There are 2 main definitions of check in English:

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check 1

Pronunciation: /tʃɛk/


[with object]
1Examine (something) in order to determine its accuracy, quality, or condition, or to detect the presence of something: customs officers have the right to check all luggage [no object]: a simple blood test to check for anaemia
More example sentences
  • Dermatologists often check the mouth to determine a skin diagnosis or detect sexually transmitted diseases.
  • It is a good idea to have your contractor or consultant check the health and quality of the trees when they arrive on site.
  • He is alert, listens carefully to question after question and scans his answers as if to check them for accuracy.
study, investigate, research, probe, dissect, explore, look into, enquire into, go into, go over with a fine-tooth comb;
check out, test, monitor, review
informal give something a/the once-over, give something a look-see, give something a going-over
1.1Verify or establish to one’s satisfaction: phone us to check the availability of your chosen holiday [with clause]: she glanced over her shoulder to check that the door was shut
More example sentences
  • His raids followed the pattern of ringing the door bell to check no-one was home, then going around to the back of the property and forcing a window.
  • He checked a clock next to the bed. 3: 23.
  • She checked the hallway and determined it was empty.
make sure, confirm, verify, corroborate, validate, substantiate
1.2 (check something against) Verify the accuracy of something by comparing it with (something else): keep your receipt to check against your statement
More example sentences
  • The information is checked against databases to verify documents and flag names that appear on terrorist or law enforcement watch lists.
  • Keep your receipts to check against your monthly statements so that you can report any transactions you don't recognise;
  • Historical facts cannot be verified, but only checked against other subjective accounts.
1.3 [no object] Agree or correspond when compared.
Example sentences
  • If there's finger-prints on it, and yours don't check, that'll let you out.
1.4 informal Look at; take notice of: check the remix
More example sentences
  • Also, do you reply to the e-mails directly or should I periodically check the website?
  • Jason once again reminds me why it's worth checking his site every day.
  • Azalea even checks the news sites right then.
take note of
informal have a gander at, have a squint at, get a load of
British informal take a dekko at, have a butcher's at, take a shufti at, clock
North American informal eyeball
2Stop or slow the progress of (something, typically something undesirable): efforts were made to check the disease
More example sentences
  • Seafarers believe that the Government has to take drastic steps to check the flow of workers from Indian ships to foreign vessels.
  • There is no one who can stop or check the world's only superpower.
  • He wanted to check the bleeding, but he knew better than to stop applying pressure.
halt, stop, arrest, bring to a standstill, cut short;
bar, obstruct, hamper, impede, inhibit, frustrate, foil, thwart, stand in the way of, prevent, curb, block, stall, hold up, interfere with, retard, delay, slow down, brake, put a brake on;
archaic stay
2.1Curb or control (one’s feelings or reaction): he learned to check his excitement
More example sentences
  • Athene intervenes to check his urge to kill Agamemnon on the spot, and he withdraws in a sulk from the fighting.
  • Kate licked her lips and tried to check her anger.
  • Marcus remained silent while his temple pulsed and he checked his anger.
2.2 Ice Hockey Hamper or neutralize (an opponent) with one’s body or stick.
Example sentences
  • And free-agent pickup Mike Sillinger will check the opponent's top line like nobody's business.
  • For some reason, I always had good luck checking Richard.
  • Someone had checked me into the boards during our Finals series with the Edmonton Oilers.
2.3 [no object] (check against) Provide a means of preventing: processes to check against deterioration in the quality of the data held
More example sentences
  • In order to check against any kind of bias in the ICT's methodology, I asked their researcher to apply it to a more recent and highly publicized incident.
  • To check against effects of antibiotics on egg hatch rate, the compatibility of males from uninfected lines with infected and uninfected females was tested.
  • He has been at pains to assure a sceptical public of various other safeguards to check against the rampant abuses of the disinvestment process.
3North American (Of a passenger) consign (baggage) to the care of the transport provider with whom they are travelling: I checked my bag and got my boarding pass
More example sentences
  • Althea had checked her two bags, but she took her three tennis rackets with her.
  • You can use a credit card to get your boarding pass if you haven't gotten it online and then you can proceed directly to the gate or to the security line, cutting down that whole length of time you got to stand there and check your bags and stuff.
  • To make standing in long lines more palatable, the airport will bring in local bands to entertain passengers in the evenings of Dec. 6 - 24 while they wait to check luggage or wind their way through security.
3.1Deposit (a coat, bag, or other item) for temporary safekeeping in the cloakroom of a restaurant, theatre, etc. the drinks weren’t expensive and there’s no cover charge but you do have to check your coat for $3.00
More example sentences
  • We came inside with wet umbrellas and checked them with the coat check.
  • The Ikea has a place to check your coat, and they give you fancy shopping carts.
  • We decided not to check our coats.
4Mark or click on (a box) in order to select a particular option on a form, questionnaire, etc. users who want privacy should check the box that prevents your files from being shared
More example sentences
  • Exactly what did you think you were doing when you checked the box next to Liberal?
  • Checking the box will invert the colours of web pages, making them much easier on the eyes.
  • Pick your provider, type in your domain name and credentials, then check the Enable box in the upper-right corner.
5 Chess Move a piece or pawn to a square where it attacks (the opposing king): he moves his knight to check my king again
More example sentences
  • Remember: when you check a King with your Rook, you always like to have as much distance between your Rook and the enemy King as possible.
  • The best way is to check your opponent's King with the obstructing piece, which forces a response.
  • If you intend to check the enemy King, try to put as much distance between your Rook and his King as possible.
6 [no object] (In poker) choose not to make a bet when called upon, allowing another player to do so instead.
Example sentences
  • Each player may check, bet, call, or raise as usual, staking the required amount for each card they hold.
  • If the first player checks, the next player can bet or check, and so on clockwise around the table.
  • Successful players also know that it can be a big mistake to bet when two or three players have checked.
7 [no object] (Of a hound) pause to make sure of or regain a scent.
Example sentences
  • At last they struck upon the scent of the blood, and they checked for a moment to make sure.
7.1(Of a trained hawk) abandon the intended quarry and fly after other prey.


1An examination to test or ascertain accuracy, quality, or satisfactory condition: a campaign calling for regular checks on gas appliances a health check
More example sentences
  • Tests and quality checks must be carried out before the satellite can be used, but the launch will be on schedule, he said.
  • The mark is only awarded to organisations that pass regular quality checks.
  • We would recommend that all elderly drivers have regular health checks.
2A stopping or slowing of progress: there was no check to the expansion of the market
More example sentences
  • The check to expansion is sharp and is intensified by the excesses inevitably associated with periods of over-rapid expansion.
  • The first serious check to the spread of Arabic took place in the ninth century.
  • He shows that a slab of the oceanic lithosphere beneath the west coast of America is sinking, almost without check, through the Earth's upper mantle and down into the lower mantle.
2.1A means of control or restraint: a permanent check upon the growth or abuse of central authority
More example sentences
  • I fully agree with you, though, that the unelected Eurocrats in Brussels need to be subject to democratic checks and controls sooner rather than later!
  • The reason there are prosecutions proceeding is that the statutory checks and controls on that situation cannot be exercised.
  • The problem is the lack of checks and controls on this system.
2.2 Ice Hockey An act of hampering or neutralizing an opponent with one’s body or stick.
Example sentences
  • ‘You know Todd is going to finish his checks,’ says Red Wings forward Doug Brown.
  • In the last game he played before this season, Lindros was knocked unconscious by a flying check from the Devils' Scott Stevens.
  • He always finishes his checks and you hate playing against guys like that, rather than a tough guy who just knows how to fight.
2.3A temporary loss of the scent in hunting.
Example sentences
  • The stag sped six miles on end without halt or hindrance, and the hounds ran him without a check.
2.4 Falconry The movement made by a hawk when it abandons its intended quarry and pursues other prey.
3 Chess A move by which a piece or pawn directly attacks the opponent’s king and by which the king may be checkmated.
Example sentences
  • A move that is neither a capture, a check nor a direct attack.
  • The idea of blocking checks by using the pawn as cover is a big one, and Black must do his best to avoid this pitfall.
  • The idea is to use the Rook to shelter its King from upcoming checks.
4 US spelling of cheque.
Example sentences
  • Responsible persons may also include those who sign checks for the gallery or who have the authority to decide how gallery funds are spent.
  • She used the name Lizzie only when signing checks.
  • Please take a moment to write a check or phone in a contribution.
4.1North American The bill in a restaurant: let’s get the check
More example sentences
  • Geoff looked at the check, threw some bills on the table, and taking her hand led her from the restaurant.
  • We got our bill, paid the check, and made our way enthusiastically to Billy's Bakery.
  • This software can analyze a restaurant's checks and produce reports on what wines are ordered with what entrées.
bill, account, invoice, statement, list of charges, tally;
amount due
informal the damage
North American informal tab
British informal, dated shot
archaic reckoning, score
5 (also baggage or luggage check) A token of identification for left luggage.
6A counter used as a stake in a gambling game.
Example sentences
  • The gambling checks weren't worth anything, not until you cashed them at the casino cage.
  • In one whirl of frantic movement, I scooped up every single check in sight.
  • There were checks on the big eight, the pass line, the come, behind the four, in the field.
7 (also check mark) North American term for tick1 (sense 1 of the noun).
Example sentences
  • As she worked her way down the list, Jordan put checks by all the items that the company is already doing.
  • Those are all checks in the plus column, but frankly, his material was lacking.
8A part of a piano which catches the hammer and prevents it retouching the strings.
9A crack or flaw in timber.
Example sentences
  • Sanded and rough sawn plywood will develop surface checks, especially when exposed to moisture and sunlight.
  • The second coat of penetrating stain often lasts longer since it penetrates into small surface checks which open up as wood weathers.


1 informal, chiefly North American Expressing assent or agreement.
Example sentences
  • Great design … check. Wide selection … check.
  • ‘Tell her I've found out all she wants to know.’ ‘Check.’
  • ‘Hey, what do you say we go to get some beer’? ‘Check.’
2Used by a chess player to announce that the opponent’s king has been placed in check.
Example sentences
  • McDonnell spoke no French, Annette spoke no English, and so almost the only word that passed between them in four months was ‘check’.
  • You do not have to announce ‘check’ when making an attack on the King.



in check

1Under control: a way of keeping inflation in check
More example sentences
  • The move is designed to keep house price inflation and borrowing in check.
  • It is about ensuring that industry has a competitive cost base and that price inflation is kept in check.
  • Competition from imported goods may keep inflation in check, some economists say.
curb, restrain, hold back, keep under control, keep a tight rein on, bridle, rein in, rein back;
2 Chess (Of a king) directly attacked by an opponent’s piece or pawn; (of a player) having the king in this position.
Example sentences
  • If a player leaves his king in check he makes an illegal move.
  • Stalemate is when the player to move isn't in check, but none of his pieces can move.
  • If she moved the rook instead, I would capture a pawn, and place her king in check.

keep a check on

Monitor: keep a regular check on your score
More example sentences
  • She said: ‘We will be keeping a check on who is going where so we can monitor movement and make sure we don't get a recurrence of the disease.’
  • He suggested keeping a check on how employees dealt with the public - perhaps by pretending to be a customer.
  • On the wet days they'd sit in my shop and one would look out of one window and the other out of the opposite window to keep a check on what was going on.

Phrasal verbs


check in

Arrive and register at a hotel or airport: you must check in at least one hour before take-off
More example sentences
  • He then led us to a very nice hotel where we were checked in and shown to our rooms.
  • We stopped at the main desk of the dingy motel and waited while Jimmy registered and checked us in.
  • Sarah, one of the delightful reception staff, will check you in and whisk you off by hotel buggy to your room.
report, report one's arrival, record one's arrival, book oneself in, book in, enrol, register

check someone in

Register someone upon their arrival at a hotel or airport: they check in the passengers
More example sentences
  • Kate drove across the city to a hotel and checked herself in.
  • Every day, hundreds of thousands of airline customers check themselves in, cheerfully doing work that used to be done by thousands of airline ticket agents.
  • All she wants to do is go to work, welcome people, check them in, then return to her novel until the next guest walks through the door.

check something in

(Of a passenger) consign baggage to the care of the transport provider with whom they are travelling: I got a taxi to the airport and checked my bags in
More example sentences
  • Imagine how much more you'd ride if you could quickly fold your bike in half, stash it in your trunk, and even check it in as regular airline baggage.
  • Bewildered tourists check their baggage in at the airline desks, and are then ordered back towards the main exit to join the queue.
  • I won't be checking any baggage in, so there won't be any baggage hall reclaim horrors to endure.
3.1Deposit a coat, bag, or other item for temporary safekeeping in the cloakroom of a restaurant, theatre, etc. he was checking in his coat on the second floor when people started rushing past him
More example sentences
  • Be prepared for the sobering sight of guns being checked in alongside coats in the cloakrooms.
  • In each of these venues you'll have wanted to check in your coat the moment you got through the door.
  • She had just checked her coat in and met her friends in the bar when her mobile phone rang.

check into

Register one’s arrival at (a hotel): you’ll check into the luxurious Basle Hilton Hotel
More example sentences
  • On the first day, travellers can check into their hotel after their arrival.
  • After checking into my hotel, I decided to drop by the registration tent for some festival material to get myself oriented.
  • Arriving in Kuwait City in the late afternoon, he checks into his hotel, walks around Kuwait City, and then goes to bed.

check something off

chiefly North American Tick or otherwise mark an item on a list to show that it has been dealt with: check off each assignment as you complete it
More example sentences
  • These things are checked off like supermarket lists in their heads.
  • I mean, I have been checking things off my list… but there are far more important things to get done that just have not been getting my attention.
  • I look as if I'm checking items off my shopping list or consulting my schedule.

check on

1Verify, ascertain, or monitor the state or condition of: the doctor had come to check on his patient
More example sentences
  • She called 999 and stayed with her dad, Chris, checking on his condition as the emergency operator talked her through the situation.
  • The two divers were looking for whale bones, and checking on the condition of previously uncovered wrecks.
  • Ms Butler was recovering in her cottage near Croke Park yesterday as friends and neighbours checked on her condition.
2 another way of saying check up on.
Example sentences
  • I was checking on some information.
  • They told him they were checking on the history of a Michael Rourke who had left the town in 1913.
  • I checked on this and learned the basic principles of the oath taken by police officers in Japan and America are about the same.

check out

1Settle one’s hotel bill before leaving: don’t forget to hand in your room key when you check out
More example sentences
  • They said they would be checking out of the hotel that day.
  • We woke up early in the morning and checked out of the hotel.
  • The veteran rocker had checked out of the hotel after the Manhattan show, but left behind a piece of luggage, police said.
leave, vacate, depart from, exit from, take one's leave from;
pay the bill, pay up, settle up
1.1North American informal Die.
Example sentences
  • That first weekend I almost checked out - the nurses didn't know if I was going to make it or not.
  • ‘Julie’, she said, ‘this is it, I'm checking out.’
2Prove to be true or correct: his claims simply did not check out
More example sentences
  • When his other claims did not check out, it began to look like his photographs were the product of a hoax.
  • Critics, however, began investigating his data and found that a number of his claims did not check out.

check someone/thing out

1Establish the truth or inform oneself about someone or something: they decided to go and check out a local restaurant
More example sentences
  • These explanations will be checked out to establish whether or not they are genuine.
  • I've checked it out with some local journalists.
  • I checked it out and did some research before deciding to buy one for my business in Limerick.
assess, weigh up, analyse, evaluate;
informal suss out, recce, give something a/the once-over, give something a going-over
North American informal scope out
rare anatomize
1.1Look at; take notice of: do check out his website check out the chick in the leopardskin top
More example sentences
  • I've been checking out your courses which I'm really interested in.
  • They kept on checking out different places searching for something.
  • I check out this morning's Hindustan Times which is a good reflection the Delhi / UP / Punjab mindset.
2 (check something out) chiefly North American Enter the price of goods in a supermarket into a cash machine: cashiers are told they must smile as they check out each item and present the bill
2.1Register something as having been borrowed.
Example sentences
  • Maybe they don't have much disposable income, and if they didn't download songs they'd borrow CDs from their friends or check them out of the library.
  • I borrowed the book, so can't check it out again just now.
  • A parent library is available, and books and movies can be checked out.

check something over

Inspect or examine something thoroughly: each written piece has been checked over for errors
More example sentences
  • Once a year you should take your trailer to a reputable place for them to check it over and do any repairs that might be necessary.
  • The store isolated the whole fleet of trolleys while they were checked over by a health and safety officer to make sure the accident was an isolated incident.
  • Mr Young was taken to Bradford Royal Infirmary where his head injuries were checked over.

check through

Inspect or examine thoroughly: I checked through my notes
More example sentences
  • I was expecting a thorough search so I checked through my things.
  • Constance was busy preparing for her wedding, checking through the guest list, going over her dowries, and rehearsing four times in one week.
  • A spokeswoman said: ‘It is still a case of getting some last-second details from some of the bidders and checking through those bids.’

check up on

Investigate in order to establish the truth about or accuracy of: Don called me to check up on some facts
More example sentences
  • From a quick browse through his recent archive too, it's one that will be added to the list to check up on regularly.
  • Record numbers of parents have recruited private investigators to check up on their tearaway teenagers.
  • The morning passed uneventfully as Liz worked through and paid bills, checked up on their investments, and answered all her email.



Example sentences
  • They would require full, checkable, references and have to undergo police, ID and qualification checks and be checked against a Government blacklist when they reached England.
  • This is about true identity, being known, being checkable, being used in order to ensure we know who is in the country, what they're entitled to and whether they're up to no good.
  • What I don't get is when people lie over extremely stupid, extremely minor issues that are easily checkable and only serve to make the liar look like an idiot.


Middle English (originally as used in the game of chess): the noun and exclamation from Old French eschec, from medieval Latin scaccus, via Arabic from Persian šāh 'king'; the verb from Old French eschequier 'play chess, put in check'. The sense 'stop or control' arose from the use in chess, and led (in the late 17th century) to 'examine the accuracy of'.

  • Chess has given the word check its oldest meanings. It came into English via Old French eschec from Persian šāh ‘king’ (the origin of shah, as in the Shah of Iran), and was first used by chess players to announce that the opponent's king had been placed under attack. From there the meaning gradually broadened to ‘to stop, restrain, or control’ and ‘to examine the accuracy of’. A squared pattern is described as checked or a check (Late Middle English) because of the appearance of a chessboard. Checkmate derives from Persian šāh māt, ‘the king is dead’. Chess (Middle English) itself came into English during the 12th century from Old French eschec, or rather its plural form, esches, but probably goes back ultimately to the ancient Indian language Sanskrit. The game seems to have begun in India or China around the 6th century ad and to have been adopted in Persia, spreading to the West through the Arabs. The game was popular in medieval England. See also exchequer.

Words that rhyme with check

beck, bedeck, cheque, Chiang Kai-shek, crosscheck, Czech, deck, dreck, exec, fleck, heck, hitech, keck, lek, neck, peck, Québec, rec, reck, sec, sneck, spec, speck, spot-check, tec, tech, Toulouse-Lautrec, trek, wreck

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Line breaks: check

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There are 2 main definitions of check in English:

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check 2

Pronunciation: /tʃɛk/


1A pattern of small squares: a fine black-and-white check
More example sentences
  • This year, ancient Italian men are wearing generously cut worsted suits, either with waistcoat or cardigan, in natural earth colours with muted checks.
  • They vary from simple patterns, such as alternating checks, triangles, or diamonds, to complex combined motifs.
  • Bigger checks give an illusion of volume and suit thinner men while guys with heavier build look great in stripes, smaller checks etc.
1.1A garment or fabric with a pattern of small squares: on Wednesdays he wore the small check
More example sentences
  • Use chintz, damask and toiles along with classic stripes, checks and textured plain fabrics.
  • Perhaps she likes 80s inspired punk fabrics, or checks or gingham or something else all together.
  • The shirt range consists of solids in twills, poplins, structures, linens and checks.


Having a checked pattern: a blue check T-shirt
More example sentences
  • But there's something youthful about him and it isn't just his Beatle cut and jazzy check shirt.
  • A short grey check umbrella was lost from a bike basket on Friday, December 13.
  • Mostly shot in vacant cafés with check tablecloths and the absence of daylight, this is a decidedly mixed bunch.


Late Middle English: probably from chequer (sense 1 of the noun).

  • Chess has given the word check its oldest meanings. It came into English via Old French eschec from Persian šāh ‘king’ (the origin of shah, as in the Shah of Iran), and was first used by chess players to announce that the opponent's king had been placed under attack. From there the meaning gradually broadened to ‘to stop, restrain, or control’ and ‘to examine the accuracy of’. A squared pattern is described as checked or a check (Late Middle English) because of the appearance of a chessboard. Checkmate derives from Persian šāh māt, ‘the king is dead’. Chess (Middle English) itself came into English during the 12th century from Old French eschec, or rather its plural form, esches, but probably goes back ultimately to the ancient Indian language Sanskrit. The game seems to have begun in India or China around the 6th century ad and to have been adopted in Persia, spreading to the West through the Arabs. The game was popular in medieval England. See also exchequer.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: check

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