Main definitions of check in English

: check1check2



  • 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’
    • ‘Files are checked for image quality, size and layout (but not necessarily color).’
    • ‘We do all our best to maintain accuracy and to check details wherever possible, but we cannot be held liable for any inaccuracies which may arise.’
    • ‘A welcome hiatus in proceedings gives me a chance to check my emails.’
    • ‘He added that estate agents had no responsibility for checking the condition properties are left in.’
    • ‘Pregnant females were checked daily for the presence of a litter, so the age of all animals and specimens is known to within 1 day.’
    • ‘In fact, I gave the book to my father to check it for accuracy.’
    • ‘It is a good idea to have your contractor or consultant check the health and quality of the trees when they arrive on site.’
    • ‘However a hydrologist would need to visit the island to check the volume and quality of water in the caves first.’
    • ‘No formal risk assessment had ever been carried out on river walks by the teachers and they had not checked the weather conditions prior to the activity.’
    • ‘In this way the operator can check field conditions before irrigation.’
    • ‘Then the muscles are checked to determine whether the substance has had any negative effect.’
    • ‘A second native-speaker of each target language checked each translation for accuracy.’
    • ‘Injuries are scored with the 1990 revision of the abbreviated injury scale, and all scoring is checked centrally to ensure accuracy and consistency.’
    • ‘When completed, a random sample of returned questionnaires was checked to ensure accuracy of data entry.’
    • ‘He is alert, listens carefully to question after question and scans his answers as if to check them for accuracy.’
    • ‘It is therefore very important that that you check the forms for accuracy and notify your custodian of any discrepancies.’
    • ‘The research was inspired after nightclubs in South America started asking for mobiles to be checked at the door - and it turned out that a large number of them were fake.’
    • ‘Dermatologists often check the mouth to determine a skin diagnosis or detect sexually transmitted diseases.’
    • ‘He has personally vetted them, checking them for technical quality, even spent time on the phone with producers.’
    • ‘As data is collected, the weather officer checks it for accuracy and sends it to the center through satellite downlink every 30 seconds.’
    examine, inspect, look at, look over, scrutinize, scan, survey
    View synonyms
    1. 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’
      • ‘Never reveal details over the telephone without checking or establishing the caller's identity, and never disclose online passwords or card PINs.’
      • ‘The board can also require the offender to be subject to electronic monitoring to check compliance with these conditions.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Second, income tax records must be checked to verify that these vendors have been submitting returns and paying taxes.’
      • ‘She checked the hallway and determined it was empty.’
      • ‘That was when I discovered he'd really come back to check that Harry had come home and was safe.’
      • ‘Louise looked around hurriedly, checking to make sure that Nurse Sommers was, indeed, gone.’
      • ‘Before placing the electrodes on a patient, a nurse should check that the expiration date on the package has not passed.’
      • ‘The first step is to check the terms and conditions of your existing mortgage.’
      • ‘She went down the row of doors methodically checking each one.’
      • ‘The following information I am providing can be confirmed and checked by simple credit/background checks.’
      • ‘For information about broadcast times and availability, check the Market Journal program schedule.’
      • ‘He checked a clock next to the bed. 3: 23.’
      • ‘It is more important than ever these days to check the terms and conditions on new cards before signing on the dotted line.’
      • ‘Team captains should check their Campus Rec web pages for the dates, times and locations of their captain's meeting.’
      • ‘She opened the door to check no-one was about to walk in on them.’
      • ‘So many pet lovers complain when motorists knock over their pets and don't have the common decency to stop and check if the animal is all right.’
      • ‘Then I checked my own booking confirmation for New York.’
      • ‘Availability of places at the new nursery can be checked by calling Jo Short.’
      • ‘The journey was made more difficult by the fact that he kept glancing back in the rear view mirror to check that Emma was still following.’
      make sure, confirm, verify, corroborate, validate, substantiate
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2Verify the accuracy of something by comparing it with (something else)
      ‘keep your receipt to check against your statement’
      • ‘Historical facts cannot be verified, but only checked against other subjective accounts.’
      • ‘Statements from the two figures must be checked against the facts.’
      • ‘The information is checked against databases to verify documents and flag names that appear on terrorist or law enforcement watch lists.’
      • ‘A programme of ‘preferred agencies’ has also been instituted, and agency nurses have a personal identification number which can be checked against qualifications.’
      • ‘There are also lists of names and phone numbers that U.S. intelligence officials were checking against lists of known terrorists.’
      • ‘New cases are checked against existing cases in the registry to prevent duplicate entries.’
      • ‘Keep your receipts to check against your monthly statements so that you can report any transactions you don't recognise;’
      • ‘Their names are checked against a secret Department for Education and Skills dossier of people convicted or suspected of child abuse, as well as other criminal records.’
      • ‘Besides using one or more of these criminal history checking tools, all fulltime and seasonal staff names should be checked against the State Child Abuser and Sex Abuser Registry.’
      • ‘All containers are verified for weight and checked against the team's manifest.’
      • ‘It will need simple but accurate budgets and forecasts to check against actual income and expenditure.’
      • ‘They make it possible for the reader to believe in the accuracy of descriptions he cannot check against his own surroundings.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Families will be given the opportunity to provide blood for DNA testing to check against samples taken from bodies found in mass graves.’
      • ‘Over the course of the day, in 2 hour increments, the number of voters having signed in was counted, and the voter count checked against the vote count on the machines.’
      • ‘The DNA from the swab will be checked against a national database and if a match is found the offender will be tracked down and prosecuted.’
      • ‘But the accuracy of Canaletto's paintings has been checked against present-day photographs.’
      • ‘Many of those defrauded had failed to notice any problem, so it is recommended that consumers keep regular tabs on transactions (and destroy receipts after they've been checked against bills).’
      • ‘When a statement is formulated, it is checked against the totality of existing statements.’
      • ‘And clearly, whatever he tells us will have to be checked against other people's recollection and intelligence that is collected on the ground.’
    3. 1.3[no object]Agree or correspond when compared.
      • ‘If there's finger-prints on it, and yours don't check, that'll let you out.’
    4. 1.4informal Look at; take notice of.
      ‘check the remix’
      • ‘Also, do you reply to the e-mails directly or should I periodically check the website?’
      • ‘Azalea even checks the news sites right then.’
      • ‘I checked at my watch to see the time displayed on it: 7:31 pm.’
      • ‘I looked out and checked at what Kate was doing.’
      • ‘Jason once again reminds me why it's worth checking his site every day.’
      look at, observe, survey, gaze at, regard, inspect, contemplate
      View synonyms
  • 2Stop or slow the progress of (something, typically something undesirable)

    ‘efforts were made to check the disease’
    • ‘As water gushes down, its speed should be checked, slowly halted and made to glide and then its absorption should be facilitated.’
    • ‘But there have been no stringent checks of diesel quality to check emission levels as in the West, he says.’
    • ‘In England, fertility was checked by the late seventeenth-century increase in the age at which women married and in the proportion of both sexes who never married.’
    • ‘The campaign is a reflection of the government's intention to substitute domestic products for imported products and thereby to check the flow of imports from other Member States.’
    • ‘The spread of the disease can be checked to a large extent if infected persons are not allowed to come into contact with others and if steps are taken to prevent the contamination of water and food.’
    • ‘He wanted to check the bleeding, but he knew better than to stop applying pressure.’
    • ‘With an increasing number of positive people coming out together to improve their quality of life, the frightening rapidity of the disease can perhaps be checked.’
    • ‘If terrorism is to be checked, the ground that breeds it must not be watered.’
    • ‘The electoral parties have a task to curb, check and eliminate communalism.’
    • ‘In the aftermath of the Revolution, the Founders had struggled to construct a government that would check the rise of extreme elements, whether religious or secular.’
    • ‘The enemy would be checked by a series of hinterland fortifications while the field army closed in.’
    • ‘Seafarers believe that the Government has to take drastic steps to check the flow of workers from Indian ships to foreign vessels.’
    • ‘City are out to underline their promotion credentials to a national audience tomorrow by checking Hartlepool United's runaway progress to the Division Three title.’
    • ‘What can the police do to check the increase in violence?’
    • ‘Even the greatest obstacles, whether of language or customs or religion, have not been able to check that triumphal progress.’
    • ‘Although the Swedes were far from defeated, their seemingly unstoppable progress had been checked.’
    • ‘There is no one who can stop or check the world's only superpower.’
    • ‘Since then, the general level has been more stable, though very high, but as fast as one type of crime is checked another type increases.’
    • ‘People must be aware of the nature of the disease, the symptoms, the way in which it is to be checked and the method of controlling transmission.’
    • ‘Thus it is clear that if governments are determined to curb communal violence it can be effectively checked.’
    halt, stop, arrest, bring to a standstill, cut short
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Curb or control (one's feelings or reaction)
      ‘he learned to check his excitement’
      • ‘She checked her desire to glare and instead greeted them warmly.’
      • ‘Marcus remained silent while his temple pulsed and he checked his anger.’
      • ‘Hurriedly Violet checked the laugh bubbling up in her throat and asked Alice for her opinion.’
      • ‘Kate licked her lips and tried to check her anger.’
      • ‘From here on, reaction stiffened, although checked by the ministry for some years.’
      • ‘We must check our urge to impose our opinions on what Jack goes through, because as with all art, what it means depends on how you look at it.’
      • ‘He seems incapable of checking his rage and increasingly bent on causing real harm to others.’
      • ‘I was startled when Cassie described almost smashing a vase over Brian's head because he was irritating her, but she successfully checked her violent reaction.’
      • ‘Athene intervenes to check his urge to kill Agamemnon on the spot, and he withdraws in a sulk from the fighting.’
      • ‘Ann couldn't check a half-cry of laughter as she said, ‘How kind of you to remember my existence’.’
      suppress, repress, restrain, contain, control, curb, rein in, bridle, smother, muffle, stifle, keep in check, hold back, swallow, choke back, fight back, bite back, bottle up
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2Ice Hockey Hamper or neutralize (an opponent) with one's body or stick.
      • ‘I have been told in so many words that if a former teammate gets checked, then that player will retaliate.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There will be guys really after him, checking him hard game in and game out.’
      • ‘The player who shot it in is going to be checked, probably into the boards.’
      • ‘Someone had checked me into the boards during our Finals series with the Edmonton Oilers.’
    3. 2.3[no object]Provide a means of preventing.
      ‘processes to check against deterioration in the quality of the data held’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He has been at pains to assure a sceptical public of various other safeguards to check against the rampant abuses of the disinvestment process.’
      • ‘To check against effects of antibiotics on egg hatch rate, the compatibility of males from uninfected lines with infected and uninfected females was tested.’
  • 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’
    • ‘Of course, you can avoid most of the hassle of airports by not checking or carrying any luggage.’
    • ‘After checking our baggage, I went to say goodbye to Jen.’
    • ‘Pack vital prescriptions in carry-on, not checked, luggage.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Many airlines now ding you $80 for checking a third bag, or any bag that weighs more than 70 lbs. or measures more than 62 inches when you add up its height, width, and depth.’
    • ‘Althea had checked her two bags, but she took her three tennis rackets with her.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘No need to worry about checking your bags when using online check-in.’
    • ‘I didn't feel like checking my bag, considering the high failure rate of checked baggage handling, and I wanted the contents for some reading material on board.’
    • ‘Checking overweight bags or too many bags can add up to major charges - due before you proceed to the gate.’
    1. 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’
      • ‘The Ikea has a place to check your coat, and they give you fancy shopping carts.’
      • ‘We waltzed right past the freezing people in line, checked our coats, and pre-ordered some wine for the intermission.’
      • ‘We decided not to check our coats.’
      • ‘Sometimes in the Old West, theatre patrons checked their guns at the door - why can't theaters require patrons to check their phones and Blackberries?’
      • ‘Upon entering and ascending the stairs, we checked our coats ($1) and stepped into what would become quite the memorable evening.’
      • ‘We came inside with wet umbrellas and checked them with the coat check.’
      • ‘Eighty-seven percent now think checking a laptop at a coat check is too risky.’
      • ‘I got a job checking coats at the local club.’
      • ‘She is a 58-year-old New Yorker who has worked for 13 years checking coats at a restaurant on East 52nd Street.’
      • ‘Some visitors to multiplexes do not choose to check their brains at the theater door.’
      • ‘I checked our coats and ordered a bottle of the cheapest wine available.’
      • ‘After checking my coat, I introduced myself to Terri, a recruiter who had flown up from southern California to host the event.’
  • 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’
    • ‘Under the "Windows 8 Settings" tab, you can check a box to skip the Start screen at login.’
    • ‘In some cases, parents didn't check the right box to get the $300 child payment.’
    • ‘It's as simple as checking a few boxes in your Apple Account settings.’
    • ‘I checked the appropriate box in the juror's questionnaire.’
    • ‘Pick your provider, type in your domain name and credentials, then check the Enable box in the upper-right corner.’
    • ‘For some people, snapping a pic of their ballot or their voting machine after checking the box for Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, or Roseanne Barr seemed only natural.’
    • ‘Checking the box will invert the colours of web pages, making them much easier on the eyes.’
    • ‘You can just check the boxes next to all the photos you don't like and untag them with one click, or even send a message to your friend asking them to take the photos down.’
    • ‘Exactly what did you think you were doing when you checked the box next to Liberal?’
    • ‘To turn on this feature, just open up Evernote's options and check the box next to "Related Results".’
  • 5Chess
    Move a piece or pawn to a square where it attacks (the opposing king)

    ‘he moves his knight to check my king again’
    • ‘The best way is to check your opponent's King with the obstructing piece, which forces a response.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If you intend to check the enemy King, try to put as much distance between your Rook and his King as possible.’
    • ‘The White Knight is checking the Black King, attacking the Black Queen, and also attacking both Black Rooks.’
  • 6[no object] (in poker) choose not to make a bet when called upon, allowing another player to do so instead.

    • ‘Each player may check, bet, call, or raise as usual, staking the required amount for each card they hold.’
    • ‘If everyone checks, all the poker hands are exposed and the player with the highest hand takes the pot.’
    • ‘If the first player checks, the next player can bet or check, and so on clockwise around the table.’
    • ‘The turn (4th Street) brings the 4, and your opponents both check, suggesting their hands are weak.’
    • ‘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.

    • ‘At last they struck upon the scent of the blood, and they checked for a moment to make sure.’
    1. 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’
    • ‘As part of your antenatal care, you'll be offered a range of checks, tests and assessments to monitor you and your developing baby.’
    • ‘Further checks revealed that all their cylinders were contaminated, so the dive was aborted.’
    • ‘The council has a legal duty to do safety checks to gas appliances in its rented homes at least every 12 months.’
    • ‘Take-off was delayed for around 90 minutes while engineers carried out safety checks and tested the brakes.’
    • ‘Since the tragedy, the world's only fleet of supersonic jets has undergone safety modifications, rigorous checks and numerous test flights.’
    • ‘The agency said it was unclear how the fish died though the tests would include checks for pollutants.’
    • ‘We have always set noise levels to those decided by Environmental Health and we do regular noise checks to make sure that we stick to those.’
    • ‘There are on average 16 separate checks and tests carried out on every boiler service.’
    • ‘She was admitted to Leeds General Infirmary where doctors ran a series of tests, including checks for CJD, before they were able to diagnose her.’
    • ‘The Council said today the couple had passed checks and examinations to national standards to become foster carers.’
    • ‘We would recommend that all elderly drivers have regular health checks.’
    • ‘Now checks at airports around the world are routine, costly and time-consuming.’
    • ‘Tests and quality checks must be carried out before the satellite can be used, but the launch will be on schedule, he said.’
    • ‘I gave myself a last check in the mirror and was satisfied with my appearance.’
    • ‘We must provide more doctors, nurses and hospital beds, more NHS dentists, free personal care for the elderly and free prescriptions, eye tests and dental checks for all.’
    • ‘The mark is only awarded to organisations that pass regular quality checks.’
    • ‘A routine background check revealed that his student visa had expired.’
    • ‘A check had revealed that the council owned 14,000 commercial properties, including many shops.’
    • ‘Currently no formal driving test or health check is needed before a person can get behind the wheel of a motorised scooter.’
    • ‘Let's face it, most landscapers are not going to do a thorough criminal background check on their help.’
    examination, inspection, scrutiny, scrutinization, check-up, perusal, study, investigation, probe, dissection, analysis, assessment, enquiry
    View synonyms
  • 2A stopping or slowing of progress.

    ‘there was no check to the expansion of the market’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In the institution of the central bank, the government has the ultimate tool to permit its profligacy to continue without check and without regard to the future.’
    • ‘The check to expansion is sharp and is intensified by the excesses inevitably associated with periods of over-rapid expansion.’
    • ‘The key phrase in the argument is if there were no impediments or checks to population growth.’
    • ‘A check to the growth of the population would do great harm.’
    1. 2.1A means of control or restraint.
      ‘a permanent check upon the growth or abuse of central authority’
      • ‘What checks are there to the representatives of the people's will indulging in the worst appetites of the people's will, even if for the best reasons?’
      • ‘The reason there are prosecutions proceeding is that the statutory checks and controls on that situation cannot be exercised.’
      • ‘The politicians, taking a page from the DC Republicans' playbook, want to take full control of the state with no checks, no balances.’
      • ‘With the media supporting him and gleefully reporting on leaked information about the investigation, there was no effective check on his abuse of power.’
      • ‘Instead, workers make decisions working with minimal checks and controls.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘What was lost during the era was his expectation that ecologists within government would act as a check on the worst excesses of administrators.’
      • ‘One of the press's most important functions is to serve as a check on government.’
      • ‘The company said it was calling in outside investigators to examine its internal system of checks and controls.’
      • ‘He also raised the issue of greater restrictions and checks being placed on people who are granted visas to work in this country.’
      • ‘The group degenerated into a bunch of randomly run fiefdoms, with octogenarians on the boards and no modern management systems, checks, or controls.’
      • ‘In his attempt to place checks and restraints on the power of the senators, he had the near total support of the public Assembly.’
      • ‘Nowhere were the demands imposed by social superiors subject to any significant restrictions or checks.’
      • ‘The problem is the lack of checks and controls on this system.’
      • ‘Both writers describe natural, divine and civil checks upon the power of the sovereign who must respect the natural dominion of his subjects.’
      • ‘Unlike the modern police state, to which it is often compared, Venice feared power and surrounded it with checks and deterrents.’
      control, restraint, constraint, break, bridle, curb, deterrent, hindrance, impediment, obstruction, inhibition, limitation
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2Ice Hockey An act of hampering or neutralizing an opponent with one's body or stick.
      • ‘He always finishes his checks and you hate playing against guys like that, rather than a tough guy who just knows how to fight.’
      • ‘In the last game he played before this season, Lindros was knocked unconscious by a flying check from the Devils' Scott Stevens.’
      • ‘The Thunderwolves crashed the UW net and used their superior speed to break away from checks.’
      • ‘As the game progressed, the Warriors began to control the rink, throwing thunderous checks and opening up the offence.’
      • ‘‘You know Todd is going to finish his checks,’ says Red Wings forward Doug Brown.’
    3. 2.3A temporary loss of the scent in hunting.
      • ‘The stag sped six miles on end without halt or hindrance, and the hounds ran him without a check.’
    4. 2.4Sport The movement made by a hawk when it abandons its intended quarry and pursues other prey.
  • 3Chess
    A move by which a piece or pawn directly attacks the opponent's king and by which the king may be checkmated.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In this case, when the stronger side defends his king from checks with a queen interference, a counter-check is less probable.’
    • ‘A move that is neither a capture, a check nor a direct attack.’
    • ‘Can I now just force checkmate with a sequence of checks?’
  • 4

    US spelling of cheque
    • ‘Technology has pretty much eliminated the need for me to sign checks.’
    • ‘She ripped out a check and signed it. "Here," she said, handing me the blank check. "Fill in the amount."’
    • ‘Please take a moment to write a check or phone in a contribution.’
    • ‘She used the name Lizzie only when signing checks.’
    • ‘Of course, people who have recently cashed checks are catnip to muggers.’
    • ‘Several customers had written checks that bounced and the vendor that she depended on for products went out of business.’
    • ‘It would be lovely if one of the studios would just write us a check!’
    • ‘Responsible persons may also include those who sign checks for the gallery or who have the authority to decide how gallery funds are spent.’
    • ‘I took out my checkbook, wrote out a check for $50 and gave it to him.’
    • ‘He sent divorce papers for Rose to sign and a check for ten thousand dollars "to tide you over."’
    • ‘He asks who will review the invoices and write the checks, what days of the month checks are written, and, on large residential projects, whether there's a business manager or accountant involved.’
    1. 4.1North American The bill in a restaurant.
      ‘let's get the check’
      • ‘Geoff looked at the check, threw some bills on the table, and taking her hand led her from the restaurant.’
      • ‘And soon one cup of coffee morphed into two and three before we finally stood up to pay the check and leave the restaurant.’
      • ‘Justin called for the check and signed the bill before he tied the blindfold around Alex's head.’
      • ‘Any meal at a Roman restaurant that takes less than two hours is an exercise in rapidity; even the simple act of getting the check can seem agonizingly prolonged for first-time American visitors.’
      • ‘We got our bill, paid the check, and made our way enthusiastically to Billy's Bakery.’
      • ‘Can we have the check please?’
      • ‘This software can analyze a restaurant's checks and produce reports on what wines are ordered with what entrées.’
      • ‘When you return to your table, you pay your check and leave the restaurant without telling the manager about your sickness.’
      • ‘Ben took the check up to the counter, since the waiter had never returned, while the two women went into the parking lot.’
      • ‘I got the check and resisted the urge to eat dessert.’
      bill, account, invoice, statement, list of charges, tally
      View synonyms
  • 5A token of identification for left luggage.

  • 6A counter used as a stake in a gambling game.

    • ‘There were checks on the big eight, the pass line, the come, behind the four, in the field.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 7

    North American term for tick
    • ‘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.

    • ‘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.’


  • 1North American informal Expressing assent or agreement.

    • ‘Great design … check. Wide selection … check.’
    • ‘Personal woes? You got 'em. Troubled childhood? 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.

    • ‘You do not have to announce ‘check’ when making an attack on the King.’
    • ‘McDonnell spoke no French, Annette spoke no English, and so almost the only word that passed between them in four months was ‘check’.’


  • in check

    • 1Under control.

      ‘a way of keeping inflation in check’
      • ‘The move is designed to keep house price inflation and borrowing in check.’
      • ‘The checks and balances and disciplines that keep intolerance in check may also go.’
      • ‘It is about ensuring that industry has a competitive cost base and that price inflation is kept in check.’
      • ‘Fiber also keeps blood insulin levels in check, which is a big factor in controlling body fat.’
      • ‘Competition from imported goods may keep inflation in check, some economists say.’
      • ‘Without drugs holding the attack in check, the donor tissue is eventually destroyed.’
      • ‘Like I said, it has been a difficult time keeping our emotions in check.’
      • ‘Growers use fungicides and biological control agents to keep the mold in check.’
      • ‘But she was going to have to keep her temper in check if she was going to make the best of this situation.’
      • ‘Jim felt his rage surfacing and held it in check just enough to maintain control.’
      curb, restrain, hold back, keep under control, keep a tight rein on, bridle, rein in, rein back
      control, govern, master, repress, suppress, subdue, stifle, smother, tone down
      keep a lid on, nip in the bud
      View synonyms
    • 2Chess
      (of a king) directly attacked by an opponent's piece or pawn; (of a player) having the king in this position.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He stared, and realized that he had placed the king in check from one of his knights.’
      • ‘In orthodox Chess, if a player has no legal move and his king is not in check, the game is a draw.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘Everyone kept a check on their neighbours' movements, ready to point the finger if the disease should be found.’
      • ‘Jennifer did visit her friend regularly last year, but kept a check on her from a distance.’
      • ‘I've been so absorbed in the conversation I forgot about keeping a check on the tape levels.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Now university chiefs are keeping a check on air quality to make sure levels of gases are below limits set by the Health and Safety Executive.’
      • ‘Where the state is potentially depriving individuals of their liberty, we need to be able to keep a check on who these individuals are and what they have done.’
      • ‘The committees provide the members of Parliament an opportunity to examine the functioning of the government and thereby keep a check on it.’
      • ‘Information on the hotline is passed on to local councils and the Environment Agency every day so they can track down offenders and keep a check on the problem.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • check in

    • Arrive and register at a hotel or airport.

      ‘you must check in at least one hour before take-off’
      • ‘We stopped at the main desk of the dingy motel and waited while Jimmy registered and checked us in.’
      • ‘After checking us in, he motions for me to follow him.’
      • ‘Within no time we were checked in, unpacked and ready to hit the town.’
      • ‘She took him to the service elevator that opened up just a few doors down from the room he and Jim were checked in to.’
      • ‘And since check-out time is usually around noon, the tour agencies can actually save a day's room rate by checking them in after noontime.’
      • ‘The guys took care of checking us in while I said goodbye to my aunt.’
      • ‘He then led us to a very nice hotel where we were checked in and shown to our rooms.’
      • ‘Sarah, one of the delightful reception staff, will check you in and whisk you off by hotel buggy to your room.’
      • ‘Doyle will learn the ropes in the reservations and reception departments of Lancaster House, answering the telephone and checking guests in and out.’
      • ‘After checking us in, she gave us directions to local refuges like Red Sand Beach and the Venus Pool.’
      report, report one's arrival, record one's arrival, book oneself in, book in, enrol, register
      View synonyms
  • check someone in

    • Register someone upon their arrival at a hotel or airport.

      ‘they check in the passengers’
      • ‘No longer do you join one long queue and wait for the first available staff member to check you in.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If you go to the airport, you can now check yourself in on the computer.’
      • ‘One of the delightful reception staff checks you in and whisks you off to your room.’
      • ‘Kate drove across the city to a hotel and checked herself in.’
      • ‘That flight is also full, but they've already checked us in and given us boarding passes, so according to them, we will definitely get on.’
      • ‘Fortunately the very nice lady on the ticket desk not only checked me in without me having to queue but also bumped me to business class.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Andrew took us to a hotel and checked us in.’
      • ‘Two ground agents who were not employed with Caribbean Star checked us in, but they took our luggage and piled it up at the back of the check-in counter.’
      • ‘After checking us in, she gave us directions to local refuges like Red Sand Beach, Makahiku Falls, Waianapanapa State Park, and the Venus Pool.’
      report, report one's arrival, record one's arrival, book oneself in, book in, enrol, register
      View synonyms
  • check something in

    • 1(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’
      • ‘I checked in my luggage, collected the boarding pass and went to the passport control.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘I cannot recall your bags, sir, after they have been checked in’.’
      • ‘I won't be checking any baggage in, so there won't be any baggage hall reclaim horrors to endure.’
      • ‘Passengers with luggage will have to check it in the main departure hall, the airline said.’
      • ‘We just checked in our luggage, got our boarding pass and now we're going to head into security.’
      • ‘Bewildered tourists check their baggage in at the airline desks, and are then ordered back towards the main exit to join the queue.’
      • ‘At the airport, Mom and Dad stood by as we checked in our bags.’
      • ‘I hate carrying round hand baggage and checked in my overnight bag.’
      • ‘We checked in our luggage and went through the Customs to declare a painting we'd bought.’
      • ‘The two players got as far as the Heathrow terminal, then checked in their bags and disappeared into airport crowds.’
      1. 1.1Deposit 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’
        • ‘I ran into Andy and David - I always seem to have an inkling when they're going to be there and I bumped into them checking their coats in.’
        • ‘She had just checked her coat in and met her friends in the bar when her mobile phone rang.’
        • ‘Be prepared for the sobering sight of guns being checked in alongside coats in the cloakrooms.’
        • ‘When she went to retrieve it, it was not the same coat she had checked in.’
        • ‘In each of these venues you'll have wanted to check in your coat the moment you got through the door.’
  • check into

    • Register one's arrival at (a hotel)

      ‘you'll check into the luxurious Basle Hilton Hotel’
      • ‘He checks into a hotel and finds Catherine with her friend Miss Ferguson.’
      • ‘The family checks into a gloomy hotel outside the city, with Harry and Dudley sharing a musty room.’
      • ‘By the last night we were so fed-up we just checked into a five-star hotel and had a spa.’
      • ‘He then checks into another hotel, under orders from the mysterious Count.’
      • ‘Brosnan escapes British custody and goes directly to his favorite hotel, where he checks into the suite under his own name.’
      • ‘On the first day, travellers can check into their hotel after their arrival.’
      • ‘From there he checks into a hotel, where he remains for two days.’
      • ‘Arriving in Kuwait City in the late afternoon, he checks into his hotel, walks around Kuwait City, and then goes to bed.’
      • ‘After checking into my hotel, I decided to drop by the registration tent for some festival material to get myself oriented.’
      • ‘They all checked into a hotel before going for a meal at the pub.’
  • check something off

    • 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’
      • ‘But many days I feel like I'm not working hard enough, not checking enough things off my to-do list, to feel contentment with my efforts.’
      • ‘I was excited to check another task off of my list of things to do.’
      • ‘I gave it to him and he checked it off on his master list.’
      • ‘These things are checked off like supermarket lists in their heads.’
      • ‘As we gave him our names, he checked them off from a list.’
      • ‘Chris handed her two tickets and she checked their names off on a list before looking up and saying, ‘Next?’’
      • ‘They hand the receipt to the salesperson and he checks the list off with his black marker.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Gabrielle made a stop at his desk and glanced at him, before checking his name off the list.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘Ms Butler was recovering in her cottage near Croke Park yesterday as friends and neighbours checked on her condition.’
      • ‘She busied herself with the task, while most of the others were checking on Sara's condition.’
      • ‘‘We have tried to keep our house in good condition by checking on things such as the roof and the electrical system,’ says Cora.’
      • ‘The doctor had left the room to check on some of his patients but the nurse Sarah was still there.’
      • ‘The two divers were looking for whale bones, and checking on the condition of previously uncovered wrecks.’
      • ‘She called 999 and stayed with her dad, Chris, checking on his condition as the emergency operator talked her through the situation.’
      • ‘The 47 year-old McGovern worked the long and hectic schedule of a cardiologist, often checking on his patients late in the evenings.’
      • ‘Lu went to the hospital to check on Mrs Tipping's condition but she had left.’
      • ‘After answering a few more of our questions he got up to check on the patient and then left the house.’
      • ‘Hong Kong health authorities, in the meantime, began random manual checks on the health conditions of travelers at two of its control points.’
    • another way of saying check up on
      • ‘I checked on this and learned the basic principles of the oath taken by police officers in Japan and America are about the same.’
      • ‘They told him they were checking on the history of a Michael Rourke who had left the town in 1913.’
      • ‘I was checking on some information.’
  • check out

    • 1Settle one's hotel bill before leaving.

      ‘don't forget to hand in your room key when you check out’
      • ‘We checked out of the hotel, and went to the airport.’
      • ‘He would tell me when it was time to go home, and then as we were checking out of the hotel or going to the airport, our roles were reversed back again.’
      • ‘The veteran rocker had checked out of the hotel after the Manhattan show, but left behind a piece of luggage, police said.’
      • ‘They said they would be checking out of the hotel that day.’
      • ‘They'd both had their fun, and had just finished checking out of the hotel and loading their stuff in the back of Spencer's car.’
      • ‘We woke up early in the morning and checked out of the hotel.’
      • ‘She left the man on the floor and smartly left the hotel without checking out.’
      • ‘I checked out of the hotel and made my way back out to my car.’
      • ‘I got out of my car, packed my trunk, and checked out of the hotel.’
      • ‘The next day we woke up around 12 and checked out of our hotel.’
      leave, vacate, depart from, exit from, take one's leave from
      pay the bill, pay up, settle up
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1North American informal Die.
        • ‘‘Julie’, she said, ‘this is it, I'm checking out.’’
        • ‘That first weekend I almost checked out - the nurses didn't know if I was going to make it or not.’
    • 2Prove to be true or correct.

      ‘his claims simply did not check out’
      • ‘Critics, however, began investigating his data and found that a number of his claims did not check out.’
      • ‘When his other claims did not check out, it began to look like his photographs were the product of a hoax.’
  • check someone/thing out

    • 1Establish the truth or inform oneself about someone or something.

      ‘they decided to go and check out a local restaurant’
      • ‘Before I put my paintings on view I tentatively checked them out with the local councillor and the village shop to see that they had no worries.’
      • ‘So anyway, my local police are checking the whole thing out.’
      • ‘I checked it out and did some research before deciding to buy one for my business in Limerick.’
      • ‘The investigator definitely should check it out.’
      • ‘If I was a young musician, I would check other things out, investigate.’
      • ‘I've checked it out with some local journalists.’
      • ‘Do yourself a favour and check 'em out next time they play.’
      • ‘But after a local friend checked it out for me, I concluded it was a fraud and stayed home.’
      • ‘Run, don't walk to your favourite store and check this one out!’
      • ‘These explanations will be checked out to establish whether or not they are genuine.’
      investigate, look into, enquire into, probe, research, sound out, examine, go over, go through, vet
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Look at; take notice of.
        ‘do check out his website’
        ‘check out the chick in the leopardskin top’
        • ‘This ain't your typical rock show and the price is pretty sweet, so check it out.’
        • ‘For a list of useful links and resuorces, check out the Further Information - Relationships section.’
        • ‘I implore those of you who do not already watch the shows, check them out.’
        • ‘There are a few good surf books which have sections on lifting weights that you may want to check out.’
        • ‘They kept on checking out different places searching for something.’
        • ‘I've been checking out your courses which I'm really interested in.’
        • ‘Check out what he had to say for himself.’
        • ‘I check out this morning's Hindustan Times which is a good reflection the Delhi / UP / Punjab mindset.’
        • ‘I decided I had nothing to lose by checking it out.’
        • ‘That is the web address if you want to check it out yourself.’
        look at, observe, survey, gaze at, regard, inspect, contemplate
        View synonyms
    • 2Enter 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’
      1. 2.1Register something as having been borrowed.
        • ‘Think of it as the federal government mandating how, where, when, and for how long you can own or read a book at the time you purchase it or check it out of your local library.’
        • ‘Eight-year-old Lewis checks out a book as part of his detective work.’
        • ‘A parent library is available, and books and movies can be checked out.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘Another way I found to get free music to listen to is to simply check out the CD at the library.’
  • check something over

    • Inspect or examine something thoroughly.

      ‘each written piece has been checked over for errors’
      • ‘But the company will have to fulfil all of the issues needing consultation - for instance, checking things over with residents.’
      • ‘A few weeks after I sent my return in, I pulled out my rough-work copy and checked it over and realised I'd miscalculated something.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘With the hood now out of the way, she held the radio close to her face, narrowing her eyes and checking it over in careful detail.’
      • ‘Mr Young was taken to Bradford Royal Infirmary where his head injuries were checked over.’
      • ‘I checked it over and apart from a bit of swelling from where the ring was it was okay.’
      • ‘I picked the little bird up, checked it over and, but for a little wound on it's stomach where the cat must have caught it, it looked fine, if a little shocked.’
      • ‘I have already been there myself to check things over and the only word I can use to describe it all is breathtaking.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Excellent service from the gas engineer - he checked the system over and repressurized it - that cured the immediate problem.’
      look at, observe, survey, gaze at, regard, inspect, contemplate
      View synonyms
  • check through

    • Inspect or examine thoroughly.

      ‘I checked through my notes’
      • ‘Teenagers I've spoken to have compared it to a parent checking through the messages on their mobile phone without asking.’
      • ‘‘We checked through the rubbish to see if we could find a name,’ the resident said.’
      • ‘The firm is now checking through its records to see who and how many claims are affected.’
      • ‘A spokeswoman said: ‘It is still a case of getting some last-second details from some of the bidders and checking through those bids.’’
      • ‘He said that even after pensioners had talked through the complicated paperwork with advisers, they would then have to be sent the forms so details can be checked through.’
      • ‘The crew checked through the list of names of all passengers on board and confirmed that one was missing.’
      • ‘I was expecting a thorough search so I checked through my things.’
      • ‘We have had boxes and boxes of books delivered, and I check through them all because occasionally you find collectibles.’
      • ‘Constance was busy preparing for her wedding, checking through the guest list, going over her dowries, and rehearsing four times in one week.’
      • ‘Just finished checking through my e-mail which I am happy to report were mostly blog comments.’
  • check up on

    • Investigate in order to establish the truth about or accuracy of.

      ‘Don called me to check up on some facts’
      • ‘But 79 years later, its plenipotentiary was, courtesy of the New Zealand taxpayer, checking up on how it had all gone.’
      • ‘‘There is a certain amount that should be checked up on and be made accountable, but there should be a limit,’ he said.’
      • ‘The question is whether we have to check up on and bother everyone in order to deal with the bad cases.’
      • ‘I also do lots of checking up on who's going to be there at the weekend.’
      • ‘Record numbers of parents have recruited private investigators to check up on their tearaway teenagers.’
      • ‘From a quick browse through his recent archive too, it's one that will be added to the list to check up on regularly.’
      • ‘The morning passed uneventfully as Liz worked through and paid bills, checked up on their investments, and answered all her email.’
      • ‘They were made to go to church six times on Sunday, and were checked up on if they didn't show up.’
      • ‘This seems like as good a time as any to check up on where some of those companies are, and where they may be going.’
      • ‘Government inspectors plan to visit the borough in June to check up on whether the council is providing value for money for its residents.’


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’.




Main definitions of check in English

: check1check2



  • 1A pattern of small squares.

    ‘a fine black-and-white check’
    • ‘Sitting along the back headrest of an eggshell-colored imperial convertible was Althea in a silk dress with red and blue checks and a white orchid at her shoulder.’
    • ‘Unusual prints and patterns in suits and sweater sets, for career or leisure, were brought alive by a colorful mix of stripes, checks and plaids.’
    • ‘For boys, you really can't go wrong with a pair of dark jeans, a sporty T-shirt or a retro lumberjack shirt in jazzy checks and a fleece.’
    • ‘The loud checks of his ample suit made the bookies appear attired for a funeral.’
    • ‘He was wearing a dark shirt with white checks and dark trousers.’
    • ‘Gingham is a lightweight, washable, stout fabric that is woven in checks, plaids or stripes.’
    • ‘Wear it over a crewneck sweater or button-down shirt, which would look especially great if it featured a beige pattern like stripes, checks or windowpane.’
    • ‘It's easier to select a necktie to go with a plain blue shirt than one with checks or stripes.’
    • ‘The shop also stocks the stylish Daks sports jacket in spring's light yellow with blue checks to complement the blue trousers.’
    • ‘If you're looking for trendy patterns, go for paisley, floral, plaid, checks, and herringbone.’
    • ‘As the days go by, a preference for small checks and hound's-tooth jackets emerges.’
    • ‘Patterns ranged from small ginghams to windowpane checks to colorful mid-sized madras plaids.’
    • ‘Katy knew that shirt, soft cotton with red and blue checks.’
    • ‘Intense colours, pinstripes and trendy glen checks are all found on soft micro fibre fabrics.’
    • ‘This year, ancient Italian men are wearing generously cut worsted suits, either with waistcoat or cardigan, in natural earth colours with muted checks.’
    • ‘He was wearing a dark shirt with blue checks, dark trousers and black shoes.’
    • ‘Bigger checks give an illusion of volume and suit thinner men while guys with heavier build look great in stripes, smaller checks etc.’
    • ‘They vary from simple patterns, such as alternating checks, triangles, or diamonds, to complex combined motifs.’
    • ‘For winter, the best bet is a cozy scarf with the classic check, which comes in a number of colors.’
    • ‘Blazers in other colours look better as do sports jackets with small checks.’
    1. 1.1A garment or fabric with a pattern of small squares.
      ‘on Wednesdays he wore the small check’
      • ‘My mother wore his houndstooth check to amble through the launderettes with Marietta.’
      • ‘The comforter is bound on three side and reverses to a gingham check for a change when you want something different.’
      • ‘I was, I recall, wearing a brand-new linen suit in a rather dashing hound's-tooth check.’
      • ‘Terminology has always been a challenge - one designer may describe a fabric as a gingham, the next a check.’
      • ‘Plaids and checks are generally harder to mix and match with one another, and tend to be associated with more conservative and classier looks.’
      • ‘And yet they made those wonderful clothes for other people - tweeds, cords, mohairs, checks, tartans.’
      • ‘Use chintz, damask and toiles along with classic stripes, checks and textured plain fabrics.’
      • ‘Everywhere she looked there were checks and chintz, ruffles and fringes.’
      • ‘Perhaps she likes 80s inspired punk fabrics, or checks or gingham or something else all together.’
      • ‘While last fall emphasized on simplicity, leather and denim, this fall is about checks, tweed and denim (again).’
      • ‘The shirt range consists of solids in twills, poplins, structures, linens and checks.’
      • ‘Radiant with warm colours, cashmere and floral designs are combined with traditional English fabrics such as tweeds and checks.’
      • ‘Her coats featured jewel encrusted collars and belts, also made in tweed and checks.’
      • ‘Blended checks, speckled materials and colourful herringbones amid reversible two colour fabrics all make impact.’
      • ‘It takes some acting craft for him to pull off the feat of wearing the outlandish sweater vests, garish checks and plaids without ever seeming as if he was wearing a costume.’
      • ‘The tailoring is classic and structured and the subtle pinstripes and tonal coloured checks feature soft detailing.’
      • ‘What happens when you throw checks and plaid into the mix?’


  • [attributive] Having a checked pattern.

    ‘a blue check T-shirt’
    • ‘I bought a rather nasty check suit in New York 15 years ago that I never wore.’
    • ‘The windows are big, letting in plenty of light, and draped with simple check curtains.’
    • ‘He was wearing a green check shirt, black trousers and black shoes.’
    • ‘When last seen, he was wearing a navy blazer, a light-blue check shirt, navy trousers, and black shoes.’
    • ‘All he needed was a pair of check pants and a straw hat and he'd look like the consummate car salesman.’
    • ‘With a green carpet, pink and green swirly wallpaper and pink and green check curtains, everything clashed.’
    • ‘What could a fabulous glamourpuss such as yourself possibly want with one of my old check shirts from five years ago?’
    • ‘The gunman was white, and wore a bobble-type hat, with a check padded shirt, patched jeans, a jacket and canvas rucksack.’
    • ‘The bistro is all red and white check tablecloths, jumbo pepper grinders and piped Pavarotti.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He is described as white, slim, aged 20 to 25, wearing a red check shirt, blue jeans and white trainers.’
    • ‘Twenty something pretty city traders in questionable chalk striped suit and check shirt combos.’


Late Middle English: probably from chequer.