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[chek-meyt] /ˈtʃɛkˌmeɪt/

Also called mate. Chess.

a complete check; defeat:
His efforts to escape met with a checkmate.
verb (used with object), checkmated, checkmating.
Chess. to maneuver (an opponent’s king) into a check from which it cannot escape; mate.
to check completely; defeat:
Napoleon was checkmated at Waterloo.
Chess. (used by a player to announce that he or she has put the opponent’s king into inextricable check.)

utter defeat
verb (transitive)
(chess) to place (an opponent’s king) in checkmate
to thwart or render powerless
(chess) a call made when placing an opponent’s king in checkmate

mid-14c., from Old French eschec mat (Modern French échec et mat), which (with Spanish jaque y mate, Italian scacco-matto) is from Arabic shah mat “the king died” (see check (n.1)), which according to Barnhart is a misinterpretation of Persian mat “be astonished” as mata “to die,” mat “he is dead.” Hence Persian shah mat, if it is the ultimate source of the word, would be literally “the king is left helpless, the king is stumped.”

late 14c.; see checkmate (n.). Related: Checkmated; checkmating.


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