large) knife.

5. [1960s] the penis.

cheese dagger (n.) (also ...scraper, ...slicer, ...sticker) [note US milit. use cheese-knife, a sword]

[1900s–60s] (US) a knife.

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. [late 19C+] (US) a toady, a sycophant.

2. [1950s+] (US) an informer.

3. [2000s] (US black) a subservient black person who courts white affection.

cheese toaster (n.) [in an era before grills, one skewered the lump of cheese and held it to the fire]

1. [late 18C–1910s] a sword.

2. [mid-19C; 1910s+] a bayonet.

3. [mid-19C] (US) a large knife.

In phrases

make the cheese more binding (v.)

[1910s+] (US) to intensify a situation, positively or negatively.