Etymology
Advertisement

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."

checkmate (v.)

late 14c., figurative, "to thwart, frustrate;" see checkmate (n.). As a verb in chess, from 1789. Related: Checkmated; checkmating.

Others are reading

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of checkmate
1
checkmate (n.)
complete victory;
checkmate (n.)
a chess move constituting an inescapable and indefensible attack on the opponent's king;
Synonyms: mate
2
checkmate (v.)
place an opponent's king under an attack from which it cannot escape and thus ending the game;
Kasparov checkmated his opponent after only a few moves
Synonyms: mate
From wordnet.princeton.edu