If you type the word “cheeky” into your Google search, chances are the first thing that will come up will be “cheeky Nando’s”. To try to explain this idea to someone not from the British Isles is a little bit of a lost cause, but the former word is one that is easier explained.
“Cheeky” refers to a person or action that can be described as being a little bit mischievous or forward. Maybe someone that tells a slightly inappropriate joke or someone that asks a question that would normally be off limits in a normal conversation. Although mostly used negatively, there are situations where being “cheeky” can be a positive thing.
“What a cheeky boy you are, you know you shouldn’t ask a woman that question.”
“That joke was a bit cheeky, I don’t think his sister found it very funny.”
“He’s got such a cheeky face, it always looks like he’s up to no good.”
It’s often used together with “monkey”, as the character of a monkey is one that seems mischievous and always ready to play tricks.
In recent years among young British people it has become much more utilised, almost to an annoying extent, where everything everyone does can be described as cheeky. A workmate asks another if he wants to go for a “cheeky pint” after work, or maybe you’ll have a “cheeky ice-cream” after your dinner. It’s as if the people that say it believe they are a rebellious type. The epitome is the term “Cheeky Nando’s”, which refers to a chicken restaurant chain in Britain, and it’s such a common phrase now that we may as well start a petition to actually have the brand renamed. They have great chicken though!