I learned this yesterday when a co-worker went to look up the spelling of cheesy. (I don't think I have stopped laughing since.)
Cheese it; slang
1. To look out. Often used in the imperative.
2. To get away fast; get going. Often used in the imperative.
"Cheese it! The cops!"
UPDATE: A friend at the Times got this e-mail about the matter from her retired literature professor mother:
CHEESE meaning look out or run has been part of English slang since 1805-1815. The etymology is murky but some believe it to be a variant of the word "cease."
Don't you people at the TIMES have a dictionary or a man named Safire?
In my youth it was used primarily in gangster movies-James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, et al-in the memorable line quoted above, "Cheese it! The cops!"
Random thought: It would be nice if Spell Check would acknowledge perfection by congratulating you when there is nothing to correct in your document.
You are kidding me. Cheese it? Oh, no, no thank you. My goodness, wasn't it embarrassing enough when everyone at Rhodes Jr. High was saying "book it?" Please, whoever comes up with this stuff: STOP.ReplyDelete