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tongue in cheek


Click below to listen to the phrase.

Choose the correct definition a, b or c.

a) honest

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b) ironic

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If someone says something ’tongue in cheek’ they are saying something in an ironic manner and it is not meant to be taken seriously.

French translation

ironique, sarcastique, facétieux, en plaisantant, avec humour

How NOT to translate : *la langue dans la joue !

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Examples in context

‘UKIP Treasurer Stuart Wheeler’s comment ’was sexist’’

‘He made the comment during a debate on EU proposals for gender quotas in the boardroom. Mr Wheeler said he had been explaining why companies should not be forced to appoint more women to their boards. Ms Gerada said it "certainly was a sexist comment" and she hoped it was "tongue in cheek."

BBC News, 15 August 2013

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‘BBC apologises for ’factual inaccuracy’ of Prince Harry drug joke’

‘The BBC has confirmed it has now apologised for the “factual inaccuracy”, and had removed the error from the programme on iPlayer. It will not appear in any future repeats of the show.

It will not be apologising for the joke itself, saying it was a “tongue in cheek comment” and part of the “irreverent humour” of the news quiz.’

The Telegraph, 1st Nov. 2013

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Everyday usage

I didn’t mean what I said, it was just a tongue in cheek comment.

I’m sure you didn’t mean a thing by that tongue in cheek remark, but it still hurt.

c) funny

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