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checkered

[chek-erd]
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adjective
  1. marked by numerous and various shifts or changes; variegated: a checkered career.
  2. marked by dubious episodes; suspect in character or quality: a checkered past.
  3. marked with squares: a checkered fabric.
  4. diversified in color; alternately light and shadowed: the checkered shade beneath trees.

Origin of checkered

1350–1400; Middle English. See checker1, -ed2
Related formsun·check·ered, adjective

Synonyms

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1. varied, uneven, irregular, seesaw.

checker1

[chek-er]
noun
  1. a small, usually red or black disk of plastic or wood, used in playing checkers.
  2. checkers,
    1. Also called, British, draughts.(used with a singular verb)a game played by two persons, each with 12 playing pieces, on a checkerboard.
    2. (in a regenerative furnace) loosely stacked brickwork through which furnace gases and incoming air are passed in turn, so that the heat of the exhaust is absorbed and later transferred to the incoming air.
  3. a checkered pattern.
  4. one of the squares of a checkered pattern.
verb (used with object)
  1. to mark like a checkerboard.
  2. to diversify in color; variegate.
  3. to diversify in character; subject to alternations: Sorrow and joy have checkered his life.
Also British, che·quer.

Origin of checker1

1250–1300; Middle English checker chessboard < Anglo-French escheker (by aphesis), equivalent to eschec check1 + -er -er2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for checkered

checker1

noun, verb
  1. the usual US spelling of chequer
noun
  1. textiles a variant spelling of chequer (def. 2)
  2. US and Canadian any one of the 12 flat thick discs used by each player in the game of checkersAlso called (in Britain and certain other countries): draughtsman

checker2

noun mainly US and Canadian
  1. a cashier, esp in a supermarket
  2. an attendant in a cloakroom, left-luggage office, etc
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for checkered

adj.

late 14c., past participle adjective from checker (v.). Checkered past attested by 1831.

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" a shortening of Old French eschequier "chessboard; a game of chess," from Medieval Latin scaccarium (see check (n.)).

Meaning "pattern of squares" is late 14c. Meaning "a man or marker 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)).

checker

v.

"to ornament with a checked or chackered design," late 14c. (implied in checkered), from Old French eschequeré and from checker (n.1). Related: Checkering.

checker

n.2

"table covered with a checked cloth," specialized sense of checker (n.1), late 14c. (in Anglo-Latin from c.1300); especially a table for counting money or keeping accounts (revenue reckoned with counters); later extended to "the fiscal department of the English Crown; the Exchequer (mid-14c.; in Anglo-Latin from late 12c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper