2018 March 27
originally posted on facebook

Something I learned today: every meaning of the English word “check” (e.g. to verify against a list, to limit, to block in sports, a money order, a restaurant bill) ultimately comes from “checkmate” in chess, which is from Persian “the king is dead” or “the king is helpless”. This is true of both “cheque” and “exchequer”, although those two diverged earlier than one might think: the latter is named after the checkered pattern of cloth that financial transactions were done on, and the spelling of the former was likely changed to mimic the latter.

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