Main definitions of check in US 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 anemia’
    • ‘Then the muscles are checked to determine whether the substance has had any negative effect.’
    • ‘He has personally vetted them, checking them for technical quality, even spent time on the phone with producers.’
    • ‘In this way the operator can check field conditions before irrigation.’
    • ‘Dermatologists often check the mouth to determine a skin diagnosis or detect sexually transmitted diseases.’
    • ‘As data is collected, the weather officer checks it for accuracy and sends it to the center through satellite downlink every 30 seconds.’
    • ‘A welcome hiatus in proceedings gives me a chance to check my emails.’
    • ‘Injuries are scored with the 1990 revision of the abbreviated injury scale, and all scoring is checked centrally to ensure accuracy and consistency.’
    • ‘A second native-speaker of each target language checked each translation for accuracy.’
    • ‘He is alert, listens carefully to question after question and scans his answers as if to check them for accuracy.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It is therefore very important that that you check the forms for accuracy and notify your custodian of any discrepancies.’
    • ‘In fact, I gave the book to my father to check it for accuracy.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When completed, a random sample of returned questionnaires was checked to ensure accuracy of data entry.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Files are checked for image quality, size and layout (but not necessarily color).’
    • ‘He added that estate agents had no responsibility for checking the condition properties are left in.’
    examine, inspect, look at, look over, scrutinize, scan, survey
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Verify or establish to one's satisfaction.
      with clause ‘she glanced over her shoulder to check that the door was shut’
      ‘check the expiration date on your passport’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It is more important than ever these days to check the terms and conditions on new cards before signing on the dotted line.’
      • ‘She opened the door to check no-one was about to walk in on them.’
      • ‘She checked the hallway and determined it was empty.’
      • ‘Never reveal details over the telephone without checking or establishing the caller's identity, and never disclose online passwords or card PINs.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘For information about broadcast times and availability, check the Market Journal program schedule.’
      • ‘He checked a clock next to the bed. 3: 23.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Then I checked my own booking confirmation for New York.’
      • ‘That was when I discovered he'd really come back to check that Harry had come home and was safe.’
      • ‘The board can also require the offender to be subject to electronic monitoring to check compliance with these conditions.’
      • ‘Team captains should check their Campus Rec web pages for the dates, times and locations of their captain's meeting.’
      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’
      • ‘Keep your receipts to check against your monthly statements so that you can report any transactions you don't recognise;’
      • ‘It will need simple but accurate budgets and forecasts to check against actual income and expenditure.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Historical facts cannot be verified, but only checked against other subjective accounts.’
      • ‘They make it possible for the reader to believe in the accuracy of descriptions he cannot check against his own surroundings.’
      • ‘A programme of ‘preferred agencies’ has also been instituted, and agency nurses have a personal identification number which can be checked against qualifications.’
      • ‘All containers are verified for weight and checked against the team's manifest.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And clearly, whatever he tells us will have to be checked against other people's recollection and intelligence that is collected on the ground.’
      • ‘New cases are checked against existing cases in the registry to prevent duplicate entries.’
      • ‘When a statement is formulated, it is checked against the totality of existing statements.’
      • ‘There are also lists of names and phone numbers that U.S. intelligence officials were checking against lists of known terrorists.’
      • ‘But the accuracy of Canaletto's paintings has been checked against present-day photographs.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The information is checked against databases to verify documents and flag names that appear on terrorist or law enforcement watch lists.’
      • ‘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).’
    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’
      • ‘I looked out and checked at what Kate was doing.’
      • ‘Also, do you reply to the e-mails directly or should I periodically check the website?’
      • ‘Azalea even checks the news sites right then.’
      • ‘Jason once again reminds me why it's worth checking his site every day.’
      • ‘I checked at my watch to see the time displayed on it: 7:31 pm.’
      look at, observe, survey, gaze at, regard, inspect, contemplate
      View synonyms
  • 2Stop or slow down the progress of (something undesirable)

    ‘efforts were made to check the disease’
    • ‘The electoral parties have a task to curb, check and eliminate communalism.’
    • ‘Although the Swedes were far from defeated, their seemingly unstoppable progress had been checked.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Thus it is clear that if governments are determined to curb communal violence it can be effectively checked.’
    • ‘There is no one who can stop or check the world's only superpower.’
    • ‘He wanted to check the bleeding, but he knew better than to stop applying pressure.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Seafarers believe that the Government has to take drastic steps to check the flow of workers from Indian ships to foreign vessels.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But there have been no stringent checks of diesel quality to check emission levels as in the West, he says.’
    • ‘The enemy would be checked by a series of hinterland fortifications while the field army closed in.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    halt, stop, arrest, bring to a standstill, cut short
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 Curb or restrain (a feeling or emotion)
      ‘he learned to check his excitement’
      • ‘Marcus remained silent while his temple pulsed and he checked his anger.’
      • ‘Ann couldn't check a half-cry of laughter as she said, ‘How kind of you to remember my existence’.’
      • ‘He seems incapable of checking his rage and increasingly bent on causing real harm to others.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Kate licked her lips and tried to check her anger.’
      • ‘From here on, reaction stiffened, although checked by the ministry for some years.’
      • ‘Hurriedly Violet checked the laugh bubbling up in her throat and asked Alice for her opinion.’
      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.’
      • ‘There will be guys really after him, checking him hard game in and game out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘For some reason, I always had good luck checking Richard.’
      • ‘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 traveling.

    ‘I checked my bag and got my boarding pass’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Pack vital prescriptions in carry-on, not checked, luggage.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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. 3.1 Deposit (a coat, bag, or other item) for temporary safekeeping in the cloakroom of a restaurant, theater, etc.
      ‘the drinks weren't expensive and there's no cover charge but you do have to check your coat for $3.00’
      • ‘Eighty-seven percent now think checking a laptop at a coat check is too risky.’
      • ‘Upon entering and ascending the stairs, we checked our coats ($1) and stepped into what would become quite the memorable evening.’
      • ‘I got a job checking coats at the local club.’
      • ‘Some visitors to multiplexes do not choose to check their brains at the theater door.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The Ikea has a place to check your coat, and they give you fancy shopping carts.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘She is a 58-year-old New Yorker who has worked for 13 years checking coats at a restaurant on East 52nd Street.’
      • ‘After checking my coat, I introduced myself to Terri, a recruiter who had flown up from southern California to host the event.’
      • ‘I checked our coats and ordered a bottle of the cheapest wine available.’
      • ‘We came inside with wet umbrellas and checked them with the coat check.’
  • 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I checked the appropriate box in the juror's questionnaire.’
    • ‘It's as simple as checking a few boxes in your Apple Account settings.’
    • ‘To turn on this feature, just open up Evernote's options and check the box next to "Related Results".’
    • ‘In some cases, parents didn't check the right box to get the $300 child payment.’
    • ‘Exactly what did you think you were doing when you checked the box next to Liberal?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Under the "Windows 8 Settings" tab, you can check a box to skip the Start screen at login.’
  • 5Chess
    Move a piece or pawn so that (the opposing king) is under attack.

    • ‘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 the action to move to another player.

    • ‘The turn (4th Street) brings the 4, and your opponents both check, suggesting their hands are weak.’
    • ‘If everyone checks, all the poker hands are exposed and the player with the highest hand takes the pot.’
    • ‘Each player may check, bet, call, or raise as usual, staking the required amount for each card they hold.’
    • ‘If the first player checks, the next player can bet or check, and so on clockwise around the table.’
    • ‘Successful players also know that it can be a big mistake to bet when two or three players have checked.’
  • 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’
    • ‘We would recommend that all elderly drivers have regular health checks.’
    • ‘A routine background check revealed that his student visa had expired.’
    • ‘The agency said it was unclear how the fish died though the tests would include checks for pollutants.’
    • ‘The council has a legal duty to do safety checks to gas appliances in its rented homes at least every 12 months.’
    • ‘The mark is only awarded to organisations that pass regular quality checks.’
    • ‘The Council said today the couple had passed checks and examinations to national standards to become foster carers.’
    • ‘Let's face it, most landscapers are not going to do a thorough criminal background check on their help.’
    • ‘Take-off was delayed for around 90 minutes while engineers carried out safety checks and tested the brakes.’
    • ‘Currently no formal driving test or health check is needed before a person can get behind the wheel of a motorised scooter.’
    • ‘I gave myself a last check in the mirror and was satisfied with my appearance.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A check had revealed that the council owned 14,000 commercial properties, including many shops.’
    • ‘Further checks revealed that all their cylinders were contaminated, so the dive was aborted.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There are on average 16 separate checks and tests carried out on every boiler service.’
    • ‘Since the tragedy, the world's only fleet of supersonic jets has undergone safety modifications, rigorous checks and numerous test flights.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Now checks at airports around the world are routine, costly and time-consuming.’
    • ‘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.’
    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 check to expansion is sharp and is intensified by the excesses inevitably associated with periods of over-rapid expansion.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A check to the growth of the population would do great harm.’
    • ‘The key phrase in the argument is if there were no impediments or checks to population growth.’
    1. 2.1 A means of control or restraint.
      ‘a permanent check upon the growth or abuse of central authority’
      • ‘The reason there are prosecutions proceeding is that the statutory checks and controls on that situation cannot be exercised.’
      • ‘Unlike the modern police state, to which it is often compared, Venice feared power and surrounded it with checks and deterrents.’
      • ‘One of the press's most important functions is to serve as a check on government.’
      • ‘With the media supporting him and gleefully reporting on leaked information about the investigation, there was no effective check on his abuse of power.’
      • ‘Both writers describe natural, divine and civil checks upon the power of the sovereign who must respect the natural dominion of his subjects.’
      • ‘Instead, workers make decisions working with minimal checks and controls.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 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?’
      • ‘He also raised the issue of greater restrictions and checks being placed on people who are granted visas to work in this country.’
      • ‘The politicians, taking a page from the DC Republicans' playbook, want to take full control of the state with no checks, no balances.’
      • ‘The problem is the lack of checks and controls on this system.’
      • ‘The group degenerated into a bunch of randomly run fiefdoms, with octogenarians on the boards and no modern management systems, checks, or 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.’
      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.
      • ‘As the game progressed, the Warriors began to control the rink, throwing thunderous checks and opening up the offence.’
      • ‘In the last game he played before this season, Lindros was knocked unconscious by a flying check from the Devils' Scott Stevens.’
      • ‘He always finishes his checks and you hate playing against guys like that, rather than a tough guy who just knows how to fight.’
      • ‘The Thunderwolves crashed the UW net and used their superior speed to break away from checks.’
      • ‘‘You know Todd is going to finish his checks,’ says Red Wings forward Doug Brown.’
    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 A false stoop when a hawk abandons its intended quarry and pursues other prey.
  • 3Chess
    A move by which a piece or pawn directly attacks the opponent's king. If the defending player cannot counter the attack, the king is checkmated.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The idea is to use the Rook to shelter its King from upcoming checks.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 4A written order to a bank to pay a stated sum from the drawer's account.

    ‘he was awarded a check for $1,000’
    • ‘She ripped out a check and signed it. "Here," she said, handing me the blank check. "Fill in the amount."’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It would be lovely if one of the studios would just write us a check!’
    • ‘Please take a moment to write a check or phone in a contribution.’
    • ‘I took out my checkbook, wrote out a check for $50 and gave it to him.’
    • ‘Of course, people who have recently cashed checks are catnip to muggers.’
    • ‘Technology has pretty much eliminated the need for me to sign checks.’
    • ‘She used the name Lizzie only when signing checks.’
    • ‘Several customers had written checks that bounced and the vendor that she depended on for products went out of business.’
    1. 4.1North American The bill in a 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.’
      • ‘Geoff looked at the check, threw some bills on the table, and taking her hand led her from the restaurant.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Can we have the check please?’
      • ‘Ben took the check up to the counter, since the waiter had never returned, while the two women went into the parking lot.’
      • ‘Justin called for the check and signed the bill before he tied the blindfold around Alex's head.’
      • ‘When you return to your table, you pay your check and leave the restaurant without telling the manager about your sickness.’
      • ‘We got our bill, paid the check, and made our way enthusiastically to Billy's Bakery.’
      • ‘This software can analyze a restaurant's checks and produce reports on what wines are ordered with what entrées.’
      • ‘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.’
    • ‘In one whirl of frantic movement, I scooped up every single check in sight.’
    • ‘The gambling checks weren't worth anything, not until you cashed them at the casino cage.’
  • 7North American

    short for check mark
    • ‘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 that catches the hammer and prevents it from 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.

    • ‘‘Hey, what do you say we go to get some beer’? ‘Check.’’
    • ‘Personal woes? You got 'em. Troubled childhood? Check.’
    • ‘Great design … check. Wide selection … check.’
    • ‘‘Tell her I've found out all she wants to know.’ ‘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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The checks and balances and disciplines that keep intolerance in check may also go.’
      • ‘Without drugs holding the attack in check, the donor tissue is eventually destroyed.’
      • ‘Growers use fungicides and biological control agents to keep the mold in check.’
      • ‘The move is designed to keep house price inflation and borrowing in check.’
      • ‘It is about ensuring that industry has a competitive cost base and that price inflation is kept in check.’
      • ‘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.

      • ‘If a player leaves his king in check he makes an illegal move.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 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.’’
      • ‘Jennifer did visit her friend regularly last year, but kept a check on her from a distance.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I've been so absorbed in the conversation I forgot about keeping a check on the tape levels.’
      • ‘Everyone kept a check on their neighbours' movements, ready to point the finger if the disease should be found.’
      • ‘He suggested keeping a check on how employees dealt with the public - perhaps by pretending to be a customer.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The guys took care of checking us in while I said goodbye to my aunt.’
      • ‘Within no time we were checked in, unpacked and ready to hit the town.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After checking us in, she gave us directions to local refuges like Red Sand Beach, Makahiku Falls, Waianapanapa State Park, and the Venus Pool.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Kate drove across the city to a hotel and checked herself in.’
      • ‘Andrew took us to a hotel and checked us in.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘No longer do you join one long queue and wait for the first available staff member to check you in.’
      • ‘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.’
      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 traveling.

      ‘I got a taxi to the airport and checked my bags in’
      • ‘We checked in our luggage and went through the Customs to declare a painting we'd bought.’
      • ‘I checked in my luggage, collected the boarding pass and went to the passport control.’
      • ‘‘I cannot recall your bags, sir, after they have been checked in’.’
      • ‘At the airport, Mom and Dad stood by as we checked in our bags.’
      • ‘Passengers with luggage will have to check it in the main departure hall, the airline said.’
      • ‘I hate carrying round hand baggage and checked in my overnight bag.’
      • ‘I won't be checking any baggage in, so there won't be any baggage hall reclaim horrors to endure.’
      • ‘Bewildered tourists check their baggage in at the airline desks, and are then ordered back towards the main exit to join the queue.’
      • ‘The two players got as far as the Heathrow terminal, then checked in their bags and disappeared into airport crowds.’
      • ‘We just checked in our luggage, got our boarding pass and now we're going to head into security.’
      • ‘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.’
      1. 1.1Deposit a coat, bag, or other item for temporary safekeeping in the cloakroom of a restaurant, theater, etc.
        ‘he was checking in his coat on the second floor when people started rushing past him’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘In each of these venues you'll have wanted to check in your coat the moment you got through the door.’
        • ‘Be prepared for the sobering sight of guns being checked in alongside coats in the cloakrooms.’
  • check into

    • Register one's arrival at (a hotel).

      • ‘He checks into a hotel and finds Catherine with her friend Miss Ferguson.’
      • ‘After checking into my hotel, I decided to drop by the registration tent for some festival material to get myself oriented.’
      • ‘Brosnan escapes British custody and goes directly to his favorite hotel, where he checks into the suite under his own name.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Arriving in Kuwait City in the late afternoon, he checks into his hotel, walks around Kuwait City, and then goes to bed.’
      • ‘He then checks into another hotel, under orders from the mysterious Count.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘From there he checks into a hotel, where he remains for two days.’
  • check something off

    • Mark an item on a list, typically with a check mark, to show that it has been dealt with.

      ‘check off each assignment as you complete it’
      • ‘I was excited to check another task off of my list of things to do.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As we gave him our names, he checked them off from a list.’
      • ‘I look as if I'm checking items off my shopping list or consulting my schedule.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They hand the receipt to the salesperson and he checks the list off with his black marker.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Gabrielle made a stop at his desk and glanced at him, before checking his name off the list.’
      • ‘Chris handed her two tickets and she checked their names off on a list before looking up and saying, ‘Next?’’
  • check on

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

      ‘the doctor had come to check on his patient’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘Ms Butler was recovering in her cottage near Croke Park yesterday as friends and neighbours checked on her condition.’
      • ‘Lu went to the hospital to check on Mrs Tipping's condition but she had left.’
      • ‘The two divers were looking for whale bones, and checking on the condition of previously uncovered wrecks.’
      • ‘Hong Kong health authorities, in the meantime, began random manual checks on the health conditions of travelers at two of its control points.’
      • ‘She busied herself with the task, while most of the others were checking on Sara's condition.’
      • ‘The 47 year-old McGovern worked the long and hectic schedule of a cardiologist, often checking on his patients late in the evenings.’
      • ‘After answering a few more of our questions he got up to check on the patient and then left the house.’
      • ‘She called 999 and stayed with her dad, Chris, checking on his condition as the emergency operator talked her through the situation.’
    • 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.

      • ‘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 checked out of the hotel, and went to the airport.’
      • ‘The next day we woke up around 12 and checked out of our hotel.’
      • ‘The veteran rocker had checked out of the hotel after the Manhattan show, but left behind a piece of luggage, police said.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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.’
  • check someone/something out

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

      ‘they decided to go and check out a local restaurant’
      • ‘These explanations will be checked out to establish whether or not they are genuine.’
      • ‘I checked it out and did some research before deciding to buy one for my business in Limerick.’
      • ‘Run, don't walk to your favourite store and check this one out!’
      • ‘I've checked it out with some local journalists.’
      • ‘The investigator definitely should check it out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But after a local friend checked it out for me, I concluded it was a fraud and stayed home.’
      • ‘Do yourself a favour and check 'em out next time they play.’
      • ‘So anyway, my local police are checking the whole thing out.’
      • ‘If I was a young musician, I would check other things out, investigate.’
      investigate, look into, enquire into, probe, research, sound out, examine, go over, go through, vet
      View synonyms
    • 2Enter the price of goods in a supermarket into a cash machine for addition and payment by a customer.

      1. 2.1Register something as having been borrowed.
        • ‘Another way I found to get free music to listen to is to simply check out the CD at the library.’
        • ‘I borrowed the book, so can't check it out again just now.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘A parent library is available, and books and movies can be checked out.’
        • ‘Eight-year-old Lewis checks out a book as part of his detective work.’
        • ‘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.’
  • check something over

    • Inspect or examine something thoroughly.

      • ‘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 checked it over and apart from a bit of swelling from where the ring was it was okay.’
      • ‘But the company will have to fulfil all of the issues needing consultation - for instance, checking things over with residents.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Mr Young was taken to Bradford Royal Infirmary where his head injuries were checked over.’
      • ‘Excellent service from the gas engineer - he checked the system over and repressurized it - that cured the immediate problem.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      look at, observe, survey, gaze at, regard, inspect, contemplate
      View synonyms
  • check through

    • Inspect or examine thoroughly.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A spokeswoman said: ‘It is still a case of getting some last-second details from some of the bidders and checking through those bids.’’
      • ‘The crew checked through the list of names of all passengers on board and confirmed that one was missing.’
      • ‘Teenagers I've spoken to have compared it to a parent checking through the messages on their mobile phone without asking.’
      • ‘The firm is now checking through its records to see who and how many claims are affected.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Constance was busy preparing for her wedding, checking through the guest list, going over her dowries, and rehearsing four times in one week.’
  • check up on

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

      • ‘I also do lots of checking up on who's going to be there at the weekend.’
      • ‘The morning passed uneventfully as Liz worked through and paid bills, checked up on their investments, and answered all her email.’
      • ‘Government inspectors plan to visit the borough in June to check up on whether the council is providing value for money for its residents.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘From a quick browse through his recent archive too, it's one that will be added to the list to check up on regularly.’
      • ‘Record numbers of parents have recruited private investigators to check up on their tearaway teenagers.’
      • ‘The question is whether we have to check up on and bother everyone in order to deal with the bad cases.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They were made to go to church six times on Sunday, and were checked up on if they didn't show up.’


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 US English:

: check1check2



  • 1A pattern of small squares.

    ‘a fine black-and-white check’
    • ‘The shop also stocks the stylish Daks sports jacket in spring's light yellow with blue checks to complement the blue trousers.’
    • ‘Patterns ranged from small ginghams to windowpane checks to colorful mid-sized madras plaids.’
    • ‘Intense colours, pinstripes and trendy glen checks are all found on soft micro fibre fabrics.’
    • ‘Blazers in other colours look better as do sports jackets with small checks.’
    • ‘For winter, the best bet is a cozy scarf with the classic check, which comes in a number of colors.’
    • ‘It's easier to select a necktie to go with a plain blue shirt than one with checks or stripes.’
    • ‘This year, ancient Italian men are wearing generously cut worsted suits, either with waistcoat or cardigan, in natural earth colours with muted checks.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They vary from simple patterns, such as alternating checks, triangles, or diamonds, to complex combined motifs.’
    • ‘He was wearing a dark shirt with blue checks, dark trousers and black shoes.’
    • ‘Gingham is a lightweight, washable, stout fabric that is woven in checks, plaids or stripes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Katy knew that shirt, soft cotton with red and blue checks.’
    • ‘If you're looking for trendy patterns, go for paisley, floral, plaid, checks, and herringbone.’
    1. 1.1 A garment or fabric with a pattern of small squares.
      • ‘Radiant with warm colours, cashmere and floral designs are combined with traditional English fabrics such as tweeds and checks.’
      • ‘The tailoring is classic and structured and the subtle pinstripes and tonal coloured checks feature soft detailing.’
      • ‘Terminology has always been a challenge - one designer may describe a fabric as a gingham, the next a check.’
      • ‘What happens when you throw checks and plaid into the mix?’
      • ‘The shirt range consists of solids in twills, poplins, structures, linens and checks.’
      • ‘Everywhere she looked there were checks and chintz, ruffles and fringes.’
      • ‘Blended checks, speckled materials and colourful herringbones amid reversible two colour fabrics all make impact.’
      • ‘Plaids and checks are generally harder to mix and match with one another, and tend to be associated with more conservative and classier looks.’
      • ‘I was, I recall, wearing a brand-new linen suit in a rather dashing hound's-tooth check.’
      • ‘Perhaps she likes 80s inspired punk fabrics, or checks or gingham or something else all together.’
      • ‘And yet they made those wonderful clothes for other people - tweeds, cords, mohairs, checks, tartans.’
      • ‘Her coats featured jewel encrusted collars and belts, also made in tweed and checks.’
      • ‘My mother wore his houndstooth check to amble through the launderettes with Marietta.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Use chintz, damask and toiles along with classic stripes, checks and textured plain fabrics.’
      • ‘While last fall emphasized on simplicity, leather and denim, this fall is about checks, tweed and denim (again).’
      • ‘The comforter is bound on three side and reverses to a gingham check for a change when you want something different.’


  • attributive Having a pattern of small squares.

    ‘a blue check T-shirt’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘He was wearing a green check shirt, black trousers and black shoes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All he needed was a pair of check pants and a straw hat and he'd look like the consummate car salesman.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When last seen, he was wearing a navy blazer, a light-blue check shirt, navy trousers, and black shoes.’
    • ‘I bought a rather nasty check suit in New York 15 years ago that I never wore.’
    • ‘A short grey check umbrella was lost from a bike basket on Friday, December 13.’
    • ‘The bistro is all red and white check tablecloths, jumbo pepper grinders and piped Pavarotti.’
    • ‘Twenty something pretty city traders in questionable chalk striped suit and check shirt combos.’
    • ‘But there's something youthful about him and it isn't just his Beatle cut and jazzy check shirt.’


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