Main definitions of check in English

: check1check2



[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’
    • ‘He added that estate agents had no responsibility for checking the condition properties are left in.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 this way the operator can check field conditions before irrigation.’
    • ‘Files are checked for image quality, size and layout (but not necessarily color).’
    • ‘He has personally vetted them, checking them for technical quality, even spent time on the phone with producers.’
    • ‘It is therefore very important that that you check the forms for accuracy and notify your custodian of any discrepancies.’
    • ‘Dermatologists often check the mouth to determine a skin diagnosis or detect sexually transmitted diseases.’
    • ‘A welcome hiatus in proceedings gives me a chance to check my emails.’
    • ‘When completed, a random sample of returned questionnaires was checked to ensure accuracy of data entry.’
    • ‘As data is collected, the weather officer checks it for accuracy and sends it to the center through satellite downlink every 30 seconds.’
    • ‘He is alert, listens carefully to question after question and scans his answers as if to check them for accuracy.’
    • ‘However a hydrologist would need to visit the island to check the volume and quality of water in the caves first.’
    • ‘A second native-speaker of each target language checked each translation for accuracy.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is a good idea to have your contractor or consultant check the health and quality of the trees when they arrive on site.’
    • ‘Then the muscles are checked to determine whether the substance has had any negative effect.’
    • ‘In fact, I gave the book to my father to check it 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.’
    examine, inspect, look at, look over, scrutinize, scan, survey
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Verify 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’
      • ‘He checked a clock next to the bed. 3: 23.’
      • ‘She checked the hallway and determined it was empty.’
      • ‘She opened the door to check no-one was about to walk in on them.’
      • ‘Then I checked my own booking confirmation for New York.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The following information I am providing can be confirmed and checked by simple credit/background checks.’
      • ‘Second, income tax records must be checked to verify that these vendors have been submitting returns and paying taxes.’
      • ‘Never reveal details over the telephone without checking or establishing the caller's identity, and never disclose online passwords or card PINs.’
      • ‘The first step is to check the terms and conditions of your existing mortgage.’
      • ‘Louise looked around hurriedly, checking to make sure that Nurse Sommers was, indeed, gone.’
      • ‘She went down the row of doors methodically checking each one.’
      • ‘The board can also require the offender to be subject to electronic monitoring to check compliance with these conditions.’
      • ‘That was when I discovered he'd really come back to check that Harry had come home and was safe.’
      • ‘Before placing the electrodes on a patient, a nurse should check that the expiration date on the package has not passed.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘For information about broadcast times and availability, check the Market Journal program schedule.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Availability of places at the new nursery can be checked by calling Jo Short.’
      make sure, confirm, verify, corroborate, validate, substantiate
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2check something against Verify the accuracy of something by comparing it with (something else)
      ‘keep your receipt to check against your statement’
      • ‘There are also lists of names and phone numbers that U.S. intelligence officials were checking against lists of known terrorists.’
      • ‘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).’
      • ‘A programme of ‘preferred agencies’ has also been instituted, and agency nurses have a personal identification number which can be checked against qualifications.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘New cases are checked against existing cases in the registry to prevent duplicate entries.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Statements from the two figures must be checked against the facts.’
      • ‘Families will be given the opportunity to provide blood for DNA testing to check against samples taken from bodies found in mass graves.’
      • ‘It will need simple but accurate budgets and forecasts to check against actual income and expenditure.’
      • ‘Historical facts cannot be verified, but only checked against other subjective accounts.’
      • ‘But the accuracy of Canaletto's paintings has been checked against present-day photographs.’
      • ‘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;’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘All containers are verified for weight and checked against the team's manifest.’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 1.3no 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’
      • ‘Jason once again reminds me why it's worth checking his site every day.’
      • ‘Also, do you reply to the e-mails directly or should I periodically check the website?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Azalea even checks the news sites right then.’
      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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Even the greatest obstacles, whether of language or customs or religion, have not been able to check that triumphal progress.’
    • ‘He wanted to check the bleeding, but he knew better than to stop applying pressure.’
    • ‘The electoral parties have a task to curb, check and eliminate communalism.’
    • ‘What can the police do to check the increase in violence?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Although the Swedes were far from defeated, their seemingly unstoppable progress had been checked.’
    • ‘The enemy would be checked by a series of hinterland fortifications while the field army closed in.’
    • ‘Thus it is clear that if governments are determined to curb communal violence it can be effectively checked.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    halt, stop, arrest, bring to a standstill, cut short
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Curb or control (one's feelings or reaction)
      ‘he learned to check his excitement’
      • ‘He seems incapable of checking his rage and increasingly bent on causing real harm to others.’
      • ‘Marcus remained silent while his temple pulsed and he checked his 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Kate licked her lips and tried to check her anger.’
      • ‘Hurriedly Violet checked the laugh bubbling up in her throat and asked Alice for her opinion.’
      • ‘Ann couldn't check a half-cry of laughter as she said, ‘How kind of you to remember my existence’.’
      • ‘She checked her desire to glare and instead greeted them warmly.’
      • ‘Athene intervenes to check his urge to kill Agamemnon on the spot, and he withdraws in a sulk from the fighting.’
      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.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I have been told in so many words that if a former teammate gets checked, then that player will retaliate.’
      • ‘Someone had checked me into the boards during our Finals series with the Edmonton Oilers.’
      • ‘The player who shot it in is going to be checked, probably into the boards.’
      • ‘And free-agent pickup Mike Sillinger will check the opponent's top line like nobody's business.’
    3. 2.3check againstno 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.’
      • ‘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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Checking overweight bags or too many bags can add up to major charges - due before you proceed to the gate.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Althea had checked her two bags, but she took her three tennis rackets with her.’
    • ‘No need to worry about checking your bags when using online check-in.’
    • ‘Of course, you can avoid most of the hassle of airports by not checking or carrying any luggage.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After checking our baggage, I went to say goodbye to Jen.’
    • ‘Pack vital prescriptions in carry-on, not checked, luggage.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 3.1 Deposit (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’
      • ‘We came inside with wet umbrellas and checked them with the coat check.’
      • ‘She is a 58-year-old New Yorker who has worked for 13 years checking coats at a restaurant on East 52nd Street.’
      • ‘The Ikea has a place to check your coat, and they give you fancy shopping carts.’
      • ‘Upon entering and ascending the stairs, we checked our coats ($1) and stepped into what would become quite the memorable evening.’
      • ‘We waltzed right past the freezing people in line, checked our coats, and pre-ordered some wine for the intermission.’
      • ‘I checked our coats and ordered a bottle of the cheapest wine available.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘After checking my coat, I introduced myself to Terri, a recruiter who had flown up from southern California to host the event.’
      • ‘I got a job checking coats at the local club.’
      • ‘Eighty-seven percent now think checking a laptop at a coat check is too risky.’
      • ‘We decided not to check our coats.’
      • ‘Some visitors to multiplexes do not choose to check their brains at the theater door.’
  • 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’
    • ‘Exactly what did you think you were doing when you checked the box next to Liberal?’
    • ‘I checked the appropriate box in the juror's questionnaire.’
    • ‘It's as simple as checking a few boxes in your Apple Account settings.’
    • ‘In some cases, parents didn't check the right box to get the $300 child payment.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘To turn on this feature, just open up Evernote's options and check the box next to "Related Results".’
    • ‘Under the "Windows 8 Settings" tab, you can check a box to skip the Start screen at login.’
    • ‘Pick your provider, type in your domain name and credentials, then check the Enable box in the upper-right corner.’
    • ‘Checking the box will invert the colours of web pages, making them much easier on the eyes.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 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.’
    • ‘If you intend to check the enemy King, try to put as much distance between your Rook and his King as possible.’
    • ‘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 White Knight is checking the Black King, attacking the Black Queen, and also attacking both Black Rooks.’
  • 6no object (in poker) choose not to make a bet when called upon, allowing another player to do so instead.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Each player may check, bet, call, or raise as usual, staking the required amount for each card they hold.’
  • 7no 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’
    • ‘There are on average 16 separate checks and tests carried out on every boiler service.’
    • ‘Further checks revealed that all their cylinders were contaminated, so the dive was aborted.’
    • ‘We would recommend that all elderly drivers have regular health checks.’
    • ‘Now checks at airports around the world are routine, costly and time-consuming.’
    • ‘Currently no formal driving test or health check is needed before a person can get behind the wheel of a motorised scooter.’
    • ‘The Council said today the couple had passed checks and examinations to national standards to become foster carers.’
    • ‘The mark is only awarded to organisations that pass regular quality checks.’
    • ‘A routine background check revealed that his student visa had expired.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Take-off was delayed for around 90 minutes while engineers carried out safety checks and tested the brakes.’
    • ‘The agency said it was unclear how the fish died though the tests would include checks for pollutants.’
    • ‘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 has a legal duty to do safety checks to gas appliances in its rented homes at least every 12 months.’
    • ‘Tests and quality checks must be carried out before the satellite can be used, but the launch will be on schedule, he said.’
    • ‘As part of your antenatal care, you'll be offered a range of checks, tests and assessments to monitor you and your developing baby.’
    • ‘Since the tragedy, the world's only fleet of supersonic jets has undergone safety modifications, rigorous checks and numerous test flights.’
    • ‘Let's face it, most landscapers are not going to do a thorough criminal background check on their help.’
    • ‘A check had revealed that the council owned 14,000 commercial properties, including many shops.’
    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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The first serious check to the spread of Arabic took place in the ninth century.’
    • ‘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 key phrase in the argument is if there were no impediments or checks to population growth.’
    • ‘The check to expansion is sharp and is intensified by the excesses inevitably associated with periods of over-rapid expansion.’
    • ‘A check to the growth of the population would do great harm.’
    1. 2.1 A means of control or restraint.
      ‘a permanent check upon the growth or abuse of central authority’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘Unlike the modern police state, to which it is often compared, Venice feared power and surrounded it with checks and deterrents.’
      • ‘The group degenerated into a bunch of randomly run fiefdoms, with octogenarians on the boards and no modern management systems, checks, or controls.’
      • ‘He also raised the issue of greater restrictions and checks being placed on people who are granted visas to work in this country.’
      • ‘Both writers describe natural, divine and civil checks upon the power of the sovereign who must respect the natural dominion of his subjects.’
      • ‘The problem is the lack of checks and controls on this system.’
      • ‘Instead, workers make decisions working with minimal checks and controls.’
      • ‘The reason there are prosecutions proceeding is that the statutory checks and controls on that situation cannot be exercised.’
      • ‘In his attempt to place checks and restraints on the power of the senators, he had the near total support of the public Assembly.’
      • ‘What was lost during the era was his expectation that ecologists within government would act as a check on the worst excesses of administrators.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Nowhere were the demands imposed by social superiors subject to any significant restrictions or checks.’
      • ‘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.’
      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.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘As the game progressed, the Warriors began to control the rink, throwing thunderous checks and opening up the offence.’
      • ‘The Thunderwolves crashed the UW net and used their superior speed to break away from checks.’
    3. 2.3 A 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. 2.4Falconry 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.

    • ‘Can I now just force checkmate with a sequence of checks?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A move that is neither a capture, a check nor a direct attack.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 4

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

    • ‘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.’
  • 7North American

    another term for tick (sense 1 of the noun)
    • ‘Those are all checks in the plus column, but frankly, his material was lacking.’
    • ‘As she worked her way down the list, Jordan put checks by all the items that the company is already doing.’
  • 8A part of a piano which catches the hammer and prevents it retouching the strings.

  • 9A crack or flaw in timber.

    • ‘The second coat of penetrating stain often lasts longer since it penetrates into small surface checks which open up as wood weathers.’
    • ‘Sanded and rough sawn plywood will develop surface checks, especially when exposed to moisture and sunlight.’


  • 1North American informal Expressing assent or agreement.

    • ‘‘Tell her I've found out all she wants to know.’ ‘Check.’’
    • ‘Personal woes? You got 'em. Troubled childhood? Check.’
    • ‘Great design … check. Wide selection … 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’
      • ‘It is about ensuring that industry has a competitive cost base and that price inflation is kept in check.’
      • ‘Without drugs holding the attack in check, the donor tissue is eventually destroyed.’
      • ‘Jim felt his rage surfacing and held it in check just enough to maintain control.’
      • ‘Growers use fungicides and biological control agents to keep the mold in check.’
      • ‘Competition from imported goods may keep inflation in check, some economists say.’
      • ‘Fiber also keeps blood insulin levels in check, which is a big factor in controlling body fat.’
      • ‘But she was going to have to keep her temper in check if she was going to make the best of this situation.’
      • ‘The checks and balances and disciplines that keep intolerance in check may also go.’
      • ‘The move is designed to keep house price inflation and borrowing in check.’
      • ‘Like I said, it has been a difficult time keeping our emotions in check.’
      curb, restrain, hold back, keep under control, keep a tight rein on, bridle, rein in, rein back
      View synonyms
    • 2Chess
      (of a king) directly attacked by an opponent's piece or pawn; (of a player) having the king in this position.

      • ‘In orthodox Chess, if a player has no legal move and his king is not in check, the game is a draw.’
      • ‘He stared, and realized that he had placed the king in check from one of his knights.’
      • ‘If she moved the rook instead, I would capture a pawn, and place her king in check.’
      • ‘Stalemate is when the player to move isn't in check, but none of his pieces can move.’
      • ‘If a player leaves his king in check he makes an illegal move.’
  • keep a check on

    • Monitor.

      ‘keep a regular check on your score’
      • ‘He suggested keeping a check on how employees dealt with the public - perhaps by pretending to be a customer.’
      • ‘Everyone kept a check on their neighbours' movements, ready to point the finger if the disease should be found.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I've been so absorbed in the conversation I forgot about keeping a check on the tape levels.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Jennifer did visit her friend regularly last year, but kept a check on her from a distance.’
      • ‘The committees provide the members of Parliament an opportunity to examine the functioning of the government and thereby keep a check on it.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • check in

    • Arrive and register at a hotel or airport.

      ‘you must check in at least one hour before take-off’
      • ‘Sarah, one of the delightful reception staff, will check you in and whisk you off by hotel buggy to your room.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He then led us to a very nice hotel where we were checked in and shown to our rooms.’
      • ‘Doyle will learn the ropes in the reservations and reception departments of Lancaster House, answering the telephone and checking guests in and out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The guys took care of checking us in while I said goodbye to my aunt.’
      • ‘After checking us in, she gave us directions to local refuges like Red Sand Beach and the Venus Pool.’
      • ‘Within no time we were checked in, unpacked and ready to hit the town.’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After checking us in, she gave us directions to local refuges like Red Sand Beach, Makahiku Falls, Waianapanapa State Park, and the Venus Pool.’
      • ‘Andrew took us to a hotel and checked us 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘No longer do you join one long queue and wait for the first available staff member to check you in.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If you go to the airport, you can now check yourself in on the computer.’
      • ‘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.’
      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 cannot recall your bags, sir, after they have been checked in’.’
      • ‘Passengers with luggage will have to check it in the main departure hall, the airline said.’
      • ‘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 hate carrying round hand baggage and checked in my overnight bag.’
      • ‘At the airport, Mom and Dad stood by as we checked in our bags.’
      • ‘We just checked in our luggage, got our boarding pass and now we're going to head into security.’
      • ‘I checked in my luggage, collected the boarding pass and went to the passport control.’
      • ‘The two players got as far as the Heathrow terminal, then checked in their bags and disappeared into airport crowds.’
      • ‘We checked in our luggage and went through the Customs to declare a painting we'd bought.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘When she went to retrieve it, it was not the same coat she had checked in.’
  • check into

    • Register one's arrival at (a hotel)

      ‘you'll check into the luxurious Basle Hilton Hotel’
      • ‘He then checks into another hotel, under orders from the mysterious Count.’
      • ‘He checks into a hotel and finds Catherine with her friend Miss Ferguson.’
      • ‘From there he checks into a hotel, where he remains for two days.’
      • ‘They all checked into a hotel before going for a meal at the pub.’
      • ‘By the last night we were so fed-up we just checked into a five-star hotel and had a spa.’
      • ‘Brosnan escapes British custody and goes directly to his favorite hotel, where he checks into the suite under his own name.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘On the first day, travellers can check into their hotel after their arrival.’
      • ‘The family checks into a gloomy hotel outside the city, with Harry and Dudley sharing a musty room.’
  • 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’
      • ‘These things are checked off like supermarket lists in their heads.’
      • ‘I was excited to check another task off of my list of things to do.’
      • ‘Chris handed her two tickets and she checked their names off on a list before looking up and saying, ‘Next?’’
      • ‘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 gave it to him and he checked it off on his master list.’
      • ‘They hand the receipt to the salesperson and he checks the list off with his black marker.’
      • ‘I look as if I'm checking items off my shopping list or consulting my schedule.’
      • ‘As we gave him our names, he checked them off from a list.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Gabrielle made a stop at his desk and glanced at him, before checking his name off the list.’
  • check on

    • 1Verify, ascertain, or monitor the state or condition of.

      ‘the doctor had come to check on his patient’
      • ‘Hong Kong health authorities, in the meantime, began random manual checks on the health conditions of travelers at two of its control points.’
      • ‘The 47 year-old McGovern worked the long and hectic schedule of a cardiologist, often checking on his patients late in the evenings.’
      • ‘She busied herself with the task, while most of the others were checking on Sara's condition.’
      • ‘The doctor had left the room to check on some of his patients but the nurse Sarah was still there.’
      • ‘Ms Butler was recovering in her cottage near Croke Park yesterday as friends and neighbours checked on her condition.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘We have tried to keep our house in good condition by checking on things such as the roof and the electrical system,’ says Cora.’
      • ‘After answering a few more of our questions he got up to check on the patient and then left the house.’
      • ‘Lu went to the hospital to check on Mrs Tipping's condition but she had left.’
    • 2Investigate in order to establish the truth about or accuracy of.

      ‘it is important for them to check on the quality and certification’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I checked out of the hotel and made my way back out to my car.’
      • ‘The veteran rocker had checked out of the hotel after the Manhattan show, but left behind a piece of luggage, police said.’
      • ‘We checked out of the hotel, and went to the airport.’
      • ‘They said they would be checking out of the hotel that day.’
      • ‘She left the man on the floor and smartly left the hotel without checking out.’
      • ‘I got out of my car, packed my trunk, and checked out of the hotel.’
      • ‘We woke up early in the morning and checked out of the hotel.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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
      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/something out

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

      ‘they decided to go and check out a local restaurant’
      • ‘Do yourself a favour and check 'em out next time they play.’
      • ‘Run, don't walk to your favourite store and check this one out!’
      • ‘If I was a young musician, I would check other things out, investigate.’
      • ‘The investigator definitely should check it out.’
      • ‘These explanations will be checked out to establish whether or not they are genuine.’
      • ‘So anyway, my local police are checking the whole thing out.’
      • ‘But after a local friend checked it out for me, I concluded it was a fraud and stayed home.’
      • ‘I checked it out and did some research before deciding to buy one for my business in Limerick.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I've checked it out with some local journalists.’
      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’
        • ‘They kept on checking out different places searching for something.’
        • ‘That is the web address if you want to check it out yourself.’
        • ‘This ain't your typical rock show and the price is pretty sweet, so check it out.’
        • ‘I decided I had nothing to lose by checking it out.’
        • ‘I check out this morning's Hindustan Times which is a good reflection the Delhi / UP / Punjab mindset.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘For a list of useful links and resuorces, check out the Further Information - Relationships section.’
        • ‘Check out what he had to say for himself.’
        • ‘I've been checking out your courses which I'm really interested in.’
        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.
        • ‘I borrowed the book, so can't check it out again just now.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘A parent library is available, and books and movies can be checked out.’
        • ‘Another way I found to get free music to listen to is to simply check out the CD at the library.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘Eight-year-old Lewis checks out a book as part of his detective work.’
  • check something over

    • Inspect or examine something thoroughly.

      ‘each written piece has been checked over for errors’
      • ‘I checked it over and apart from a bit of swelling from where the ring was it was okay.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But the company will have to fulfil all of the issues needing consultation - for instance, checking things over with residents.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I have already been there myself to check things over and the only word I can use to describe it all is breathtaking.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Excellent service from the gas engineer - he checked the system over and repressurized it - that cured the immediate problem.’
      • ‘Mr Young was taken to Bradford Royal Infirmary where his head injuries were checked over.’
      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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I was expecting a thorough search so I checked through my things.’
      • ‘The firm is now checking through its records to see who and how many claims are affected.’
      • ‘The crew checked through the list of names of all passengers on board and confirmed that one was missing.’
      • ‘Constance was busy preparing for her wedding, checking through the guest list, going over her dowries, and rehearsing four times in one week.’
      • ‘We have had boxes and boxes of books delivered, and I check through them all because occasionally you find collectibles.’
      • ‘Just finished checking through my e-mail which I am happy to report were mostly blog comments.’
      • ‘‘We checked through the rubbish to see if we could find a name,’ the resident said.’
  • check up on

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

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


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’
    • ‘Gingham is a lightweight, washable, stout fabric that is woven in checks, plaids or stripes.’
    • ‘For winter, the best bet is a cozy scarf with the classic check, which comes in a number of colors.’
    • ‘As the days go by, a preference for small checks and hound's-tooth jackets emerges.’
    • ‘Bigger checks give an illusion of volume and suit thinner men while guys with heavier build look great in stripes, smaller checks etc.’
    • ‘Blazers in other colours look better as do sports jackets with small checks.’
    • ‘Patterns ranged from small ginghams to windowpane checks to colorful mid-sized madras plaids.’
    • ‘He was wearing a dark shirt with white checks and dark trousers.’
    • ‘If you're looking for trendy patterns, go for paisley, floral, plaid, checks, and herringbone.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Katy knew that shirt, soft cotton with red and blue checks.’
    • ‘The loud checks of his ample suit made the bookies appear attired for a funeral.’
    • ‘It's easier to select a necktie to go with a plain blue shirt than one with checks or stripes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They vary from simple patterns, such as alternating checks, triangles, or diamonds, to complex combined motifs.’
    • ‘The shop also stocks the stylish Daks sports jacket in spring's light yellow with blue checks to complement the blue trousers.’
    • ‘He was wearing a dark shirt with blue checks, dark trousers and black shoes.’
    1. 1.1 A garment or fabric with a pattern of small squares.
      ‘on Wednesdays he wore the small check’
      • ‘The tailoring is classic and structured and the subtle pinstripes and tonal coloured checks feature soft detailing.’
      • ‘My mother wore his houndstooth check to amble through the launderettes with Marietta.’
      • ‘What happens when you throw checks and plaid into the mix?’
      • ‘I was, I recall, wearing a brand-new linen suit in a rather dashing hound's-tooth check.’
      • ‘The comforter is bound on three side and reverses to a gingham check for a change when you want something different.’
      • ‘Plaids and checks are generally harder to mix and match with one another, and tend to be associated with more conservative and classier looks.’
      • ‘Blended checks, speckled materials and colourful herringbones amid reversible two colour fabrics all make impact.’
      • ‘Terminology has always been a challenge - one designer may describe a fabric as a gingham, the next a check.’
      • ‘Perhaps she likes 80s inspired punk fabrics, or checks or gingham or something else all together.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And yet they made those wonderful clothes for other people - tweeds, cords, mohairs, checks, tartans.’


  • attributive Having a checked pattern.

    ‘a blue check T-shirt’
    • ‘With a green carpet, pink and green swirly wallpaper and pink and green check curtains, everything clashed.’
    • ‘When last seen, he was wearing a navy blazer, a light-blue check shirt, navy trousers, and black shoes.’
    • ‘The bistro is all red and white check tablecloths, jumbo pepper grinders and piped Pavarotti.’
    • ‘A short grey check umbrella was lost from a bike basket on Friday, December 13.’
    • ‘I bought a rather nasty check suit in New York 15 years ago that I never wore.’
    • ‘All he needed was a pair of check pants and a straw hat and he'd look like the consummate car salesman.’
    • ‘The gunman was white, and wore a bobble-type hat, with a check padded shirt, patched jeans, a jacket and canvas rucksack.’
    • ‘He is described as white, slim, aged 20 to 25, wearing a red check shirt, blue jeans and white trainers.’
    • ‘But there's something youthful about him and it isn't just his Beatle cut and jazzy check shirt.’
    • ‘What could a fabulous glamourpuss such as yourself possibly want with one of my old check shirts from five years ago?’
    • ‘Twenty something pretty city traders in questionable chalk striped suit and check shirt combos.’
    • ‘He was wearing a green check shirt, black trousers and black shoes.’
    • ‘Mostly shot in vacant cafés with check tablecloths and the absence of daylight, this is a decidedly mixed bunch.’
    • ‘The windows are big, letting in plenty of light, and draped with simple check curtains.’


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