Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


He seemed to make a strong effort to check some sudden impulse.

The three gentlemen parted most cordially from him after he had paid the check.

I never had occasion to check or to use an angry word to one of my party.

At least, they would go with caution down his trail after that first check.

She had held her inclinations in check with severe judgment.

It is easier to set forces of love or hate moving than to check them in motion.

"What an unearthly hour," he said, unable to check the yawns.

Still there was no check in the Black's gallop; he was like a devil that could go on forever and ever.

"I'll give you the check when I come back," Porter continued, speaking to Langdon.

Why he took a hundred he hardly knew; fate seemed writing the check.


c.1300, "a call in chess 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 cf. checkmate (n.)). Also c.1300 in a generalized sense, "harmful incident or event."

When the king is in check that player's choices are severely limited. Hence, "sudden stoppage" (early 14c.), and by c.1700 to "a token of ownership used to check against, and prevent, loss or theft" (surviving in hat check) and "a check against forgery or alteration," which gave the modern financial use of "bank check, money draft" (first recorded 1798 and often spelled cheque), probably influenced by exchequer. Checking account is attested from 1897, American English. Blank check in the figurative sense attested by 1849. Checks and balances is from 1782, perhaps originally suggesting machinery.


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.