check

1 of 3

verb

checked; checking; checks

transitive verb

1
a
: to inspect, examine, or look at appraisingly or appreciatively
usually used with out or over
The doctors checked him over for injuries.
checking out new cars
And so no, I won't help you to find a way to check out women in front of your wife.Amy Dickinson
b
: to compare with a source, original, or authority : verify
needs to check her facts
c
: to look at (something) to obtain information
checking a watch to see the time
check a map/schedule
d
: to look or reach into (something) to find what is there
Harry glanced around at Fred, who was looking anxious and checking his pockets.J. K. Rowling
e
: to access (email, voicemail, etc.) to find out if there are messages
kept checking her voice mail throughout the day
f
: to mark with a check as examined, verified, or satisfactory
often used with off
checked off each item
2
a
: to slow or bring to a stop : brake
hastily checked the impulse
b
: to block the progress of (someone, such as a hockey player)
3
: to leave or accept for safekeeping in a checkroom
check a coat
4
a
: to consign (something, such as luggage) to a common carrier from which one has purchased a passenger ticket
checked our bags before boarding
b
: to ship or accept for shipment under such a consignment
5
a
: to restrain or diminish the action or force of : control
tried to thwart or check our purposes in the legislature
b
: to slack or ease off (a rope) and then belay again
6
: to mark into squares : checker
check the cloth
7
: to put (a chess king) in check
8
: to make checks or chinks : cause to crack
the sun checks timber
9
chiefly dialectal : rebuke, reprimand

intransitive verb

1
a
: to investigate conditions
checked on the passengers' safety
b
: to prove to be consistent or truthful
The description checks with the photograph.
often used with out
The story checked out.
c
: to look at or in something to see or find what is there
check for messages on a cell phone
2
a
of a dog : to stop in a chase especially when scent is lost
b
: to halt through caution, uncertainty, or fear : stop
The train checked with a jolt …B. A. Williams
3
: to draw a check on a bank
4
: to waive the right to initiate the betting in a round of poker
5
: crack, split
Drying wood can cause it to check.

check

2 of 3

noun

1
a
: examination
a quick check of the engine
b
: the act of testing or verifying
making a check on the data
also : the sample or unit used for testing or verifying
c
: inspection, investigation
a loyalty check on government employees
d
: a standard for testing and evaluation : criterion
2
: a written order directing a bank to pay money as instructed : draft
Do you want to pay in cash, by check, or by credit card?
3
: one that arrests, limits, or restrains : restraint
… against all checks, rebukes, and manners, I must advance …William Shakespeare
4
a
: a sudden stoppage of a forward course or progress : arrest
The outbreak of war in 1939 gave a sudden check to the sculptor's work.Herbert Read
b
: a checking of an opposing player (as in ice hockey)
5
: a sudden pause or break in a progression
the invaders coming in without a check
6
a
: a slip indicating the amount due : bill
Ask the waiter for the check.
b
: a ticket or token showing ownership or identity or indicating payment made
a baggage check
c
: a counter in various games
7
: a mark typically ✓ placed beside an item to show it has been noted, examined, or verified
8
: exposure of a chess king to an attack from which he must be protected or moved to safety
with his king in check
9
[Middle English chek, short for cheker checker]
a
: a pattern in squares that resembles a checkerboard
bordered her plain shower curtain with a check in coordinating bathroom colors
b
: a fabric woven or printed with such a design
Fashionable checks come in all sizes and colors in both twill and square weaves.
10
11
archaic : reprimand, rebuke
checkless adjective

check

3 of 3

interjection

used to express assent or agreement
Phrases
check into
1
: to check in at
check into a hotel
2
: investigate
The police are checking into his alibi.
check that
informal
used to take back or correct a previous statement
"Sir, I don't know why but there must be a foot or two of water coming down Claiborne. No, check that—three feet."Christopher Cooper and Robert Block
check up on
: investigate
check up on a possible investment
in check
: under restraint or control
trying to keep his emotions in check
Choose the Right Synonym for check

restrain, check, curb, bridle mean to hold back from or control in doing something.

restrain suggests holding back by force or persuasion from acting or from going to extremes.

restrained themselves from laughing

check implies restraining or impeding a progress, activity, or impetus.

trying to check government spending

curb suggests an abrupt or drastic checking.

learn to curb your appetite

bridle implies keeping under control by subduing or holding in.

bridle an impulse to throw the book down

Examples of check in a Sentence

Verb Make sure to check your spelling. She checked her makeup in the mirror. We should check the equipment to make sure that it's working properly. The guards checked my passport. He checked his watch and saw that it was almost noon. I'll just check the map to see where we are. I'll check the newspaper to see when the movie starts. If you're looking for a spoon, check the top drawer. I checked his office but he wasn't there. If you're looking for the umbrella, check in the closet. Noun Please give the schedule a check to see if the times are correct. I gave the ingredients list a quick check to see if the cereal contained any sugar. She ran a quick check of the computer to make sure it was working properly. The police ran a check on the license plate and found out that the car had been stolen. He was penalized for an illegal check. He made out the check to me and signed it, and I deposited it in my account. Do you want to pay in cash, by check, or by credit card? a fabric with a blue and yellow check See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
The company recommends checking with your local restaurant to verify their breakfast hours. Gabe Hauari, USA TODAY, 27 Feb. 2024 More:Tax refunds from Michigan, IRS: How to check status of state, federal returns in 2024 Last year, about 23 million workers and their families received roughly $57 billion in the federal earned income tax credit as of December 2023, according to IRS data. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, 26 Feb. 2024 Before voting, the Michigan Secretary of State's office recommends checking that your polling place hasn't moved and that your registration status is current. Caitlin Yilek, CBS News, 26 Feb. 2024 First and foremost, when using AI for content creation, check your work. Lora Kratchounova, Forbes, 26 Feb. 2024 Carry a spud bar to check the ice while walking to new areas. Drew Dawson, Journal Sentinel, 26 Feb. 2024 The Florida regional president of Centennial Bank has applications to wade through, credit histories to check, and character references to carry out. Vinod Sreeharsha, Miami Herald, 26 Feb. 2024 To access the content, check your email and follow the instructions provided. Chris Eberhart, Fox News, 15 Feb. 2024 Outside of the emergency room, women are less likely than men both to have an electrocardiogram to check their heart's electrical activity (74% of women compared to nearly 79% of men) and to be admitted to the hospital or an observation unit (12% of women compared to nearly 18% of men). Eva Epker, Forbes, 15 Feb. 2024
Noun
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors issued an apology Tuesday to the city’s Black community for decades of discrimination - but issuing $5 million checks to make up for the harm is another matter. Jorge L. Ortiz, USA TODAY, 28 Feb. 2024 Cheers paid for the settlement with two cashiers checks presented on the day of her plea, the DA’s announcement said. Jakob Rodgers, The Mercury News, 28 Feb. 2024 President Biden Has Begun Using a CPAP Machine for Sleep Apnea His lab work — which entailed a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP), urinalysis, complete blood count (CBC) and level checks of vitamin D, homocysteine, magnesium, folate and creatine kinase — returned normal. Kyler Alvord, Peoplemag, 28 Feb. 2024 The store had switched from an official payroll system to paper checks from Jones. Andrea Klick, Kansas City Star, 27 Feb. 2024 In the 1987 film 84 Charing Cross Road, a transatlantic transaction between a lover of books and a bookseller was snail’s pace slow as letters crossed the oceans, checks, and so on. John Tamny, Forbes, 27 Feb. 2024 Everyone isn't set to receive an extra check at the same time. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, 27 Feb. 2024 But high clouds will keep temperatures in check for most of the day. David Montesino, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, 27 Feb. 2024 In addition to the end of the monthly checks, providers’ costs have increased along with inflation — for food, supplies and liability and property insurance. Claire Cain Miller, New York Times, 26 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'check.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun and Verb

Middle English chek, from Anglo-French eschec, from Arabic shāh, from Persian, literally, king; akin to Greek ktasthai to acquire, Sanskrit kṣatra dominion

First Known Use

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 7

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 8

Interjection

1922, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of check was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near check

Cite this Entry

“Check.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/check. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

check

1 of 2 noun
1
: the exposing of a chess king to attack
2
: a sudden stopping of progress
3
: something that delays, stops, or holds back : restraint
4
5
: a written order telling a bank to pay out money from a person's or company's account to the one named on the order
pay a bill by check
cash a check
6
a
: a ticket or token that shows that the bearer has a claim to something
a baggage check
b
: a slip of paper showing the amount due : bill
7
a
: a pattern of squares
b
: a fabric with such a design
8
: a mark ✓ placed beside an item to show it has been noted

check

2 of 2 verb
1
: to put a chess king in check
2
a
: to bring to a stop
to check an impulse
b
: to come to a stop
3
: to hold back : restrain, curb
checked her temper
4
a
: to make sure that something is correct or satisfactory
check your blood pressure
check it out with a teacher
b
: to inspect, examine, or look at
checking out new cars
checked over the damage
5
: to mark with a check
check the first item
6
: to mark with squares : checker
7
: to leave or accept for safekeeping or for shipment
check baggage
8
: to be the same on every point : tally
Etymology

Noun

Middle English chek "check (in chess), attack," from early French eschec (same meaning), from Arabic shāh "check (in chess)," from a Persian word meaning literally "king" — related to checker, chess

Legal Definition

check

noun
1
: something that limits or restrains see also checks and balances
2
: a written order signed by its maker directing a bank to pay a specified sum to a named person or to that person's order on demand see also negotiable instrument compare draft
bank check
: a check drawn by a bank on its deposits in another bank
cashier's check
: a check drawn by a bank on its own funds and signed by the cashier or another bank official
certified check
: a check certified to be good by the bank upon which it is drawn by the signature of usually the cashier or paying teller with the word certified or accepted across the face of the check
NSF check Not Sufficient Funds
: a check drawn on an account with insufficient funds from which to make payment

More from Merriam-Webster on check

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