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[chek-er] /ˈtʃɛk ər/
a small, usually red or black disk of plastic or wood, used in playing 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.
a checkered pattern.
one of the squares of a checkered pattern.
verb (used with object)
to mark like a checkerboard.
to diversify in color; variegate.
to diversify in character; subject to alternations:
Sorrow and joy have checkered his life.
Also, British, chequer.
Origin of checker1
1250-1300; Middle English checker chessboard < Anglo-French escheker (by aphesis), equivalent to eschec check1 + -er -er2


[chek-er] /ˈtʃɛk ər/
a person or thing that checks.
a cashier, as in a supermarket or cafeteria.
a person who checks coats, baggage, etc.
1525-35; check1 + -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for checkers
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He taught konane, a game commonly called "Hawaiian checkers," but more like the Japanese game of "Go."

    Legends of Gods and Ghosts (Hawaiian Mythology) W. D. (William Drake) Westervelt
  • He attempted a game of checkers and lost, which did not tend to make his temper any sweeter.

    The Depot Master Joseph C. Lincoln
  • There was an accountant, the store clerk, two checkers who tallied ore brought up each shift.

    Man of Many Minds E. Everett Evans
  • The game of checkers or chess is recommended by many authorities.

    Your Mind and How to Use It William Walker Atkinson
  • When the 196 King heard there was some one outside who could make the checkers he was not long in coming out.

    East of the Sun and West of the Moon Peter Christen Asbjrnsen
  • And Anne turned geranium-color and dropped a handful of checkers.

    Excuse Me! Rupert Hughes
British Dictionary definitions for checkers


(functioning as sing) (US & Canadian) a game for two players using a checkerboard and 12 checkers each. The object is to jump over and capture the opponent's pieces


noun, verb
the usual US spelling of chequer
(textiles) a variant spelling of chequer (sense 2)
(US & Canadian) any one of the 12 flat thick discs used by each player in the game of checkers Also called (in Britain and certain other countries) draughtsman


noun (mainly US & Canadian)
a cashier, esp in a supermarket
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
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Word Origin and History for checkers

U.S. name for the game known in Britain as draughts, 1712, from plural of checker (n.1). So called for the board on which the game is played.



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)).

"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.).


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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for checkers


Related Terms

play checkers

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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