What does it mean to have a 'saucy facial expression'?

I came upon a comment saying that and I have no idea what it means.

  • It means a humorous expression. – VijayaRagavan Jan 24 '14 at 10:23
  • 2
    It means cheeky or sexually provocative in some contexts. – user24964 Jan 24 '14 at 10:25
  • Would meanings 2 to 4 of the Wiktionary entry for saucy make sense in the context of the comment? – Andrew Grimm Jan 24 '14 at 11:02
  • I'd say 3 and 4 are the closest matches, probably 4. – hermann Jan 24 '14 at 11:43
  • Is this not enough or what? thefreedictionary.com/saucy – Kris Jan 24 '14 at 12:57

It depends if you are in Britain or America.

In the great Puritan United States it means simply 'expressing a bold, spirited, or lively manner'.

In Britain it can have a number of meanings, the most likely being 'sexually suggestive in a light-hearted and humorous way'. But it can also mean simply 'cheeky and impertinent' and have nothing to do with sex at all. It depends on context.

If a barmaid, when taking your order for turkey says 'are you a breast man, or a leg man', that is a 'saucy remark' in the first sense. People also talk about 'saucy postcards' which you buy at the seaside, featuring cartoons of red-faced men and overweight or underweight, scantily clad women, with double-entendre captions. They also are 'saucy' in the sexual sense.

If someone writes you a sarcastic letter of complaint, let's say about some business dealings, which you consider unreasonable, you might refer to it as a 'saucy letter'. That is the second meaning.

Remember that in Britain we pronounce the word 'SORSEY'. Americans say something that sounds like 'SASSY'.

  • Meanings taken from Oxford Dictionary of English (not OED)
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  • You're right of course, but have you actually heard anyone refer to sauce meaning cheek in the last 30 years? It seems incredibly dated usage to me. – user24964 Jan 24 '14 at 13:13
  • @TheMathemagician It is perhaps less often used than it used to be, but I will certainly have heard it used in the last 30 years, particularly among business people deriding some offer that has been made to them. But I agree that it probably people of my age and above who will be most inclined to use it. – WS2 Jan 24 '14 at 16:16
  • Good answer, although I'd say that Americans pronounce it SOSSY – SASSY is a related but different word. – Bradd Szonye Jan 24 '14 at 19:49

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