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A cheeky investigation: Tracking the semantic change of <i>cheeky</i> from monkeys to wines

Bailey, Laura R., Durham, Mercedes (2021) A cheeky investigation: Tracking the semantic change of <i>cheeky</i> from monkeys to wines. English Today, 37 (4). pp. 214-223. ISSN 0266-0784. E-ISSN 1474-0567. (doi:10.1017/S0266078420000073) (KAR id:80523)


The present study focuses on the word cheeky which, in the past few decades, has taken on a new meaning (‘mildly illicit’) in addition to, and partly overtaking, its original meaning (‘impudent’). We examine how this semantic change is spreading in different age groups and in different parts of the English-speaking world. As we demonstrate, the newer meaning of cheeky is associated with younger speakers, so we examine whether this correlates with different age groups’ understanding of the new form. Furthermore, in its original sense, cheeky was used more frequently in the United Kingdom than in North America. If the earlier meaning was already marked for North America, how is the newer form understood by speakers there?

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1017/S0266078420000073
Uncontrolled keywords: cheeky, language change, cheeky nando's, semantic change,
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Laura Bailey
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2020 18:03 UTC
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2023 11:53 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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