Definition of checkmate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈCHekˌmāt/


1 Chess A check from which a king cannot escape.
Example sentences
  • To move her bishop to strike his knight would leave the king open on two sides without escape, a checkmate.
  • After that, Leon would be able to put him into a checkmate.
  • Can I now just force checkmate with a sequence of checks?
1.1 [as exclamation] (By a player) announcing that the opponent’s king is in the position of checkmate.
1.2A final defeat or deadlock: if the rebel forces succeed in cutting off the road, they will have achieved checkmate
More example sentences
  • This movement signals a departure from totalitarian politics in the country that have smothered civil life, made the state a facade and held society in checkmate with constant threats of civil war and external enemies.
  • Tomorrow, it's a high stakes game of chess where a checkmate means you might be checked out of Hollywood.
  • With its elegiac note of a civilisation falling apart while two old men continue their moves toward checkmate, the story is a luminous exploration of a culture that is both realisable yet tantalisingly intangible.


[with object] Chess
1Put into checkmate.
Example sentences
  • I had one middle-aged student who stubbornly refused to castle, saying that his King would be trapped in the corner and checkmated.
  • Once Matt checkmated him, and twice Rick stalemated him.
  • I was checkmated on move 27; Mr. Kasparov had moved on to examine the position on the board to my left before I'd even realized that the game was over.
1.1Defeat or frustrate totally: the use of technology to checkmate present missile technology
More example sentences
  • Their refusal means that Congress members are checkmated from mentioning such matters in public.
  • I really don't believe he will checkmate people.
  • How in the world do we ever expect to win this war, and, if the war is not winnable in the traditional sense, how do we contain or checkmate this enemy?


Middle English: from Old French eschec mat, from Arabic šāh māta, from Persian šāh manad 'the king is helpless'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: check·mate

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