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

  • 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.
  • 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.

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


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

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).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English chekmat, from Old French eschec mat, from Persian شاه مات (shah mat), the king is ambushed or the king is conquered


  • 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.

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

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  • 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...



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

    May 7, 2008