Words related to check

shah (n.)

title of the king of Persia, 1560s, shaw, from Persian shah "a king, the ruler of a land," shortened from Old Persian xšayathiya "king," from Indo-Iranian *ksayati "he has power over, rules" from PIE *tke- "to gain control of, gain power over" (source also of Sanskrit ksatram "dominion;" Greek krasthai "to acquire, get," kektesthai "to possess"). His wife is a shahbanu (from banu "lady"); his son is a shahzadah (from zadah "son").

checkmate (n.)

mid-14c., in chess, said of a king when it is in check and cannot escape it, from Old French eschec mat (Modern French échec et mat), which (with Spanish jaque y mate, Italian scacco-matto) is from Arabic shah mat "the king died" (see check (n.1)), which according to Barnhart is a misinterpretation of Persian mat "be astonished" as mata "to die," mat "he is dead." Hence Persian shah mat, if it is the ultimate source of the word, would be literally "the king is left helpless, the king is stumped."

exchequer (n.)

c. 1300, "a chessboard, checkerboard," from Anglo-French escheker "a chessboard," from Old French eschequier, from Medieval Latin scaccarium "chess board" (see check (n.1); also see checker (n.2)). The governmental sense of "department of the royal household concerned with the receipt, custody, and disbursement of revenue and with judicial determination of certain causes affecting crown revenues"  began under the Norman kings of England and refers to a cloth divided in squares that covered a table on which accounts of revenue were reckoned by using counters, and which reminded people of a chess board. Respelled with an -x- based on the mistaken belief that it originally was a Latin ex- word.

carte blanche (n.)

1707, "paper duly authenticated by a signature and otherwise blank, left to someone to be filled in at his discretion," French, literally "white paper," from carte (see card (n.1)) + blanche, from Old French blanc "white," a word of Germanic origin (see blank (adj.)). The figurative sense of "full discretionary power, unrestricted permission or authority in some manner" is from 1766. Compare the native blank check, used in the same figurative sense.

checker (n.1)

mid-13c., "game of chess (or checkers);" c. 1300, "a chessboard, board with 64 squares for playing chess or similar games; a set of chessmen" (all now obsolete), a shortening of Old French eschequier "chessboard; a game of chess" (Modern French échiquier), from Medieval Latin scaccarium "chess-board" (see check (n.1)).

The meaning "pattern of squares" is from late 14c. That of "a man or piece in the game of checkers" is from 1864. British prefers chequer. From late 14c. as "a checked design." The word had earlier senses of "table covered with checked cloth for counting" (late 12c. in Anglo-Latin), a sense also in Old French (see checker (n.2)).

checked (adj.)

early 15c., "ornamented with a checkered design," past-participle adjective from check (v.2).

checker (n.3)

"one who checks or controls," especially "one who collects money for others," 1867, agent noun from check (v.2).

check-book (n.)

also checkbook, cheque-book, "book containing blank checks on a bank," 1872, from check (n.1) in the financial sense + book (n.).

chess (n.)

very ancient game of skill with 32 pieces, played by two on a checkered board of 64 squares, 13c., from Old French esches "chessmen," plural of eschec "game of chess, chessboard; checkmate" (see check (n.1)), from the key move of the game. Modern French distinguishes échec "check, blow, rebuff, defeat," from plural échecs "chess."

The original word for "chess" is Sanskrit chaturanga "four members of an army" — elephants, horses, chariots, foot soldiers. This is preserved in Spanish ajedrez, from Arabic (al) shat-ranj, from Persian chatrang, from the Sanskrit word.

The chess pieces are the block alphabet which shapes thoughts; and these thoughts, although making a visual design on the chessboard, express their beauty abstractly, like a poem. [Marcel Duchamp, address to New York State Chess Association, Aug. 30, 1952]