Cheek By Jowl

Meanings of “Cheek By Jowl”

The phrase “cheek by jowl” means to live together, side by side, or closer to each other. It also means to be in agreement or form a consent with somebody else. It is mostly used in an intimate sense.

Origin of “Cheek By Jowl”

The phrase “cheek by jowl” is stated to have originated from the translation of Eusebius of Caesarea by Meredith Hanmer. It means that it has been first used around 600AD such as given in the translation as “Cheeke by iole with the Emperour.”

Examples in Literature

Example #1

Cheek by Jowl by Dylan Williamson

A yearning tear runs down the cheek,
any second the release of a blissful peak.

I hear it in your eyes,
see it in your voice.

A hastily trammeled knot forces the pain,
with slight forethought there is no gain.

Time has passed, but not enough,
death came at an instant.

The above stanzas explain the phrase. It means when a tear of yearning comes on the cheek about some thought, it means that death has taken its toll from that person. In other words, it means that though time has passed by slowly, the memory of that cheek by jowl relationship stays fresh in the mind of the poet.

Example #2

The Vision of Sin by Lord Alfred Tennyson

Sit thee down, and have no shame,
Cheek by jowl, and knee by knee:
What care I for any name?
What for order or degree?

Let me screw thee up a peg:
Let me loose thy tongue with wine:
Callest thou that thing a leg?
Which is thinnest? thine or mine?

These two stanzas state that they are sitting cheek by jowl but have no shame of any sort that they are sitting side by side in such a way that nobody knows whose leg is that. This vision of the poet sheds light on the life of sinners that they stay close to each other in such a way that they do not feel ashamed at this proximity when sinning.

Example #3

Cheek by Jowl  by Ursula K. Le Guin

It is a collection of Ursula K. Le Guin, an excellent postmodern American writer, popular for writing postmodern fiction. She has put together all her discussions and essays in this collection. She has argued that all of us are trapped in the reality of living today but we can break this reality through homogenization. She writes about the pleasure of her reading during her childhood, about building a fantasy world, and about fantasy and its impacts on human minds. The use of this phrase shows that fantasy and reality are living cheek by jowl, as the title of the book indicates.

Example #4

Renaissance Florence: A Social History edited by Roger J Crum, Roger J. Crum, John T. Paoletti

That neighborhood was an original an ineluctable fact of life in Rennaissance Florence is immediately apparent in a host of surviving contemporary maps and views of the city. In one of the most famous of these, form the late fifteenth century, building crowd in upon each other to create an environment in which we instinctively sense, people were forced to live cheek by jowl. Even today, a bird’s eye view of Florence reinforces this impression, as complicated agglomeration of urban zones and precincts that made up the premodern city is still clearly visible.

This except occurs in the book, Renaissance Florence, an old Italian city. It shows that the old city was a conglomerate of houses and city streets. Therefore, the people did not have much space, the reason that they were forced to “live cheek by jowl.” The phrase is clearly denotative in meanings that despite the ancient history of Florence, it was a congested city as the people used to live in proximity to each other.

Example in Sentences

Example #1: “They are sitting cheek by jowl not because there is congestion but because they love each other and do not want to part ways.”

Example #2: “Their cheek by jowl friendship only means to make jealous her.”

Example #3: “I do not think that we can sit cheek by jowl during these times when Corona is raging and causing deaths in thousands. Therefore, my advice to you is to sit down, think, and then go in isolation for at least two weeks.”

Example #4: “Dead bodies were lying around cheek by jowl on the battlefield. Babur, however, got perturbed seeing such widespread bloodshed. He did not mean it.”

Example #5: “Cheek by jowl means close or check by jowl means intimate; both show a love relationship.”