American English

Definition of check noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[countable] check (for/on something) an act of making sure that something is safe, correct, or in good condition by examining it Could you give the tires a check? a health check The drugs were found in their car during a routine check by police. a check for spelling mistakes I'll just have a quick check to see if the letter's arrived yet. It is vital to keep a check on your speed (= look at it regularly in order to control it). see also reality check
  2. investigation
  3. 2[countable] check (on somebody/something) an investigation to find out more information about something The police ran a check on the license plate number of the car. Was any check made on Mr. Morris when he applied for the position?
  4. money
  5. 3(cheque) [countable] a printed form that you can write on and sign as a way of paying for something instead of using money a check for $50 to write a check to make a check out to someone to pay by check to cash a check (= to get or give money for a check) see also blank check, cashier's check, personal check, traveler's check
  6. 4[countable] a piece of paper that shows how much you have to pay for the food and drinks that you have had in a restaurant Can I have the check, please? compare bill Thesaurusbillaccount invoice checkThese are all words for a record of how much you owe for goods or services you have bought or used.bill a list of goods that you have bought or services that you have used, showing how much you owe; the price or cost of something:the gas billaccount an arrangement with a store or business to pay bills for goods or services at a later time, for example in regular amounts every month:Put it on my account please.invoice a bill for goods that someone has bought or work that has been done for somone:The contractor sent an invoice for $750.bill or invoice?You would get a bill (or check) in a restaurant, bar, or hotel; a bill from a company that supplies you with gas, electricity, etc.; or a bill from somebody whose property you have damaged. An invoice is for goods supplied or work done as agreed between a customer and a supplier.check a piece of paper that shows how much you have to pay for the food and drinks that you have had in a restaurant:Can I have the check, please? Let's split the check (= let's each pay half).Patterns the bill/invoice/check for something to pay/settle a(n) bill/account/invoice/check to put something on the/somebody's bill/account/invoice/check
  7. control
  8. 5[countable] check (on/to something) (formal) something that delays the progress of something else or stops it from getting worse A cold spring will provide a natural check on the number of insects. the most fundamental check to the power of the executive branch of government
  9. 6checks [plural] (formal) rules that are designed to control the amount of power, especially political power, that one person or group has see also checks and balances
  10. mark
  11. 7(also check mark) [countable] a mark (✓) put beside a written answer or an item on a list, usually to show that it has been checked, or done, or is correct compare cross, X
  12. pattern
  13. 8[countable, uncountable] a pattern of squares, usually of two colors Do you prefer checks or stripes? see also checked
  14. for coats/bags
  15. 9[countable] coat check a place in a club, restaurant, etc. where you can leave your coat or bag
  16. 10[countable] a ticket that you get when you leave your coat, bag, etc. in, for example, a restaurant or theater
  17. in hockey
  18. 11[countable] an act of pushing or hitting someone hard with your body or a stick in order to stop them
  19. in game
  20. 12[uncountable] (in chess) a position in which a player's king (= the most important piece) can be directly attacked by the other player's pieces There, you're in check. see also checkmate
  21. Idioms
    hold/keep something in check
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    to keep something under control so that it does not spread or get worse Maggie managed to keep her temper in check. The epidemic was held in check by widespread vaccination.
    take a rain check (on something) (informal)
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    to refuse an offer or invitation but say that you might accept it later “Are you coming for a drink?” “Can I take a rain check? I must get this finished tonight.”
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: check