Middle English Dictionary Entry

chē̆k interj. & n.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

(a) A call uttered in chess when the opponent's king (or another important figure) is under attack: check!, guard!; (b) fig. halt!
An assault or attack; geven chekkes, deliver blows, attack.
A move, act, enterprise, feat; doings; acheven (winnen) ~, achieve a feat, have success; don chekkes, perform feats, play tricks; ivel (foul, shreued) ~, a wicked or harmful deed.
(a) An incident or event, esp. one that does harm; a ~ fel, an incident occurred; fecchen ~, meet (one's) destiny; hard (sori) ~, hard luck, misfortune; (b) an adverse event, a stroke of misfortune; ~ hit bitide, may ruin overtake it!
Hawk. A halt in pursuit of the quarry, a false stoop (of a falcon).
(a) Her. A checkered design (as on an escutcheon); (b) a square (of a chessboard).
A register of accounts (= chek(er)-roll, q.v. under cheker); rolle ~.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • ?a1425(?a1350) Castleford Chron.(Göt Hist 740:Eckhardt)12538 : Romains..walde na langer so trauailde be..Wiȝ slik als thefes, fra sted to stede, After chekes done to wasting flede.
  • Note: Add to gloss in sense 2.: "also, an attack made for the sake of plunder, a raid."

Supplemental Materials (draft)

Note: The list of variant spellings in the form section may be incomplete and / or may need revision to accord with standards of later volumes of the MED. Revised form section: Also chec(k, chek(k)e, (?error) echecheke; pl. chekes, etc. & cheques, ecchekkes.--notes per MLL