First Name
in the U.S.
since 1880
Last Name
in the U.S.
in 2010
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Meaning and Origin

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Origin and Meaning of Check

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Webster's Unabridged Dictionary
noun Check
  1. [Chess] A word of warning denoting that the king is in danger; such a menace of a player's king by an adversary's move as would, if it were any other piece, expose it to immediate capture. A king so menaced is said to be in check, and must be made safe at the next move.
  2. A condition of interrupted or impeded progress; arrest; stop; delay; as, to hold an enemy in check ."Which gave a remarkable check to the first progress of Christianity." [Addison.]"No check, no stay, this streamlet fears." [Wordsworth.]
  3. Whatever arrests progress, or limits action; an obstacle, guard, restraint, or rebuff."Useful check upon the administration of government." [Washington.]"A man whom no check could abash." [Macaulay.]
  4. A mark, certificate, or token, by which, errors may be prevented, or a thing or person may be identified; as, checks placed against items in an account; a check given for baggage; a return check on a railroad.
  5. A written order directing a bank or banker to pay money as therein stated. See Bank check, below.
  6. A woven or painted design in squares resembling the patten of a checkerboard; one of the squares of such a design; also, cloth having such a figure.
  7. [Falconry] The forsaking by a hawk of its proper game to follow other birds.
  8. Small chick or crack.
    synonyms: Hindrance; setback; interruption; obstruction; reprimand; censure; rebuke; reproof; repulse; rebuff; tally; counterfoil; counterbalance; ticket; draft.

Etymology: OE. chek, OF. eschec, F. échec, a stop, hindrance, orig. check in the game of chess, pl. échecs chess, through Ar., fr. Pers. shāh king. See Shah, and cf. Checkmate Chess Checker

verb Check
  1. [Chess] To make a move which puts an adversary's piece, esp. his king, in check; to put in check.
  2. To put a sudden restraint upon; to stop temporarily; to hinder; to repress; to curb.Hence,[Ice Hockey] To obstruct the motion of an opposing player by contacting him with one's body."So many clogs to check and retard the headlong course of violence and oppression." [Burke.]
  3. To verify, to guard, to make secure, by means of a mark, token, or other check; to distinguish by a check; to put a mark against (an item) after comparing with an original or a counterpart in order to secure accuracy.Hence,To compare with an original or with some standard, to insure correctness; as, to check an account; to check with a supervisor about procedures.
  4. To chide, rebuke, or reprove."The good king, his master, will check him for it." [Shak.]
  5. [Naut] To slack or ease off, as a brace which is too stiffly extended.
  6. To make checks or chinks in; to cause to crack; as, the sun checks timber.
  7. To leave (something) in the temporary custody of another; as, to check baggage; to check one's firearms at the door; to check one's coat at the cloakroom.
  8. To accept (something) for temporary custody from another; as, to check a customer's baggage; to check a customer's coat.
  9. To make a checkered pattern upon.
    synonyms: To restrain; curb; bridle; repress; control; hinder; impede; obstruct; interrupt; tally; rebuke; reprove; rebuff.
verb Check
To make a stop; to pause; -- with at.
  1. To clash or interfere.(R)
  2. To act as a curb or restraint."It [his presence checks too strong upon me." [Dryden.]
  3. To crack or gape open, as wood in drying; or to crack in small checks, as varnish, paint, etc.
  4. [Falconry] To turn, when in pursuit of proper game, and fly after other birds."And like the haggard, check at every feather That comes before his eye." [Shak.]
adjective Check
Checkered; designed in checks.
Other Dictionary Sources
  1. The act of inspecting or verifying ("they made a check of their equipment" and "the pilot ran through the check-out procedure")
  2. (chess) a direct attack on an opponent's king
  3. Obstructing an opponent in ice hockey
  4. The act of restraining power or action or limiting excess
  5. A textile pattern of squares or crossed lines (resembling a checkerboard) ("she wore a skirt with checks")
  6. A mark left after a small piece has been chopped or broken off of something
  7. Something immaterial that interferes with or delays action or progress
  8. An appraisal of the state of affairs ("a check on its dependability under stress")
  9. Additional proof that something that was believed (some fact or hypothesis or theory) is correct
  10. The bill in a restaurant ("he asked the waiter for the check")
  11. A mark indicating that something has been noted or completed etc. ("as he called the role he put a check mark by each student's name")
  12. A written order directing a bank to pay money ("he paid all his bills by check")
  13. The state of inactivity following an interruption ("held them in check")
  14. Become fractured; break or crack on the surface only
  15. Make cracks or chinks in ("The heat checked the paint")
  16. Arrest the motion (of something) abruptly ("He checked the flow of water by shutting off the main valve")
  17. Slow the growth or development of
  18. Examine so as to determine accuracy, quality, or condition ("check the brakes" and "Check out the engine")
  19. Put a check mark on or near or next to ("Please check each name on the list")
  20. Be careful or certain to do something; make certain of something
  21. Verify by consulting a source or authority ("check the spelling of this word" and "check your facts")
  22. Find out, learn, or determine with certainty, usually by making an inquiry or other effort ("Check whether the train leaves on time")
  23. Write out a check on a bank account
  24. Place into check ("He checked my kings")
  25. Hold back, as of a danger or an enemy; check the expansion or influence of ("Check the growth of communism in South East Asia")
  26. Decline to initiate betting
  27. Mark into squares or draw squares on; draw crossed lines on
  28. Stop for a moment, as if out of uncertainty or caution ("She checked for an instant and missed a step")
  29. Stop in a chase especially when scent is lost ("The dog checked")
  30. Abandon the intended prey, turn, and pursue an inferior prey
  31. Hand over something to somebody as for temporary safekeeping ("Check your coat at the door")
  32. Consign for shipment on a vehicle ("check your luggage before boarding")
  33. Lessen the intensity of; temper; hold in restraint; hold or keep within limits
  34. Make an examination or investigation ("check into the rumor" and "check the time of the class")
  35. Develop (a child's or animal's) behavior by instruction and practice; especially to teach self-control
  36. Block or impede (a player from the opposing team) in ice hockey
  37. Be compatible, similar or consistent; coincide in their characteristics ("The handwriting checks with the signature on the check")
  38. Be verified or confirmed; pass inspection ("These stories don't check!")

From Middle English chek, chekke, from Old French eschek, eschec, eschac, from Medieval Latin scaccus, from Arabic شَاه (šāh), from Persian شاه (šâh, “king”), from Middle Persian 𐭬𐭫𐭪𐭠 (šāh), from Old Persian 𐏋 (xšāyaθiya, “king”), from Proto-Indo-Iranian *ksayati (“he rules, he has power over”), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *tke- (“to gain power over, gain control over”). All English senses developed from the chess sense. Compare Saterland Frisian Schak, Schach, Dutch schaak, German Schach, Danish skak, Swedish schack, Icelandic skák, French échec, Italian scacco. See chess.

  1. (chess) A situation in which the king is directly threatened by an opposing piece.
  2. An inspection or examination.
    I don't know if she will be there, but it's worth a .
  3. A control; a limit or stop.
    and balances
    The castle moat should hold the enemy in .
  4. (US) A mark (especially a checkmark: ✓) used as an indicator, equivalent to a tick (UK).
    Place a by the things you have done.
  5. (US) An order to a bank to pay money to a named person or entity; a cheque (UK, Canada).
    I was not carrying cash, so I wrote a for the amount.
  6. (US) A bill, particularly in a restaurant.
    I summoned the waiter, paid the , and hurried to leave.
  7. (contact sports) A maneuver performed by a player to take another player out of the play.
    The hockey player gave a good hard to obtain the puck.
  8. A token used instead of cash in gaming machines.
  9. A lengthwise separation through the growth rings in wood.
  10. A mark, certificate, or token, by which, errors may be prevented, or a thing or person may be identified.
    a given for baggage; a return on a railroad
  11. (falconry) The forsaking by a hawk of its proper game to follow other birds.
  12. A small chink or crack.

By shortening from checker, from Old French eschequier (“chessboard”), from Medieval Latin scaccarium, ultimately from the same Persian root as above.

  1. (textiles, usually pluralized) A pattern made up of a grid of squares of alternating colors; a checkered pattern.
    The tablecloth had red and white .

    check was also found in the following language(s): Dutch and Swedish

    Notable Persons With the Last Name Check

    Paul Check is a politician.




    Lude Check was a hockey player. His career lasted from 1943 to 1951. Lude was born on May 22nd, 1917 in Brandon, Manitoba. He breathed his last breath on May 11th, 2009.


    Where is the name Check popular?

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    Popularity of Check as a last name

    The map shows the absolute popularity of the name Check as a last name in each of the states. See other popular names in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, or Michigan.

    Common last names for Check

    • Wong

    Ethnicity Distribution

    Ethnicity Check U.S.
      White 79.61% 64.26%
      African American 1.41% 11.96%
      Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander 1.69% 4.85%
      American Indian and Alaska Native 0.00% 0.69%
      Two or More Ethnicities 0.00% 1.76%
      Hispanic or Latino 15.95% 16.26%

    Of Last Name Check

    People with the last name Check are most frequently White or Hispanic or Latino

    Entire United States

    Fun Facts about the name Check

    • How Popular is the name Check? As a last name Check was the 12,229th most popular name in 2010.
    • When was the first name Check first recorded in the United States? The oldest recorded birth by the Social Security Administration for the name Check is Friday, October 24th, 1884.
    • How unique is the name Check? From 1880 to 2017 less than 5 people per year have been born with the first name Check. Hoorah! You are a unique individual.
    • Weird things about the name Check: Your name in reverse order is Kcehc. A random rearrangement of the letters in your name (anagram) will give Hccke. How do you pronounce that?
    • How many people have the last name Check? In 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau surveyed 2,545 people with the last name Check.
    • How likely are you to meet someone with the last name of Check? Chances are, most people haven't met someone with Check as their last name since less than 1 person in 116k people have that last name. If you know one, consider yourself lucky!

    What Checks Have Visited This Page?

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    • Sources:
    • U.S. Census Bureau: Frequently Occurring Surnames from the Census 2000 (public domain).
    • 1913 Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary via the Collaborative International Dictionary of English (License)
    • Other Dictionary Sources: WordNet 3.1 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University (License).
    • Wiktionary: Titles and License.
    • Notable persons via Wikipedia: Titles and License. Click each image for the attribution information.