Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To attack (a chess opponent's king) in such a manner that no escape or defense is possible, thus ending the game.
  • transitive v. To defeat completely.
  • n. A move that constitutes an inescapable and indefensible attack on a chess opponent's king.
  • n. The position or condition of a king so attacked.
  • n. Utter defeat.
  • interj. Used to declare the checkmate of an opponent's king in chess.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • interj. Word called out by the victor when making the conclusive move.
  • n. The conclusive victory in a game of chess that occurs when an opponent's king is threatened with unavoidable capture.
  • n. Any situation that has no obvious escape and involves some personal loss.
  • v. To put the king of an opponent into checkmate.
  • v. To lead to a situation that has no obvious escape without some personal loss.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The position in the game of chess when a king is in check and cannot be released, -- which ends the game.
  • n. A complete check; utter defeat or overthrow.
  • transitive v. To check (an adversary's king) in such a manner that escape in impossible; to defeat (an adversary) by putting his king in check from which there is no escape.
  • transitive v. To defeat completely; to terminate; to thwart.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In chess, originally, an exclamatory sentence, literally, ′ the king is dead′ : said of the opponent's king when he is in check, and cannot be released from it; hence, the position of being unable to escape from a check.
  • n. Hence Figuratively, defeat; overthrow.
  • In chess, to put in check (an opponent's king), so that he cannot be released. See checkmate, n., 1.
  • Figuratively, to defeat; thwart; frustrate; baffle.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. place an opponent's king under an attack from which it cannot escape and thus ending the game
  • n. a chess move constituting an inescapable and indefensible attack on the opponent's king
  • n. complete victory

Etymologies

Middle English chekmat, from Old French eschec mat, from Arabic šāh māt, the king is dead : šāh, king (from Persian shāh; see shah) + māt, died (from earlier māta, to die; see mwt in Semitic roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English chekmat, from Old French eschec mat, from Persian شاه مات (shah mat), the king is ambushed or the king is conquered (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • But, like English-speakers using the word checkmate, French-speakers typically hear no Persian or Arabic meanings in their phrase.

    The English Is Coming!

  • You will have the right to be upset if the REAL important part of the ending, the moral checkmate, is gone.

    New Watchmen Trailer Will Premiere Online on Thursday Night | /Film

  • The problem is that Team Obama and Team Reid are so hung up on playing 11-D chess and putting the Rs in checkmate via a filibuster proof majority that they’ve simply perpetuated the meme that it takes 60 votes to get something done in the Senate.

    Matthew Yglesias » What if Bernanke Isn’t Reconfirmed

  • Game’s over, but Obama’s too inexperienced a player to realize that checkmate is now unavoidable.

    The August Rasmussen Public Trust Numbers. - Moe_Lane’s blog - RedState

  • Ten-year-old Jackie Peng called checkmate on the nation, as she brought home the national chess crown for her age group in Quebec City Sunday.

    Archive 2008-07-01

  • The goal of the game is to place the opposing king into checkmate, that is, a position in which the king is under attack but cannot escape.

    Conservapedia - Recent changes [en]

  • When a King is checkmated, the game is over, and the player initiating the checkmate is the winner.

    Conservapedia - Recent changes [en]

  • To win, a player must use his pieces to create a situation where the opponent's King is unable to avoid capture (a condition known as checkmate).

    Fred's Head from APH

  • I have to give a plug to the blog Bradshaw of The Future who recently wrote about the origin of the word "checkmate" and then added further to this interesting etymological puzzle by writing a follow-up entry.

    Archive 2008-03-01

  • Though in truth I am beginning to sense it may be "checkmate" for the US economy even if the government does pass this bill notice the date on Kasriel's analysis...

    1929

Comments

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  • Persian phrase "Shah Mat", which means "the king is dead".

    May 7, 2008