Cheek by jowl


      • close proximity
        To be physically or emotionally close to someone or something, often used in a negative connotation to describe an uncomfortable or undesirable situation

      • crowded
        To be in a tight or cramped space, often used to describe a crowded or overcrowded situation

      • intimate
        To be in a close, intimate relationship or friendship with someone, often used to describe a strong bond or connection between individuals

    Examples of Cheek by jowl


      The idiom "cheek by jowl" is typically used to describe a situation in which people or objects are in close proximity or crowded together. It can also convey a sense of intimacy or closeness between individuals. The phrase is often used in a negative context to describe a situation that is uncomfortable or undesirable, such as being stuck in a small and crowded space.

      Origin of "Cheek by jowl"

      The origin of the idiom "cheek by jowl" is believed to date back to the 16th century, when it was first used by English playwright William Shakespeare in his play "A Midsummer Night's Dream." In the play, the character Lysander says, "And through walls chink by chink, and through the crannies of the world, I am wisely scattered." This is thought to be the earliest known use of the phrase, which suggests being in close proximity or squeezed together.

      Another theory about the origin of the idiom is that it comes from the idea of two animals, such as pigs or chickens, being cheek by jowl as they are often seen in close proximity to each other. This could be interpreted as being cramped or crowded, which is similar to the use of the phrase to describe a crowded situation.

      Overall, the idiom "cheek by jowl" has been used for centuries to describe a variety of situations, from physical proximity to emotional intimacy. Its origins may be disputed, but its meaning remains the same: to be in close proximity or crowded together.