This funny-sounding expression indicates that someone just told a joke or isn't being serious! Someone who says something "tongue-in-cheek" is usually kidding.
It's believed that this saying was created by an English humorist in the 1800s. Most people have difficulty saying anything with their tongue in their cheek. But some people actually do stick their tongue against the inside of their cheek after saying a joke to show that they're only kidding.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: March 2010
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.