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checkered (adj.)

late 14c., "marked with squares or checks," past-participle adjective from checker (v.). Checkered past (1831) is from a figurative use: "variegated with different qualities or events, having a character both good and bad."

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Definitions of checkered from WordNet

checkered (adj.)
patterned with alternating squares of color;
Synonyms: checked / chequered
checkered (adj.)
marked by changeable fortune;
a checkered business career
From wordnet.princeton.edu