check (n.1)

c. 1300, in chess, "a call noting one's move has placed his opponent's king (or another major piece) in immediate peril," from Old French eschequier "a check at chess" (also "chess board, chess set"), from eschec "the game of chess; chessboard; check; checkmate," from Vulgar Latin *scaccus, from Arabic shah, from Persian shah "king," the principal piece in a chess game (see shah; also compare checkmate (n.)). Also c. 1300 in a generalized sense, "harmful incident or event, hostile environment."

As "an exposure of the king to a direct attack from an opposing piece" early 15c. When his king is in check, a player's choices are severely limited. From that notion come the many extended senses: From the notion of "a sudden stoppage, hindrance, restraint" (1510s) comes that of "act or means of checking or restraining," also "means of detecting or exposing or preventing error; a check against forgery or alteration.

"Hence: "a counter-register as a token of ownership used to check against, and prevent, loss or theft" (as in hat check, etc.), 1812.  Hence also the financial use for "written order for money drawn on a bank, money draft" (1798, often spelled cheque), which was probably influenced by exchequer. Hence also "mark put against names or items on a list indicating they have been verified or otherwise examined" (by 1856).

From its use in chess the word has been widely transferred in French and English. In the sense-extension, the sb. and vb. have acted and reacted on each other, so that it is difficult to trace and exhibit the order in which special senses arose [OED]

Meaning "restaurant bill" is from 1869. Checking account is attested from 1897, American English. Blank check in the figurative sense is attested by 1849 (compare carte blanche). Checks and balances is from 1782, perhaps originally suggesting machinery.

check (v.1)

late 15c., in chess, "to attack the king; to put (the opponent's king) in check;" earlier (late 14c.) in a figurative sense, "to stop, arrest; block, barricade;" from check (n.1) or Old French eschequier, from the noun in French. A player in chess limits his opponent's ability to move when he places his opponent's king in check.

The other senses seem all to have developed from the chess sense, or from the noun: "To arrest, stop," then "to hold in restraint" (1620s); "to hold up or control" (an assertion, a person, etc.) by comparison with some authority or record (1690s); of baggage, etc., "to hand over in return for a check that serves as a means of identifying" (1846); "to note with a mark as having been examined, etc., mark off from a list" (1928).

Hence, to check off (1839); to check up (1883); to check in or out (in a hotel, of a library book, etc., 1909). To check out (something) "to look at, investigate" is from 1959. Related: Checked; checking.

check (v.2)

"mark like a chessboard, incise with a pattern of squares or checks," early 15c., from Old French eschequier (v.), from the noun in French (see check (n.1)). Related: Checking.

check (n.2)

"pattern of squares in alternating colors," c. 1400, short for checker (n.1). As a fabric having such a pattern from 1610s.

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Definitions of check
check (v.)
examine so as to determine accuracy, quality, or condition;
check the brakes
Synonyms: check up on / look into / check out / suss out / check over / go over / check into
check (v.)
make an examination or investigation;
check into the rumor
check the time of the class
check (v.)
be careful or certain to do something; make certain of something;
Synonyms: see / insure / see to it / ensure / control / ascertain / assure
check (v.)
lessen the intensity of; temper; hold in restraint; hold or keep within limits;
Synonyms: control / hold in / hold / contain / curb / moderate
check (v.)
stop for a moment, as if out of uncertainty or caution;
She checked for an instant and missed a step
check (v.)
put a check mark on or near or next to;
Please check each name on the list
Synonyms: check off / mark / mark off / tick off / tick
check (v.)
slow the growth or development of;
Synonyms: retard / delay
check (v.)
be verified or confirmed; pass inspection;
These stories don't check!
Synonyms: check out
check (v.)
be compatible, similar or consistent; coincide in their characteristics;
The handwriting checks with the signature on the check
Synonyms: match / fit / correspond / jibe / gibe / tally / agree
check (v.)
block or impede (a player from the opposing team) in ice hockey;
check (v.)
develop (a child's or animal's) behavior by instruction and practice; especially to teach self-control;
Synonyms: discipline / train / condition
check (v.)
consign for shipment on a vehicle;
check your luggage before boarding
check (v.)
hand over something to somebody as for temporary safekeeping;
check (v.)
abandon the intended prey, turn, and pursue an inferior prey;
check (v.)
stop in a chase especially when scent is lost;
The dog checked
check (v.)
mark into squares or draw squares on; draw crossed lines on;
Synonyms: checker / chequer
check (v.)
decline to initiate betting;
check (v.)
hold back, as of a danger or an enemy; check the expansion or influence of;
Synonyms: turn back / arrest / stop / contain / hold back
check (v.)
place into check;
He checked my kings
check (v.)
write out a check on a bank account;
check (v.)
find out, learn, or determine with certainty, usually by making an inquiry or other effort;
Synonyms: determine / find out / see / ascertain / watch / learn
check (v.)
verify by consulting a source or authority;
check the spelling of this word
check your facts
check (v.)
arrest the motion (of something) abruptly;
He checked the flow of water by shutting off the main valve
check (v.)
make cracks or chinks in;
The heat checked the paint
Synonyms: chink
check (v.)
become fractured; break or crack on the surface only;
Synonyms: crack / break
check (n.)
a written order directing a bank to pay money;
he paid all his bills by check
Synonyms: bank check / cheque
check (n.)
an appraisal of the state of affairs;
a check on its dependability under stress
Synonyms: assay
check (n.)
the bill in a restaurant;
he asked the waiter for the check
Synonyms: chit / tab
check (n.)
the state of inactivity following an interruption;
held them in check
Synonyms: arrest / halt / hitch / stay / stop / stoppage
check (n.)
additional proof that something that was believed (some fact or hypothesis or theory) is correct;
check (n.)
the act of inspecting or verifying;
they made a check of their equipment
the pilot ran through the check-out procedure
Synonyms: checkout / check-out procedure
check (n.)
a mark indicating that something has been noted or completed etc.;
as he called the role he put a check mark by each student's name
Synonyms: check mark / tick
check (n.)
something immaterial that interferes with or delays action or progress;
check (n.)
a mark left after a small piece has been chopped or broken off of something;
Synonyms: chip
check (n.)
a textile pattern of squares or crossed lines (resembling a checkerboard);
she wore a skirt with checks
check (n.)
the act of restraining power or action or limiting excess;
Synonyms: bridle / curb
check (n.)
obstructing an opponent in ice hockey;
check (n.)
(chess) a direct attack on an opponent's king;