Definition of exchequer in English:



  • 1A royal or national treasury.

    ‘an important source of revenue to the sultan's exchequer’
    • ‘Just think what even a small portion of this sum would do for the Irish exchequer.’
    • ‘The most important post in judging the character of the government is its finance minister and chancellor of the exchequer.’
    • ‘The squeeze on the public exchequer also affects welfare expenditure adversely.’
    • ‘Every 15,000 extra people unemployed costs the exchequer €100 million in Social Welfare payments " he said.’
    • ‘Other countries have auctioned the radio spectrum and vast inflows have accrued to national exchequers.’
    • ‘By 2005 the ensuing renewed prosperity could be apparent, with more cash coming into the exchequer to spend.’
    • ‘At last the public exchequer has recognised the need for support and encouragement of the civilising Arts of life as a part of their duty.’
    • ‘However, the Government remains unaware of the cost to the exchequer of an additional 33 tax schemes.’
    • ‘Just as the finance available to the exchequer varies every year, the priorities on which it ought to be spent change dramatically over time.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, the state exchequer still stands to gain from the fines collected by the police.’
    • ‘The party was effectively using the national exchequer for its own political purposes.’
    • ‘A master stroke-it will solve the pension problems, boost the economy and the exchequer in one fell blow.’
    • ‘There will be no further exchequer funding, and the agency is now depending on rental income.’
    • ‘So much for the contention that auctions guarantee huge revenue inflows to national exchequers.’
    • ‘That, we respectfully submit, relates directly to a depredation upon the exchequer of the Commonwealth.’
    • ‘In response the government need only point to the huge gain that has accrued to the exchequer from lowering corporation and capital taxes.’
    • ‘And as costs mount up and up, seemingly to be fixed on the public exchequer, there is no hint of concern from the government.’
    • ‘Thus, the direct burden on the public exchequer in creating infrastructure assets could further increase.’
    • ‘After all, it is the private sector that generates exchequer funding for the public system in the first place.’
    • ‘The money for the two aircraft will come from central exchequer funds.’
    fund, funds, reserves, resources, money, finances, wealth, cash, wherewithal, capital, assets, deep pockets, purse, kitty, pool, bank, treasury, exchequer
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    1. 1.1British The account at the Bank of England in which is held the Consolidated Fund, into which tax receipts and other public monies are paid.
      ‘each of the protesters will be liable to a fixed fine, which could raise £200m for the Exchequer’
      • ‘A bottle of Jacob's Creek wine costs €8.95 in Bray, Co Wicklow, and €7.90 in Belfast, a difference of €1.05, with €3.60 going to the Irish Exchequer and €2.94 going to the British Exchequer.’
      • ‘Last Tuesday, the government published its first quarter exchequer returns.’
      • ‘The British exchequer raised stg £22 billion from the sale of third generation licences to several phone companies.’
      • ‘Ricardo reasoned that if ‘Government delayed receiving the tax for one year… it would, perhaps, be obliged to issue an Exchequer bill bearing interest, and it would pay as much for interest as the consumer would save in price.’’
      • ‘Is the trade-off of high-status acquisitions against parental childcare an issue that needs redressing with exchequer funds?’
      • ‘A detailed analysis of returns show an exchequer surplus of 594 million during the first nine months of 2002.’
      • ‘Foot-and-mouth cost the Exchequer £229,299 up to April 20.’
      • ‘Mr Ahern said the end-of-year returns which showed an Exchequer surplus had confounded economists who predicted sizeable deficits.’
      • ‘He promised an Exchequer surplus of £135m by raising indirect taxes and also diverting £1.6bn to national coffers from the PRSI fund, Central Bank commissions on new euro notes and coins and making companies pay their taxes earlier.’
      • ‘The Court of Queen's Bench refused the rule, but it was granted in the Court of Exchequer Chamber.’
      • ‘The Exchequer will not be the only beneficiaries.’
      • ‘In his quarterly economic outlook for the year, McLaughlin forecast GNP of 6pc, inflation at 2.5pc, unemployment at 4.3pc and an Exchequer balance of E0.4bn.’
      • ‘The decision of the King's Bench was appealed - removed on error - to the Court of Exchequer Chamber.’
      • ‘This was prompted by Fianna Fail's withholding of land annuities to the British exchequer.’
      • ‘This is both a reflection of the importance attached to marketing as a driver of growth and a strong endorsement of the performance of the two agencies in delivering value for this Exchequer investment.’
      • ‘Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, told BBC television the government ‘is satisfied there is legal authority’ for military action.’
    2. 1.2British historical The former government office responsible for collecting revenue and making payments on behalf of the sovereign, auditing official accounts, and trying legal cases relating to revenue.
      • ‘Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1874-80, Northcote succeeded Disraeli as leader in the Commons in 1876, though his unease with the premier's policy over the Eastern Question became evident.’


Middle English: from Old French eschequier, from medieval Latin scaccarium chessboard, from scaccus (see check). The original sense was ‘chessboard’. Current senses derive from the Norman department of state dealing with the royal revenues, named Exchequer from the chequered tablecloth on which accounts were kept by means of counters. The spelling was influenced by Latin ex- out (see ex). Compare with chequer.