from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The act or an instance of inspecting or testing something, as for accuracy or quality.
  • noun A standard for inspecting or evaluating; a test.
  • noun A check mark.
  • noun A ticket or slip of identification.
  • noun A bill at a restaurant or bar.
  • noun A chip or counter used in gambling.
  • noun Something that stops or slows down motion, action, or expression; a restraint.
  • noun The condition of being stopped or held back; restraint.
  • noun A stopping or slowing down of something.
  • noun Sports The act of blocking or impeding an opponent with the puck in ice hockey, either with one's body or one's stick.
  • noun A written order to a bank to pay the amount specified from funds on deposit; a draft.
  • noun A pattern of small squares, as on a chessboard.
  • noun One of the squares of such a pattern.
  • noun A fabric patterned with squares.
  • noun A move in chess that directly attacks an opponent's king but does not constitute a checkmate.
  • noun The position or condition of a king so attacked.
  • noun A small crack; a chink.
  • interjection Games Used to declare that a chess opponent's king is in check.
  • interjection Informal Used to express agreement or understanding.
  • intransitive verb To inspect so as to determine accuracy, quality, or other condition; test.
  • intransitive verb To verify by consulting a source or authority.
  • intransitive verb To put a check mark on or next to.
  • intransitive verb To arrest or slow the motion or progress of.
  • intransitive verb To hold in restraint; curb: synonym: restrain.
  • intransitive verb Baseball To stop (the swing of the bat) in an attempt to avoid swinging at a pitch that is out of the strike zone.
  • intransitive verb Sports To block or impede (an opposing player with the ball or puck), as in ice hockey, by using one's body or one's stick.
  • intransitive verb To deposit or consign for safekeeping or shipment.
  • intransitive verb Games To move in chess so as to put (an opponent's king) under direct attack.
  • intransitive verb To make cracks or chinks in.
  • intransitive verb To make an examination or investigation; inquire.
  • intransitive verb To be verified or confirmed; pass inspection.
  • intransitive verb To agree point for point; correspond.
  • intransitive verb Sports To block or impede an opposing player with the ball or puck, as in ice hockey.
  • intransitive verb To come to an abrupt halt; stop.
  • intransitive verb To write a check on a bank account.
  • intransitive verb To undergo cracking in a pattern of checks, as paint does.
  • intransitive verb To place a chess opponent's king in check.
  • intransitive verb In certain card games, to announce that one is declining the option of making a bet.
  • intransitive verb To pause to relocate a scent. Used of hunting dogs.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English chek, check in chess, from Old French eschec, from Arabic šāh, from Persian, king, check; see shah.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

By shortening from checker, from Old French eschequier ("chessboard"), from Medieval Latin scaccarium, ultimately from the same Persian root as above.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French eschec, from Medieval Latin scacus, from Arabic صکّ (ṣakk), from Persian چک (chak, "letter of credit"), from شاه (šāh, "king").


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  • "Anyone who believes that an administration incapable of getting itself out of its own disasters from Kabul to Baghdad to New Orleans finally has a formula for doing so at a moment of ultimate economic debacle is surely deluded. In the meantime, Congress may turn over the checks (as in checkbooks) from those classic American governmental checks and balances to the Treasury."

    - Tom Engelhardt, 25 Sep 2008.

    September 26, 2008

  • Also chack, an Orkney name for the wheatear.

    May 10, 2011