Nearby words

  1. chechako,
  2. chechen,
  3. chechen republic,
  4. chechen-ingush autonomous republic,
  5. chechnya,
  6. check bit,
  7. check card,
  8. check digit,
  9. check in,
  10. check into


    check the helm, Nautical. to alter the helm of a turning vessel to keep the bow from swinging too far or too rapidly.
    in check, under restraint: He held his anger in check.

Origin of check

1275–1325; Middle English chek, chekke (at chess) < Old French eschec (by aphesis), variant of eschac < Arabic shāh check (at chess) < Persian: literally, king (an exclamation: i.e., look out, your king is threatened); see shah

Related formscheck·less, adjective

Synonym study

1. See stop. 2. Check, curb, repress, restrain refer to putting a control on movement, progress, action, etc. Check implies arresting suddenly, halting or causing to halt: to check a movement toward reform. Curb implies the use of a means such as a chain, strap, frame, wall, etc., to guide or control or to force to stay within definite limits: to curb a horse. Repress, formerly meaning to suppress, now implies preventing the action or development that might naturally be expected: to repress evidence of excitement. Restrain implies the use of force to put under control, or chiefly, to hold back: to restrain a person from violent acts. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for check on



to pause or cause to pause, esp abruptly
(tr) to restrain or controlto check one's tears
(tr) to slow the growth or progress of; retard
(tr) to rebuke or rebuff
(when intr, often foll by on or up on) to examine, investigate, or make an inquiry into (facts, a product, etc) for accuracy, quality, or progress, esp rapidly or informally
(tr) mainly US and Canadian to mark off so as to indicate approval, correctness, or preferenceUsual Brit word: tick
(intr often foll by with) mainly US and Canadian to correspond or agreethis report checks with the other
(tr) mainly US, Canadian and NZ to leave in or accept (clothing or property) for temporary custody
chess to place (an opponent's king) in check
(tr) to mark with a pattern of squares or crossed lines
to crack or cause to crack
agriculture short for checkrow
(tr) ice hockey to impede (an opponent)
(intr) hunting (of hounds) to pause in the pursuit of quarry while relocating a lost scent
(intr foll by at) falconry to change from one quarry to another while in flight
(intr) to decline the option of opening the betting in a round of poker
check the helm nautical to swing back the helm of a vessel to prevent it from turning too quickly or too far


a break in progress; stoppage
a restraint or rebuff
  1. a person or thing that restrains, halts, etc
  2. (as modifier)a check line
  1. a control, esp a rapid or informal one, designed to ensure accuracy, progress, etc
  2. (as modifier)a check list
a means or standard to ensure against fraud or error
the US word for tick 1
the US spelling of cheque
mainly US the bill in a restaurant
mainly US and Canadian a ticket or tag used to identify clothing or property deposited for custody
a pattern of squares or crossed lines
a single square in such a pattern
  1. fabric with a pattern of squares or crossed lines
  2. (as modifier)a check suit
chess the state or position of a king under direct attack, from which it must be moved or protected by another piece
a small crack, as one in veneer or one that occurs in timber during seasoning
part of the action of a piano that arrests the backward motion of a hammer after it has struck a string and holds it until the key is released
a chip or counter used in some card and gambling games
hunting a pause by the hounds in the pursuit of their quarry owing to loss of its scent
angling a ratchet fitted to a fishing reel to check the free running of the line
ice hockey the act of impeding an opponent with one's body or stick
in check under control or restraint


chess a call made to an opponent indicating that his king is in check
mainly US and Canadian an expression of agreement

Derived Formscheckable, adjective

Word Origin for check

C14: from Old French eschec a check at chess, hence, a pause (to verify something), via Arabic from Persian shāh the king! (in chess)

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 check on
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with check on

check on

Also, check up on ; check over. Investigate, scrutinize, or inspect, as in I'll check on the brakes and make sure they're all right, or We need to check up on his work from time to time, or Let's check over the books together. [Late 1800s] Also see check out, def. 6.


In addition to the idioms beginning with check

  • check in
  • check into
  • check off
  • check on
  • check out
  • check over
  • checks and balances
  • check up

also see:

  • blank check
  • claim check
  • in check
  • pick up (the check)
  • rain check
  • reality check
  • rubber check
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.